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  • Dana Ellington

From Shame, with Love

So yeah, I did a thing. And that thing lead to someone's feelings getting hurt and one of those "you suck, so I'm taking my ball and going home, and I'm never going to play with you again!" responses. That, in turn, lead to someone else's feelings getting hurt which prompted them to also respond with a "you suck" response directly aimed at me. Sigh.


As Dr. Brene Brown so brilliantly described it, I then suffered a major shame attack. All of this comes during a very vulnerable time in my life (see my post on hermit crabs and shells, HERE). Naturally, the "shame gremlins" (another Brene Brown term) had a field day. The spiral was in full swing about a minute into my evening commute. I cried. IN PUBLIC. (see my post on why that was kind of a big deal, HERE).





Thanks also to Dr. Brown, I had some weapons in the arsenal to use so the spiral didn't sweep me off to contemplations of suicide. Instead, I reached out as you're supposed to and shared my story with someone who could empathize AND help me think clearly toward what I should take responsibility for and how to properly word my apology. With all of that in place, I was at least able to get some sleep.


Here's where the love comes in.


The morning commute: I'm attempting to drown out the fear and shame gremlins with a metric @$%$ ton of self-compassion. Telling myself all the things I need to hear in order to avoid spiraling into depression (and to keep from turning around and running away from any potential fall out from the previous day's crap-fest, is sure to bring). In the middle of it all, I come up with the idea that this weekend, I should just shut it down and put in all the hours I can on some major self-love. Cliche'd "single on Valentine's Day" tropes aside.


For real, I was going to just:

  • turn off my phone

  • put a couple long burning logs in the fireplace

  • make myself a delicious dinner complete with something sweet for desert

  • have a glass of an adult beverage suitable for a romantic dinner (and that won't give me an instant migraine

  • light some scented candles

  • buy myself some flowers

  • etc


All of that got me to thinking about romantic relationships in general. My experience with romance up to this point looks a little like this:


Guy just got out of a relationship and has vowed to NEVER treat anyone else the way he treated her, ie. no more flowers, respect, hard work to earn money, lavish vacations, etc. Then he meets me. For whatever reasons he decides we should date (*cough*have sex*cough*). There may be a date here or there but for the most part, it's the barest of courtships you could imagine. And let me just stop you here, I know my standards could have been way higher, I was accepting crumbs, I admit it. Let's keep going...


The stand outs, those guys who stuck around? Yeah...there's a reason I'm twice divorced.


Anywho, while those guys did more than the average by taking me to the altar, it still ended up that once I was locked in, they stopped doing what got me hooked in the first place. But now, no sooner than the ink is dry on the break-up, they're out and about wooing the next chick. Bending over backwards to show the new love how much they care. Trips, jewelry, hustling to make ends meet so she doesn't have to work; buying her a car, or a house, regular date nights and being faithful, etc.


I looked at all the things I've seen men do for women; all of the things I'd wished / wanted a romantic partner to do to and for me. At the top of the list was for someone to think I was worth the effort. I'm not all about material things so gifts aren't all that big of a deal, they're nice, but not mandatory. I'd much rather have someone who wanted to work with me for our better good; someone interested in achieving common financial, physical, and emotional goals. Someone who wanted to share experiences WITH me and was willing to work just as hard on our relationship as I was. I wanted a, "Sunday Kind of Love".


As I sat with all of this, it dawned on me, I'm the person I'm looking for. I'm the one who's willing to do what it takes so I can have / do / be for myself. But somewhere along the way, I stopped nurturing the relationship. I outright neglected it in favor of chasing down some man who would love me the way I love me.


So yeah, after the work debacle, I realize I've got to stop looking outside myself for love, validation, compassion, etc. Going to reconnect to myself on a grand scale. Loving words of acceptance and praise, taking myself out on dates, spending time with me doing things I enjoy doing. And taking much better care of myself on the whole.


Alright, that's the latest revelation. Thanks for stopping by, as always. Stay tuned to see how things go.


Sending love & light.

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