I was running away from shame my entire life. It was not until I made one change that I started to move towards a state of thriving.
Away from Guilt
For the past three years, after I turned 30, I made several life decisions that dramatically changed my life. I walked away from a good tech industry job, became a personal trainer, launched a podcast, built an online community, and created an online course. Everything looked awesome from the outside, but I didn’t feel awesome. I was just surviving. My actions were driven by one thing: escaping from negative feelings.
I quit my job because I didn’t want to feel powerless and trapped.
I launched my podcast because I felt lost in my new fitness career, and I wanted answers to all my questions.
I built an online community because I didn’t want to feel lonely.
I created an online course because I couldn’t bear the shame of not making any money.
I searched for jobs because I didn’t want to feel like I was a burden.
I replied to comments on Twitter because I don’t want to feel guilty.
I “solved” a problem, but I didn’t feel good. I only feel relieved.
Hitting Rock Bottom
It was a Friday afternoon. I was on the verge of falling into an emotional black hole.
I was still struggling to find a job and I was taking it out on the people around me. It was four months since I had moved to the states. Despite applying to hundreds of companies and networking every week, I had not found a job. After working independently for two years, I was looking forward to joining a team where I didn’t have to figure everything out myself. And I didn’t have to feel like I was failing in American society. I’ve sent out almost one hundred job applications, tons of cold emails, and networking. Unemployment sucks. I didn’t feel good about myself and this resulted in my creating conflict with my husband. I couldn’t talk about it because I felt so bad. I didn’t want this to continue so I went searching for help. . That was when I found neurolinguistic programming (NLP).
It was a sunny day, but in my heart, it was raining. The NLP training workshop I was going to attend was “ The Disney Creativity Strategy for Team Building & Personal Creativity”. Why would Disney help me with anything I was dealing with? I didn’t care. I just had the worst fight with my husband, so whatever could get me out of the house would do. I shut the door before he finished his sentence. I rode my bike full speed to a coffee shop. I was sweaty, my heart was racing, and I tried to put on a smile in front of a group of strangers in the zoom room.
While the instructor was going through workshop housekeeping, I played through every scenario of how I could stop getting into the fights with him.
“I should work in a coffee shop more so I can lower the chance of us arguing.”
“I need to plan a solo trip so I can get away from our relationship for a while.”
That’s when the instructor prompted us:
“Ok, so now ask yourself, what are the dream you want to achieve with the person or team you work with?”
The … dream?
We were put into a breakout room of two and practiced bringing our dream alive in full detail. I dreamed of a picture where my husband and I were both thriving, happy, and energetic. We are bathed in love and admiration for each other. I imagined the future in detail, including what I will say to him, what I will hear from him, and what I will see, and feel. Within just three minutes, my body turned from tense to relaxed. The frustration disappeared and the emotion I started to feel about our relationship was joy.
“I’m done with fighting with you. From now on I only want to dream with you.” I told my husband when I got back home, in tears.
This was just the opening of how NLP shifted my reality and actions. I later learned many more techniques that steered me away from my negative projection of the world and it helped me to look at the world in a positive light.
I’m in a completely different mental state now. I think about my life based on how I want to thrive not in a reactionary way to escape feeling bad. I’m able to take the same actions but look at them in a completely different way.
I make a podcast because I believe I can help people get the life they want.
I build community because I want to help others to thrive.
I reply to Twitter comments because I know it may lead to friendship.
I am searching for a job because I know I can work on things that matter.
Running away from negative feelings like shame or guilt makes me feel drained, scarce, and isolated.
Moving toward thriving made me feel energized, abundant, and belonged.
Are you running away from shame, or running toward thriving?