standing in a puddle of shame

I caught myself standing in a puddle of shame the other day… in a good way. What made it good was that I was able to acknowledge it, absorb it and move on. There’s a different version of me that would have shut off, watched a thousand episodes of Friends and eaten popcorn to find comfort in the familiar but who I am now knows better.

I was told in a seemingly positive performance review that I was not going to receive a raise. Every single individual on my team received a raise except for me. I held a brave face as I was told that I have been doing a remarkable job but I just wasn’t worthy of anything else. I accepted it with a graceful smile, eyes possibly full of tears, thankful it was a video conference. Once I got off the call and said it out loud to my husband my inner voice’s negativity poured in uncontrollably, “You’re not good enough… You’re a joke… You’re in over your head… It’s because of the color of your skin.” This time, I talked back.

I paused and thought about what made me ask for it in the first place. What I wanted wasn’t validation, I was looking for confirmation, confirmation that I was not equal or valued at the organization I was at. I assumed the risk by asking a question I already knew the answer to.

Despite being prepared for the worst, my mind couldn’t help but populate negative thoughts. This time I reminded myself that it wasn’t the first time and it wont be the last. What I was able to do here was stand in this puddle of unworthiness, look down at it and say, “I don’t belong here, I am good enough, I know it.”

I am wiser for it all. I will continue to put my best work out into the world and drive personal success. I will continue to ask for more, I will continue to get rejected and I will continue to remind myself that I am worthy. I was able to walk away from that negative space and move on from being ashamed.

I share it here with you because I want you to know my friend, whatever shame puddle you find yourself in, you have the ability to acknowledge it, absorb and move on. You are worthy too.