The day the counselor suggested I was carrying around some shame, I protested,  “That’s not even possible. I grew up in a healthy, solid, happy home. I did not experience trauma in my young life. I have no shame. In fact, there is no door in which shame would have entered.”   Since I’d given the counselor my hard earned cash, I didn’t want to waste all of my hour on her couch refuting her suggestions. I decided to consider the idea that I might be experiencing shame.  

As a child, I knew that I was different from my mom, and even my sister.  In my eyes, they were the two role models for being female and I was not like them. They like frilly things. I’m a no frills girl. Their favorite pastime was shopping. While they shopped, I read. Crafting was their hobby, I preferred deep thinking and philosophical discussions. They enjoyed the indoors. I liked being outside. If they never had to make one more decision in their life, they’d be happy. I wanted to lead the decision making. I quietly, unintentionally, unbeknownst to others, decided that something was wrong with me. I didn’t even know that I had decided that. Because my design was different, I was wrong. No one was telling me that. In fact, everyone in my world was encouraging and excited about who I was.  

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This little pocket of shame about my essence was birthed out of comparison — comparison that started the moment I saw something different in me — my guess, before I left for Kindergarten. Even while my sweet world encouraged my design and I developed in it, I carried this small doubt about being the-right-kind-of-female. When I reached full on adulthood, operated in high-stress jobs, took on responsibilities, raised a family, and met with failure, this pocket of shame erupted.  

Shame can be introduced into our lives in many different ways. One of them is through comparison.  I want to say with absolute and complete confidence today — You are not designed like her (the one next to you) and that’s beautiful! Celebrate it. What you have in you, your passions, your preferences, your personality, your abilities, your bent is exactly what the world needs in you. Choose to step into your design.  

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