I’ve spent the majority of my life in shame. I was ashamed of being adopted. I was ashamed that my mother had a terminal illness. Then, I was ashamed that my dad gave up his parental rights. I was ashamed that I had to move to a small town my senior year and graduate with 25 people I didn’t really know. I had developed eighteen years of shame.
Once I began undergrad, I unconsciously created my own shameful experiences. Lovers and sexual indiscretions piled up. At that point, the shame covered me. But I kept it hidden.
So there I was, carrying and hiding decades of shame. I doubted that others had similar challenges. Everyone looked so perfect to me, with two loving parents and crystal clear paths paved with luck and fortune. Around 2004, I attracted more authentic conversations. Former students, friends, family, and coworkers opened up to me about their pasts and presents.
Boy, was I wrong.
Everyone else felt just as crappy as I did. They hid it, like me. Consequently, I began to reflect not only on my own, but also other people’s experiences. Rarely do friends and family want to share their innermost feelings for fear of being judged. For fear of being shamed. What is this cycle we’ve created? We live in shame and don’t talk about it because we don’t want to be shamed.
Once I figured this out, I wrote this kwote as a reminder: Don’t worry; the person next to you is flawed too!
*Disclaimer: Typically “flaws” refer to outward appearances, but I use it here to discuss so-called inward flaws.