From my experience as a life coach, one of the most crippling mental blocks we can run into as we try and build a life we truly love is this: “What if I make the wrong choice?”.
What if I upset the apple cart and it’s a mistake?
What if I realize later that I could have done better?
As a result, we may stay frozen exactly where we’ve been sometimes for a long time, choosing status quo over taking any step.
Some of us remain is joyless jobs, or bankrupt mariages. .. for years, for decades.
Of course deep inside, there is the desire for some kind of new choice, some change, some RELIEF. But despite that deep longing to do something new, to transform, to escape, to feel better… we dare not make a move.
We are masters at finding rational reasons, excuses, explaining WHY we don’t.
We are always extremely creative when we fool ourselves, when it comes to what stops us from moving in any direction. When in fact, what makes us protect the status quo, is a deep fear.
The fear to be wrong.
The risk to make a mistake.
For some of us, behind the fright, there is a terrible pain we would do anything not to feel. The cause of that pain has a name: Shame.
A few years ago I listened to this talk by Brene Brown, and it’s so enlightening i recommend it :
In a nutshell “guilt = I made a mistake, I did something bad; shame = I am a mistake”, I AM bad.
She also says : “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change”
Since shame is a master emotion, so strong that it is unbearable, and it affects greatly our ability for self-acceptance.
Putting this together with our awareness that “being wrong is shameful” for some of us as we’ve were taught as a child, makes me feel enormous compassion for anyone struggling with making life changing decisions.
In this light: “wrong = shame” it becomes easy to understand how excruciating it can be for some of us to upset the status quo, any status quo.
What if i’m wrong?
If i’m wrong i’ll have to feel that crippling burning pain of shame.
Though we find a lot of rationales to explain our resistance to induce big changes, life changes, even in the face of an unfulfilling situation, maybe it could help us to consider that our whole ability to endure, to remain, to not disturb the status quo, might just be avoidance all along of that burning feeling.
Shame is so hard to take, so profoundly self condemning that any other pain is easier to deal with.
A client of mine spoke of terror and it was so spot on!
In other terms, our resistance to change, our doubts, our fear of making the wrong move, are only the result of a very destructive early lesson where we were denied the right to be wrong every now and again as we build up experience.
The right to be wrong
Though all human beings are experiencing and learning best by taking the risk to be wrong, as a normal part, a universal part of finding out what living at best is for any of us, the pain of shaming denied that acceptance for those of us shamed when they were wrong, early on.
If this resonates with you, increasing your awareness of that equation wrong = shame having been trained into you (it’s not a natural thing, it’s a crippling denial of your worth) will be the door to freedom to make choices and take the risk to live on your terms with more self acceptance and self compassion… We can’t unsee what we become aware of. That’s the very cool part with awareness, when we see a pattern, when we realize what has been driving us, we then have the ability to witness, we can choose to remain alert and and to act in different ways, instead of letting the pattern have us… In my work I see awareness set people free as they start questioning the validity of their crippling beliefs and how they were installed at a young age. We are human beings, and as such we are able to reinvent ourselves, to create new beliefs (a belief is only a very very familiar thought, a mental habit; its familiarity does not warrant its accuracy), and to learn how to treat ourselves better. Everyone benefits when we do so, because when we live an authentic life, we empower others to do the same. We have the right to be wrong, it is not a shameful thing. Simply because it is inherently part of Life to learn through trials and error. When we dare not doing so we sell ourselves short from a life well lived. We are not alone. It’s good to remind ourselves that we don’t have to do all the shifting, all the growing out of old patterns, all the awareness work, on our own! What I do now, as a life coach comes directly from having benefitted immensely from working with mentors, masters and coaches who supported my growth at every big step I took. Asking for help is sometimes the very best move we can make. There is magic in serendipity, in following the bread crumbs, in letting ourselves be guided toward the book, the conference, the workshop, the webinar, the group… the person, who feels right for us. Sometimes status quo feels safe, and sometimes it comes to feel like slowly dying. At that point it’s good to look closer… To your awareness and to your happiness! Much love