The Shame of Success


I won the first round, as we opened the second, I won 3 hands in-a-row. The jokes at the table then began to be directed at me, they knew who would win each hand. This perception felt like a cut, stated somewhat begrudgingly. While I did win the next round, there were others at the table who were only one hand behind me. I felt shame and apologetic. For what? For winning?! 

This is part of the story of my life. The difference is that in the scenario above, my success was out in the open. It was not something I could hide like my grades, my certifications, my degree, my accolades and praises. 

For most of my life, I have felt shame for my successes, some hard fought to show and to prove to myself and others that there’s nothing inherently evil or wrong about me. 

This irony is the razor’s edge of living with shame. We’re afraid to be good, too good, and yet we’re also afraid to show our crap. It’s all a trap! Each type of shame just holds us back from our own greatness. 

It’s time to break free of the shame that binds us and tethers us to a mediocre reality. Each of us in our very own captive AND prison warden. As such it is up to each of us to let loose the shackles, to stand up and shine the light that is our uniqueness. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson, see it below. 

Come now, join me! It’s time to show the world what we’ve been hiding: Our bright, beautiful, superbly unique selves. This planet needs us to shine on. Walk through the fire of the lies others have told you about what’s wrong with you: the good and the bad. Once you reach the other side, you’ll find yourself transformed and more resilient, ready to show more of your light in your own, intentionally unique, magnificent and beautiful way. This is your permission to shine! Let’s roll! 

Namaste

The Shame that Hides Us


The voice of shame puts us down and keeps both our darkness and greatness hidden from ourselves and the world. “Who am I to be great?” is as much the voice of shame as “there is something terribly wrong with me.” These, and thoughts like them, keep us isolated and afraid of revealing ourselves. 

I’m speaking to you as much as I am to myself. For much of my life I’ve felt as if there were something inherently wrong with me, to the point that when something in life goes wrong, I’m the first to lay blame on my own shoulders. This belief has also been the fuel to pushing me forward at times as well as the weed that chokes my breath and keeps my paralyzed. Neither is really healthy. 

In trying to hide my faults, I’ve isolated myself, repeatedly, only allowing people to get but so close. While I can share things that many would consider too private, I struggle with maintaining that level of intimacy and vulnerability for any length of time. My fears of rejection and abandonment then become self-fulfilling prophecies and once again I find myself feeling alone. 

It is my goal over the next month to consistently post on a weekly basis about things that I’ve found shameful; things I’ve tried to hide. It is only when the light is shone on the darkness that healing can persist. I’m tired of hiding. If you’re still reading, I’m guessing you are, too. 

Please feel free to share any stories in the comments, on your own blogs or feel free to Gmail me at Tiffanybeingfree. 

Namaste

Using the Imagination to Cope with Emotions

Her fingers shook as she raised the black clove cigarette to her cracked lips. The golden light as she lit the clove created a patchwork of dancing light and shadows, revealing deep wrinkles in the skin of her face.

Soon she began to speak as the smoke poured out from her lips in puffs. “I want to control everything. I do not trust anyone,” she said while her shoulders were drawn forward; bearing the burden of the world and caging her heart.

I understood her fears, I told her as we stood at the entrance to a dark cave. I listened, nodding my understanding as the words poured out of her mouth like acid. I understood deeply, as she was the personification of my anxiety.

After she finished speaking, I experienced a deeper calmness. I had allowed myself to hear, see and experience my anxiety, to where it released the need to gnaw at my gut.

To up the ante, I saw myself sending her love. After all, that’s all my anxiety ever really wanted; to be loved and accepted.

This method of using the imagination to have a conversation with our emotions is based on the book Inner Work: Using Active Imagination and Dreams for Personal Growth by the Jungian analyst Robert A. Johnson.

While Johnson uses more dream-like modes in his examples of active imagination, I find that this “personification method” tells me quite a bit. I gain a good deal of information based on what the emotions say, their demeanor and their appearance. By listening to them and also sharing my own perspective, I am able to regain a greater degree of peace.

This process is quite simple. While sitting in a supported position, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, then allow your imagination to take you inward. For some reason, I see myself outside of a cave and maybe another setting would work better for you. Once there, call forth an emotion that has been troubling you. You can name this person. Write down your conversation as it occurs; it helps to further the process. Following the conversation, give the emotion love or at least appreciation.

I’ve personally found this method more effective than riding the emotional wave that I’ve described here.  I hope that you find this helpful in your journey.

