Yesterday I had a shame attack.
I woke up after a long night's sleep, recovering from leading a five-day retreat, and found a post on Facebook from an angry participant who called me rude and suggested that I was a fraud.
I finished reading the post (about ten times in the hopes that I was misreading the message and it would magically transform into something nice), and soon felt the familiar fire of shame rise up from my stomach into my face, scorching everything in its path.
A public slap down.
A horrible human being for hurting someone's feelings.
I lay in bed for a long time racking my brains to remember the person and the encounter, but I had no recollection whatsoever.
So, I deleted the post and went back to sleep in an effort to escape the death grip of shame.
That's when something magical happened.
For the first time since her death, my friend Debbie Ford came to me in a dream. I didn't see her but I could feel her presence and then I heard...
"You are rude, Cheryl.
And you're a bitch, too.
And while we're at it,
sometimes you can be short with people,
and a little too critical,
and harsh and abrupt
in ways that hurt."
I listened as she filled my consciousness with her words.
"Until you can embrace this truth about yourself, you'll always be afraid of hearing it from others. Remember, we are all everything and what you can't be with won't let you be."
I woke from the dream feeling a wave of cool relief wash over me.
Debbie was right.
I am rude.
I am harsh and critical.
I am abrupt and impatient and too quick to cut people off sometimes, especially with the pressure of managing a large group experience.
And while I would never intentionally hurt anyone, the truth is I sometimes do.
There you have it.
It's not easy to look at the unattractive parts of us. They feel shameful and embarrassing. But face them and embrace them we must if we're committed to self-love and wholeness.
One thing that helps me is to see life as a school. From this perspective, everything holds an opportunity for healing - an invitation to love and accept myself (and others).
I have to be honest. I'm no longer interested in trying to be the "Queen of Nice." It's exhausting, not to mention impossible.
I'm more interested in being me - all of me - good and bad, light and dark, kind and crappy.
And if I hurt someone along the way, I'm truly sorry. I'm a work in progress, too.
I hope this story helps you to be softer with your rough edges. We could all use a little more love.
Thank you Debbie Ford, author of the beautiful book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. Thank you for keeping me on the path to wholeness, even from the other side.
I miss you dear friend...
Every single day...
Take Action Challenge
This week, take a few minutes to close your eyes and listen to this beautiful song. You can find it here. Thanks, Judy!