Shame shows up in the weirdest places–in the absolute most obscure memories and confusing moments. It’s the strangest thing–because shame could make itself known in a memory from when I was 12 to making a joke that didn’t land on stage to not completing my to do list to just failing at anything.
I wish it wasn’t so easy to become incapacitated by shame, but it is all too familiar of a feeling to me. There seems to be nothing that keeps me from remembering all the times I’ve failed. And over and over again, it seems the habit of self-grace has failed me.
I talk a lot about loving yourself–about making sure you are remember who and Whose you are. But I don’t think I’ve ever talked about self-grace. And if I have taken the time to dip my toes into that topic, I’ve been less than decent at taking my own advice.
About a week ago, my counselor asked me if I thought my anxiety would start to be less extreme or even go away if I weren’t so hard on myself all the time. It was the most significant revelation I’d had about my anxiety in years. Self-pressure to do well, to be the best person to everyone, has jarred me to that point that I’ve been spiraling myself using what my brain was already doing with anxiety to try and make me be who I think I should be.
But why do we have this idealized version of ourselves always leaning over our shoulder? What do we have to gain from trying to live up to someone that quite literally does not exist?
I was really down on myself earlier this week for not staying on my posting schedule for my writing, and I had to stop and ask exactly what am I trying to do? Who am I trying to be that missing one day of writing has made me a failure? What has caused me to become so self-absorbed that the tiniest slip-up means I’m no longer worthy of living a life that isn’t terrible, that’s actually good?
We overwhelm ourselves with the idea that we must produce, we must perform, to be anything or anyone that matters. We have to check off our own boxes and the boxes of those around us to be successful in life.
And I am so tired of that.
I’m tired of trying to have perfect skin, perfect hair, the right shaped body, the most expertly done makeup, the side hustle, the main hustle, the artistic mini career, the interview, the podcast guest, the–, the–, the–… I’m sure you can fill in all those spots with the myriad of things you’re trying to live up to yourself.
Why can’t we all take a breath.
I think, this week, instead of writing down all the things I think I need to do or need to be to be enough, I’m going to write down what I’m doing well. Because I’m doing a lot that matters, even if I don’t feel like it, and you are too.
This week, I am the woman who is teaching fulltime, encouraging her friends, learning more about videography, engaging with my Bible more regularly than I did last week, seeing my family more, eating a little healthier than a few weeks ago, getting fuller nights of rest, drinking a lot of water, getting rid of things I don’t need, and being kind to myself–remembering where my identity really lies.
I don’t have to add to that list to be good enough, and I could take away the whole thing and still be equally as good enough as I am right now. Because the good of who I am never has or will have anything to do with me. My Wholeness isn’t dependent on my ability to work myself into the ground. It’s completely dependent on a God who has forever from Eternity past seen me and called me Daughter–that is where the value lies. Not in eliminating the shame I feel over my failure, not in adding to my list of achievements, not in suddenly being seen as perfect to the people around me. Just simply in the quiet of the Heart of God–where all value resides–there I am enough, and my achievements are not the markers of my worthiness.