Last month I had a most embarrassing experience. A friend pointed out to me that the tag line on my website banner, Facebook Page and newsletter heading had a spelling error in it. Well, that line has been there since I updated my website banner maybe a year and a half ago. How many times had I looked at that page and NEVER noticed the error! I could not believe this oversight.
Living with Limitations
I am a self-acknowledged terrible speller. I notice my inclination to blame it on the poor quality of early education and the fact that phonics has never made any sense to me – maybe a slight learning disability to boot? That get’s me off the hook a bit. I’ve got somewhere to displace this uncomfortable feeling. Thank God for spell check, but of course, we all know it doesn’t catch them all. Over the years, my motto has been “do your best, but just do it and don’t obsess about perfection.” I’ve learned over the years to live with my limitations, but once in a while, when bopped in the head with one – like this oh so public spelling error – I get a shame attack.
Riding the Shame Attack
First, there’s the “Oh, how could that have happened?” Then the desire to go to bed and pull the covers over my head and pretend it didn’t happen. That will make it go away! But then to take it in. I made a mistake – a very obvious and public one. Can I just let that be? Can I let the wave of shame pass through me and notice it’s okay? A kind voice said, “You just made a mistake, dear.”
And to my surprise, it passed through pretty quickly, and I got onto fixing it. Fortunately, I have a wonderful team of graphic, admin and tech support people who jumped into action and made the correction.
But what I noticed this time is that my capacity for self-love and self-forgiveness is much stronger. These two qualities are what allowed the shame attack to dissipate relatively quickly. I no longer feel inclined to castigate myself mercilessly for my limitations.
Self-Acceptance and Pleasure
Maybe this is one of the outcomes of holding this pleasure focus? As I go deeper into the theme, I do notice a strong interrelationship between pleasure and self-love., acceptance, and the capacity to forgive.
It goes like this – if I don’t have a reasonable degree of self-love and acceptance I can’t allow myself pleasure, and yet when I do take in pleasure it helps me open to myself and appreciate who I am – just as I am - which is such a tender pleasurable state!
As well, there’s a theme of thinking we have to be worthy of pleasure. It’s almost as if punishing and depriving one’s self by withholding pleasure could convince us to be better, try harder, do more – then we’ll be worthy of having pleasure! Wow – the machinations we can fashion! These are usually all unconscious, under the surface forces, driving our pleasure or no pleasure experience.
In the Online Unlock Pleasure Program, I support people to get to the root of what holds them back from pleasure. It’s amazing what gets discover. And once you’re aware of those unconscious drivers, change can happen. These days I encourage participants to work with pleasure through the lens of self-love and self-care. This is core, essential and deeply healing work.
I invite your thoughts on the subject. How do you move through limitations and imperfections? What helps you nurture self-love?
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“As I step into the classroom with Madeline, I am aware of a spaciousness that few other facilitators offer, giving adequate time for self-reflection and digestion of the material. The spaciousness is well-supported by experiential learning and practical teachings. Madeline’s work—both within her own life and in facilitating others—speaks clearly through the profound space she holds for learning, and healing, to happen.”