Major life changes = Majorly busy life!
I feel so bad for not having been more steady in my following of the Brene Brown lessons. I listened to her last talk a few days ago. In it, she talked about “shame gremlins”. They’re the ones that sit on ones shoulder criticizing and belittling and then putting you down when you dare question their words. I have those gremlins on my shoulders 24/7. Not a day goes by when they don’t chime in with their snarky commentary about my worth:
“You really think you can work for yourself?”
“Why do you think you’re so special, that you can decide to do something that brings you happiness and earns you a living?”
“You’re going to fail you know.”
“You won’t make it work.”
“You have no right to be happy”
“Your children hate you. This is why. You only think about yourself”
“You’re old and ugly”
“If anyone saw inside you, they’d hate you”
These are endless. No matter what I’m doing, no matter how I’m feeling, they interlope my thoughts.
When I push back at the voices and assure myself that I do have the right to be happy, that I can make this work, that my children’s dislike of me should have no bearing on my living my life as best I can (as I type those words, the gremlins hiss and whisper “Bullshit. You have no right to be happy if your kids hate you). Reminding myself that I am smart and capable is met with “No you’re not. You’re a failure. You failed as a parent, you couldn’t get a real job if your life depended on it”.
They’re horrible. And I can’t shut them up.
Brene says that bringing your gremlins into the light, takes away their power.
Another analogy she made, which I loved and could relate to was referring to these shaming thoughts as Dementors. Dementors are creatures in the Harry Potter series. They’re spirit-like monsters who suck happiness out of you when they touch you. They drain happiness and if left unchecked, will turn a person into a shell of themselves; completely devoid of joy, love, caring or anything good. The shaming voices are very similar to Dementors. If you let them get into your brain, they’ll reduce you to a quivering mass of joyless darkness.
I am following this course with two other women. Two bright, intelligent, compassionate, caring and beautiful women. One of them, who also happens to be a Harry Potter fan, commented that it would be healing to think about, and create a Patronus Charm to counteract our personal Dementors. I love this idea, and I’ve started to think about what symbol I could adopt to represent the goodness that I want to have inhabit my thoughts instead of the current gremlins that are housed there? A Patronus needs to be a powerful symbol, that deeply meaningful to me. I’ve never been one to assign much meaning to any specific thing. My entire adult life, the two entities that mattered the most to me, that represented all the ‘good’ in me, were my sons. The hurt that I feel now when I think about them though means that I can’t use them to embody the positiveness that I need to bring forth.
I’ll have to think on this and let my mind and heart lead me to my symbol.
In the meantime, I’ll continue pushing back against my shame gremlins, and I’ll continue telling myself that I am worthy of being happy and healthy and prosperous.