Hey everyone! It’s me, Rebecca.
I am an expert on shame.
When I was a kid, my sister and I recorded ourselves singing on a tape recorder. Our mom walked by and stopped to listen, then she asked what that awful sound was in the background. That awful sound was me, Friends. Ouch.
I quit singing.
A few years later, I messed up royally during a piano recital. The other kids got hugs and roses from their parents. I didn’t. My parents walked me out in dead silence.
I quit playing piano.
When I was a teenager, I took my art portfolio to an interview for a summer art camp. The two reviewers started making jokes about one of my pieces.
I quit painting.
For years, I thought I quit those things out of perfectionism, but that wasn’t it at all. I just couldn’t take the shaming.
There’s a great quote in the book: “Shame is retriggered in us as adults because our internal artist is always our creative child.”
Now, when I read about those three shaming incidents I mentioned above, my instinct is to protect that kid! To get angry at those people and encourage her to keep going.
Since the first time I read TAW, I’ve learned to protect myself from shaming by following one rule: I share my creative life (new projects, ideas, works in progress) only with people I KNOW will be supportive. I let everyone else in when I’m ready.
For example, I have one friend who’s a troubleshooter. When you tell her about an idea, she points out the negatives. If I told her about a new idea for something creative, she would try to shame me into dropping it. So, I manage the situation by not telling her about projects until they’re done.
Instead of quitting things to avoid shaming, I’m doing the things I enjoy and nipping the shame in the bud.
That doesn’t mean criticism never comes my way. If you share what you do, you WILL get criticized. But now that I’m protecting that creative child in me, I can appreciate good criticism and let it make me better instead of being devastated by it.
Do you have a shame demon (a past devastating incident) that needs to be exorcised? Feel free to share it here, or let us know what you’re doing to deal with the fear of shame and move forward.