I’m inclined to believe that everyone, at one point or another, has been ashamed of something in their life.
Whether it was something that was done to you, or something you did, or just an unattributed experience… there has been a glimmer of shame in all of our pasts.
But, one of the best ways to overcome this feeling of shame, or embarrassment, is to face it head on.
We all heal differently, both physically and emotionally. There is no one right way to go about it. But, there are a few universal tricks to helping yourself overcome your shame and to allow yourself to accept the things you have been through and know that your experiences do not define you.
I found an aspiring article by Raphaela Browne about resilience and unexpected lessons learned. Through her experience, Raphaela came to terms with her shame, and overcame it with a much more powerful feeling; inner-strength and self-love.
She tells her readers a story of an accident she experienced that left her with a relatively-large scar on her leg. This scar initially left her with serious feelings of embarrassment. She was not only embarrased by the simplicity of the activity that lead to her accident, but also to how the accident affected her aesthetically.
Raphaela came up with a collection of different ideas as to how she would hide her scar from the world, fearing that if she revealed it she would be judged. Judged for hurting herself so intensely while skating, judged for not being able to be as present in her daughter’s life due to her injury, and fear for judgment of how the scar now affected the way she looked. She felt as if there were so many different reasons for people to judge her because of her scar and that is why she became obsessed with the idea of hiding it.
As she was telling her daughter about all of the different outfit ideas she had come up with to disguise her scar, she asked her a epiphany encouraging question- “why?”
Her daughter could not seem to understand her concern with what other people would think of her because of this scar… let alone why they would think anything of it. Instead, her daughter saw it as a symbolic badge of honor. A constant reminder that yes, she may have fallen and gotten injured, but she survived; and, not only did she survive, but it “shows that you are no longer in that same place as you were before, that you overcame it“.
Here are the four lessons Raphaela learned from her daughter’s insight:
Don’t Hide Your Scars
We’ve all been through challenging situations, setbacks, disappointments, or heartbreak, and these experiences can leave a painful residue based on how we allow ourselves to heal.
Once you make it through the healing process, sharing the lessons with others will provide a sense of empowerment for you and to those you share it with. Your “scars” or challenging experiences have a unique story of resilience, and to tell it sends a continuous chain of healing to all you interact with.
Your Challenges Can Propel You Forward
This challenging experience may have been rough, but it can also be the thing you need to get you moving outside of your comfort zone and into a new direction. Sometimes those unexpected setbacks build up the “muscles” that were once hidden within us due to fear or complacency. Now you’ve experienced your fears and you see that you’ve made it.
Be Gentle and Less Critical of Yourself and Your Journey
Giving so much life and emphasis to what those things mean about you is taking away from living out this one life of yours. Recognize the lessons and be kind to yourself so you can begin the next chapter of your life.
Surround Yourself with Resilient People
Surround yourself with resilient people who will listen to you, offer you encouragement, and help you find that spark you need to move forward. My daughter was a calming peace to my anxiety around my scars. While she shared a dose of encouragement, she unknowingly provided me with enough space to think about what she said, which gave me the ability to identify my next step for moving ahead.
I’m sure a lot of us can relate to the message behind this story. There are things about us (whether they are physically apparent, our thought processes, or just tendencies we possess) that we are not necessarily proud of. Sometimes we try to conceal these aspects of ourselves for fear of judgment. When in reality, we should not feel ashamed of the things we have been through or done; but rather, we should allow those experiences to be reinforcement of how strong we are for moving forward and overcoming the obstacles that we’ve faced. It can be difficult to do, but it is extremely beneficial to us when we learn the difference between things we can and cannot control, and it will give us great peace of mind to accept the things that we cannot change.
Everything that you have been through has helped you become the person you are today. So, even though you may be flawed, you are no less amazing than you should be. You’ve overcome your roadblocks and experiences, and there is absolutely no shame in that.
If you liked the small excerpt I’ve provided within this blog post from Raphaela’s, please click here to read her full article Never Be Ashamed of a Scar: 4 Lessons on Self-Acceptance & Resilience about her journey of resilience.
Are you struggling with accepting your whole self, low self-esteem or would like some guidance with moving forward, or are you just interested in talking to someone about things going on in your life because you simply feel that you do not as you should? Sometimes having a partner in your journey can help. Give us a call to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378, and one of our Orlando Individual Counselors, Orlando Life Coaches, Orlando Teen Counselors, and Orlando Child counselors would be more than happy to help you, a family member, or a friend work on changing your life.