Yes, we are hitting the hard topics today ladies: SHAME
Shame is that feeling you get when someone asks you “why are you single?”
Shame is what causes you to avoid online or formalised dating channels or deny you are online dating.
Shame is that feeling that happens when he doesn’t call… And even though you weren’t that into him, you are still upset.
Shame causes you to tell your friends (if untruthfully) that you are not interested in a relationship
Shame causes you to have that second or third date and ‘give it a chance’ when you really imagined meeting someone with so much more…
Shame is the feeling that you are unlovable.
Shame is universal but one of the most debilitating emotions because we don’t talk about shame. As such, we feel alone in our unlovability and like we really truly ARE flawed and hopeless.
When we experience shame we do whatever we can to appease, please and perfect… To fit in, to ‘be cool’…To change ourselves into a more ‘loveable’ version of us. Not only is this hard work and inauthentic, it is unsustainable and perpetuates our experiences of shame, low self esteem and anxiety in the long term.
At best we ‘put on a good front’ to get the guy, only to feel anxious and fraudulent… If he only knew the ‘real me’ he wouldn’t choose me.
At worst we become hamstrung by our shame and remove ourselves from dating and miss out on the important life experience of romantic love. Some people say that because we are biologically wired to attach (through oxytocin), people who don’t ever experience romantic love can never truly be fulfilled.
So what do we do about shame?
Well, the good news is EVERYONE is unlovable… A little bit…. Ask any long term happy couple and they’ll tell you with affection about their partners flaws.
The good news is that love, in the real, felt sense, is not the pursuit of the ideal. Love is a tool, a series of biological reactions in your brain that generates the feelings and motivation to help you overcome the difficulties.
When you find someone who is open and ready to fall in love, he won’t mind that you are carrying an extra few kgs; that your joke landed flat; or that you haven’t achieved everything you wanted to by now. He will love you in your glorious imperfection and hopefully be patient while you struggle to do the same!