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The Confidence Thief

I know the importance of reminders and today is a reminder of a blind spot that I see rear its ugly head day after day in my office.

SHAME [SHām] NOUN 1. a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior:

As I have mentioned, I grew up in West Texas in a family of six children. I was the fifth in line. I was small in stature, and we were not the wealthiest family around. Within the family, there was a lot of teasing, sarcasm, and put-downs. It was not done to purposely cause harm; it was just the normal method of communication.

Being unaware of emotional maturity, it was not taught in our family, and this led to the crippling shame monster I would carry for years. I tried everything I could to avoid criticism. I developed denial so I wouldn't have to deal with shame. I tried to show up without any blemishes in situations I faced.

My first years of school were difficult because teasing and belittling followed me due to my frailness and perhaps the clothes I wore. I learned to tell jokes and do all I could to feel accepted.

I am reminded when I was in the Marine Corps I was taught how to win at all costs. There, being in charge and right worked well. Now I was a contradiction. I was weakened by shame and empowered by control. What a wreck.

I stood up when it would have been more acceptable for me to stay seated, and other times, I sat down when I ought to have stood up.

Our parents were wonderful and gave us everything they had but could not give what they did not receive. I hold no blame against them. I know they loved us and wanted the best for us.

Lacking emotional maturity and training at home, then returning from the warped emotional training I received in the Marines, I was ill-equipped to be married or a dad, but I had a desire to be the best dad and husband I could be.

Not understanding the concept of emotional maturity till much later in life, every relationship I had took a hit because of this blind spot. Not until I learned I didn’t have to accept the words of others to feel good about who I was and how I showed up did I start seeing a difference.

I find it extremely difficult to see teasing, mocking, belittling, shaming, or bullying because of the negative consequences shame has had on my life.

Shame is a confidence thief.

It can be the source of a broken spirit that takes a long time to heal and hinders the opportunity of feeling confident. A lack of confidence as a child creates a challenging genesis in life. If it is not overcome, it will continually cripple social connections.

I am also regretfully reminded that I have given to others the same treatment that perhaps contributed to their shame. Ouch! That is difficult to admit.

Seeing shame’s effects and being reminded of its consequences, I want to do everything in my power to encourage, empower and have a positive influence on other's confidence.

Here is a good way to remind ourselves daily, “Am I going to build others up or tear them down today?”

My answer… “Today I will focus on catching others doing things right and erasing the effects of the shame monster.”

Watch for the blind spots.

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Blind Spots in Relationships

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