Namaste

Image: Pintrest, no credit given

 

Keep Going

When in the shadows 

All can seem lost. 

Just as the sun rises,

There is light beyond the dark.

Keep stepping. 

Keep going.

Allow the dark to show you

Your courage,

Your strength,

Your truth.

For it is in the darkness

That we can learn the most. 

Namaste 

(C) 2017 Tiffany Cara

This is Tiffany’s Anger

“Tiffany, this is your anger. Own it.”

I had spent 30 minutes on this particular morning in meditation working through some emotions that mainly involved sadness. Later I headed downstairs to make breakfast and pack lunches. I had cleared the issues at hand in meditation, or so I had thought. 

After asking my son to come into the kitchen, because his pancakes were almost ready, he yelled that he wanted eggs. When I had asked the kids earlier what they wanted he hadn’t replied so I put pancakes in the toaster oven; he’d eaten them for breakfast every morning for the past month, maybe more. In fact, the next morning he asked for pancakes again. 

His yelling at me was all I needed to allow the ignition of the slumbering temper tantrum within me that then ensued. I barked back in argument with him; futile efforts with a five-year-old. While I was still seething my daughter needed something. My irritation grew; I allowed it to. The quiet, still voice within gently reminded me this was not worth my anger. Luckily, I had enough awareness to avoid allowing all hell to break lose. I began to breathe and was still somewhat easily angered by their needs.

On the way to the bus stop, in one moment, I recognized something quite profound and life-altering, “Tiffany, this is your anger. Own it,” the quiet voice in my heart said. In that moment, when I chose to see that this anger truly was “all about me,” its burden upon me was lifted. Yes, it truly was that fast. 

Had I woken up “on the right side of bed” that morning, I’d have been just fine with my son’s responses and meeting my children’s needs without feeling angered, perturbed nor rubbed the wrong way. By denying my anger and attempting to project it onto my kids and their needs, I wasn’t owning it. 

I’m human and some days are easier than others to live more fully in love. My question for myself now is: Where was I not meeting my own needs? 

Background 

For most of my life, I suppressed my anger. I would act out passive-aggressively or hold it all in until it erupted like a nuclear holocaust, raining down toxicity in waves. The fallout was often felt by those closest to me. 

“Good girls don’t get angry,” or so I thought. I also believed growing up that if I controlled my emotions, I would then be able to avoid upsetting others; by definition this was manipulative. This is a habit I continue to change through mindfulness. 

For years, I kept my anger tucked away, at least for as long as it could be. Then one day while I was in a counseling session while in grad school, the counselor said to me, “Tiffany, that would make me very angry.” Meanwhile, I felt nothing. The blankness I felt inside was reflected in the blank stare I gave to her in response. I wish I could remember what the story was! What I learned in the overall counseling process during those stress-inducing years was that I could no longer suppress my feelings; not even my anger.

Anger in Spirituality

Anger is one of those taboo emotions that many in spiritual communities try to deny, ignore, suppress, and et cetera. These actions are like trying to cut off your foot because it isn’t visually appealing. Our anger is part of us. Just as our Egos are. To deny our egos or our anger is to allow them to grow unchecked. It is only when we acknowledge their existence and own them that we truly gain control over them.

Now, I do believe that holding onto any emotion can be dangerous. It is the suppression of the feeling that leads to a loss of control.  Much like I felt that morning over breakfast: “I shouldn’t be angry,” I thought. Red flag! As soon as those thoughts crop up, it’s a sign we’re suppressing. 

Suppressed emotions can also show up in the collective unconscious, according to Carl Jung. It is by acknowledging our feelings on an individual level that prevents this collective from accumulating more terrors. 

Suppressed feelings show their faces somewhere. So do we choose to own it or let it play out somewhere else where we have less control of it? 

Namaste 

Image: google

What Thoughts Do We Feed?

Easter heralds the season of renewal, rebirth and resurrection. One of the most influential things we can do to renew our lives for the better is to pay attention to what we are thinking and change our thoughts, if needed.

Where you invest your love, you invest your life. ~ Mumford & Sons, “Awake My Soul”

Thoughts are like sound tracks that play through our minds. Many times our thoughts are things that others have told us early in our lives that we believed. We carry those thoughts forward in our lives. Sometimes this helps us. Often times it does not support who we want to be nor how we see ourselves. The more energy, focus, emotion and attention we give to our thoughts, the more their arc of influence grows. This is important as our thoughts lead to our behaviors and actions. Our actions create our daily lives. 

