Humility, Shame and Pain

Another day, another post.  What’s there to discuss, that’s on my mind most? Today I’m reflecting on my own personal trinity, three qualities having a tug of war over my serenity.  What are they, you ask? Humility, shame and pain.

Let’s start with pain.  Then again, let’s not! (Or at least not focus on painful episodes too much.) Everyone has dealt with and felt pain in their lives; to varying degrees we’ve all encountered strife.  We’ve all wrestled with calamity- it’s called humanity. Someday I’ll write more about pain I’ve felt- pain I’ve caused- hurt that’s real. For now, in a general sense, problems come when reflecting is done in a way almost designed to hurt oneself, pulling the most disturbing Kodachrome memories off the shelf, then looking at them as we beat up ourselves. We act like these mistakes have been made by no one else.

Enter shame. Even disdain. Judgement of self and embarrassment that does not wain. These actions I’ve done and the places I’ve been- mistakes I’ve made and unending sin. Should they be hidden or put in the light? Tucked away or moved far from sight? Keeping up with the Joneses was the path on which I began- reaching milestones and acquiring what I can. But along the way I took a wrong turn, started making mistakes, wondering when I would learn. Am I broken? A beast? Slightly stupid, at least? Did I really do this and that, I ruminate, or will I ever move past those mistakes, thoughts perseverate. A red letter S is etched on my skin, as I shuffle along, no hope to win.

Then along comes humility. Not the “I’m not as good as anyone else” kind but the “I’m no better or worse than anyone else” variety. I learned to stop keeping up with the Joneses in the-person-with-the-most stuff-before-they-die contest; why not also learn not to engage in the I’m the-person-who’s-fucked-up-most-on-my-block contest? Everyone makes mistakes.  Everyone finds themselves in situations they never imagined, due to bad thoughts and regrettable decisions. For me, I am moving to the point of honestly and openly examining my past- not to kick myself while I’m down but to find peace and then move on. Oh yeah, and to stop doing so much stupid shit!

Of course, there’s also the side of humility that involves submitting one’s will to the plan and path of God, while no longer trying to control my life, those around me, and circumstances beyond me. No more arrogance; no more belief that I can steer this ship. I kneel. I kneel and ask for forgiveness- both for myself and from myself. I kneel and acknowledge the gift of today, a day that is not yesterday nor defined by my past. The past is the past and I’m letting go fast, finally learning to release and discovering some peace.

Pain, shame and humility. We’ve all encountered them but not all weave them together and move to serenity. Today, I’m finding peace the only way I can- being present this moment and surrendering to my Higher Power’s plan.


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