“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
None of us are perfect, but we are all beautiful.
Have you ever messed something up so bad that you didn’t think there was ever going to be a way to fix it? Maybe you made choices in your life that you thought were right at the time, only to find that they weren’t? Or you made blatant choices that you knew deep down were not right, but you didn’t care? Have you ever been in desperation? Have you ever felt that there was no way out of the pain that you were in? Have you ever hit the bottom of your soul, only to have the bottom drop even further? If not, I am surprised that you are even human.
As much as the isolation creeps in when we feel we have messed up, or failed in some way, the most painful part is that feeling of loneliness. That feeling of complete despair, as if we are the only one that has ever been through what we are going through. That feeling of hopelessness, and unworthiness can not only freeze us in our tracks, but can propel us to make even more bad decisions if we stay in the place of shame. Shame is an incredibly debilitating emotion, that serves no one. There is a big difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is necessary to our growth, because it is our barometer of right and wrong action, our conscience, or that still, small voice. Shame is what happens when we identify with the guilt as a description of who we are. It becomes our identity, our label, and we begin to live from this place of shame. If we begin to believe we are bad, or we are evil, then naturally our actions will follow that statement, thus perpetuating the cycle of behaviour that is hurting us and others in our midst.
I’m not implying that we all are walking around with guilt or shame all the time, but I would be surprised if you haven’t experienced either of these. I think it is one facet of being human, and a good place to start sorting out how to live truly awake, truly alive. Shackled by shame keeps us dead, keeps us living the lie we keep telling ourselves to who we are. Eventually we can forget that bright-eyed child we once were, who saw life through amazement and wonder. We forget that we are beautiful, scars and all. We didn’t know that in these moments of despair, we have the greatest opportunity to grow, and to heal. When we surrender to the absolute human-ness we possess, and know that everyone makes mistakes, of varying sizes and we will all make mistakes again. We will see the same old story come around for ourselves if we don’t seize the opportunity to know ourselves through these hardships.
Not only can these errors in our lives teach us about ourselves, bring us into our hearts, but the best part about it is that when we do learn and grow from our pain, we have an amazing gift to give someone else. Compassion. We let them know that they are not alone. What we have done has been done before, and someone has suffered as greatly as you are. Others have overcome the guilt and the shame and have become a success in their lives because of it. They have inspired and transformed those lives that were without hope.
So let’s let the light in. Let’s be courageous in our searching for the truth of ourselves. Let’s love ourselves and forgive ourselves of what we have done. Let’s not forget the past, but find a way to give it away. Let’s express with our unique creative voice what our story is. We all have one, and it is uniquely ours, scars and all.