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Another way to view this is that our minds are gardens. The thoughts we plant, water and pay attention to are the ones that grow and sprout, flower and eventually spread more seeds. It is important to hear the things we are telling ourselves. If this is an unwanted thought, do we really want to continue to allow it to grow and eventually “go to seed” and spread its influence further and further? On the other hand, what thoughts support us in where we want to be and go in life? The plants that we feed and water through our attention and focus are the ones that grow the most.

Recent unwanted things on my mind or “weeds to pull”:

  • “I am fat.” Guess who gained weight this month? 😉
  • “I am not worthy of …. (love, affection, attention, wealth, etc).”
  • “I am too much…I need too much…I am annoying…”
  • “I can’t sleep…sleep is so difficult for me…” Guess who was becoming an insomniac?
  • “I don’t have enough energy.” Guess who felt like she had lead in her shoes all day?

The things I say to myself when I hear the above thoughts or “planting fruit bearing plants”:

  • “My body supports me every day.”
  • “I have all the energy and resources I need.”
  • “My words & actions add value to the lives of others. By being me, I support others.”
  • “I get the sleep I need tonight and every night.”
  • “I am an author whose arc of influence expands daily.”

The things we can do when we have unwanted thoughts:

  • Acknowledge the thoughts, then focus on the love within the heart (even if it just feels like a sliver at first).
  • Imagine “dragging and dropping” the thoughts from the mind and into the heart.
  • Write a new dialogue, similar to the ones above that move in the direction of where we want to go.

For us to change our lives, it is important to pay attention to the things we are telling ourselves. The thoughts we have today are the seeds of our tomorrows. The lives we live today are the products of our thoughts from yesterdays. What do we want to plant today?

May we all be free of the weeds in our minds. May we instead plant and grow the seeds that support us the most.

Namaste

The Story of Two Wolves

Images: Google

My inner voices were fighting – Here’s how I Found Peace.

A post I wrote has been accepted by Elephant Journal. Please follow the link below to read it all. Shares are highly appreciated & encouraged 😉

On an ordinary day, waiting for a phone call from a good friend, I noticed an inner battle start to brew.

Stepping back further into observation mode, I noticed a few peculiar inner voices arise. On one side, there was a bratty little voice. She was entitled. She wanted things fixed and done immediately. On the other side, there was a voice I later identified as my martyr. She told me, “You get what you get and you can’t feel upset.”
….Continued 

Image: Google 

There are things …. NaPoWriMo9

There are things about me…

  • That I want to believe 
  • That I want to bury 
  • That I want to show everyone 
  • That I only want to take with me to hell or heaven
  • That I have known since I was eleven 
  • That I don’t want to tell anyone 
  • That make people grin from ear to ear 
  • That make even me cringe in fear 
  • That anyone can see 
  • That I keep hidden from even me
  • That I keep in special compartments marked “only for special occasions”  
  • That I wish you would see
  • That I just can’t keep hidden … no matter how hard I try
  • That would make the world cry
  • That can make everyone sing 
  • That I am myself unwrapping 

There are things about me…. 

now what about you? 

namaste 

All of this Anger

This past week I have been chipping away bit by bit at a humongous block of anger and resentment. The posts I have written during this time have been realizations I have had as I’ve worked at chipping away. Yet, a good bit of the anger, resentment and even sadness still remained. So today I’m going to do my best to dive into the depths of this pain, to give it a voice and validation; to set myself free. 

Due to several events in my life, I have felt unappreciated, even depreciated. The resentment soon follows and builds fresh wounds that ooze instead of soothe. All this anger builds up inside and blocks my ability to sleep, to fully appreciate the flowers and the things that are going well. Now, it’s not all bad, as I do appreciate the good things more than I would have, say 2 months ago. However, in attempting to push away the anger and resentment, I also kept some (not all) more positive experiences and feelings away. 

So today I step back and look at what I’ve created. A shield instead of a coat of armor. By blocking the seemingly bad, I’m also blocking the things I want more of in my life. It numbs me and robs me of my right to more fully be me. 

Sinking into the layers of the pain, I allow the anger its voice; “just be,” I tell me. To get through, I remember to keep loving me; allowing the anger that is part (not all) of me to be. A physical wound doesn’t heal faster nor go away just because we want it to. It must be given its course, love and space emotional wounds will do what they need to do.

Once again I now emerge with a new sense of freedom and a new clarity of my voice. Just by allowing my feelings to be. 

Namaste 

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