Two weeks ago, I started a series on shame. It’s the first time I’ve tried writing a series of articles on the same topic. Normally my blogs are more impromptu so that you can see the variety of mind-tricks someone with bi-polar experiences. But I realized shame colors every aspect of my life. Bi-polar – just the label – makes me feel shame. But there have been many other sources. Today, though, I want to show you one way I avoid the shame work.
One of the ways people ignore shame is by MOVING TOWARD or appeasing others. We seek to overcome the shame by showing our worth. If I’m necessary, needed, or valued, then I must NOT BE BAD. Right?
Evaluate your to-do list. Do you take on too much? Is your to-do list so ridiculous that you could never accomplish it all with any degree of quality? Mine is. This is a boundary issue – and for me it’s also a shame issue. I agree to do things or I decide to do things or I do more than is required all the time. Currently, I am taking three writing classes, teaching two writing classes, running a writer’s critique group, trying to write novel number two, writing this blog, trying to get people to buy novel number one, and considering novel three as well as a non-fiction work based on this blog.
There are several reasons – some helpful, most harmful. Let’s see if I can be honest with myself (and vulnerable with you).
Being honest about this is embarrassing (and shaming). But if I can keep this in my frontal lobe, I can begin to evaluate the to-do list so that it aligns with my values, goals and dreams. I can be honest with myself that I’m agreeing to such-and-such because I have a need for praise or a desire to avoid conflict or to feel competent. This realization will help me rebuild the boundaries that I’ve allowed to slip. It’s all about being CONSCIOUS and INTENTIONAL. Lately, I’ve been neither and it’s starting to bite me in the ass (again --- and the fact that it keeps happening only adds to the shame – ugh the never-ending circle). And, when my husband goes to edit this, I can expect a conversation (L).
One of the hallmarks of mania is the ability – or need – to be busy. It’s like the mind and the fingers can’t stay active enough. It’s a slippery slope because eventually I’ll wear myself out and when that happens, I’ll be forced to forgo my to-do list, to let others downs, to be unproductive. I’ll slip into depression – adding another layer of shame.
As I’m writing this, I’m crystal clear that I’ve tilted the balance toward mania. I’ve lost sight of MY values, MY goals, MY desires. I’ve gotten caught up in other people’s goals and accepted those as “right” as opposed to “right for them, not for me.” To that end, I will work again to redefine MY VALUES and then see what has to be adjusted to create the LIFE I WANT – a life where shame doesn’t rule the to-do list. That’s next week’s topic – refining my values and goals.
What does your to-do list say about you and what you think of you? Are you the balanced priority? Are your boundaries in-line with your values? Can you say what your values are? Are you finding ways to cope with shame instead of “sitting in it”??
When I over-do my list, I also can track too much spending (they go hand-in-hand). When I overspend, I add to my shame bucket and again don’t align with my goals. I MUST get a handle on my GOALS and spend accordingly. One of my goals is no debt ever and that goal is abolished when I over commit. Debt is shaming! Yet another reason to re-establish my goals and be INTENTIONAL in everything!
It seems there are lots of topics I can delve into regarding shame. I’d like to hear from you – is this resonating/helpful at all? My blog is helpful to me because it helps me process and be honest. But I also want you to get something valuable out of your time.
In April 2012 I had a mental breakdown. The real thing. I have about 36 hours that I don’t remember....