Thoughts from the Sukkah 2019/5780 Day 2

Guilt is a feeling. It feels dark, and lonely. It’s as if there is a disconnect between you and the one you wronged. . . God, someone you care about, maybe even yourself.

Shame is more than a feeling. It is a state of being.

I know I’m in a shame spiral when my self talk becomes critical and aggressive. I have trouble sleeping, and am both hungry and nauseous at the same time. Sometimes it’s pure fear. That’s what I feel when I encounter an abuser. I used to think it defined me – indicated I had done something wrong. That’s what abusers tell you, after all. But now I know the truth – it’s the warning that goes off when I encounter an abuser and when I feel it now I tune into what they are doing. I don’t get distracted by trying to figure out what I’m doing.

It’s amazing how much clarity comes from understanding this one simple truth.

Today’s shame spiral wasn’t from an abuser – it was from over committing myself. Or *maybe* overcommitting myself. One of my children needs something by Saturday and I committed to making it, but it’s so much harder than I expected it to be.

Will I be able to finish it? Most likely.

Am I doing it and is it looking good? Yes – most definitely.

BUT . . . there’s a firm deadline and I’m having to learn a lot of new skills to get this done. So when I acknowledged what was going on I decided to stop abusing myself. I’m still working on it, but I also went and bought one so that if I don’t finish it I haven’t failed my son. I don’t want to fail my son.

In the end it was quite an easy fix once I realised what was going on. I’m so glad I’m learning how to recognise shame and not take it upon myself. I’m so grateful it doesn’t define me.

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