There is nothing quite like the experience of being told, loudly and in front of the other twenty some-odd people in your choral group, that you – you personally – are singing flat.
This, of course, makes you want to crawl into a hole. And stay there forever. With your mouth closed, obviously.
And I would have, but the thing was that I really wanted to sing with this choir. Truth be told, I really needed to sing with this choir. I had three diaper-clad munchkins running after me day in and day out and frankly, I needed the break.
But it wasn’t easy to let go of my pride and get back in the game.
I do not now, nor will I ever, condone the behavior of the choir director that day. No one should be called out and embarrassed in public (and in a church choir, no less!) But I did learn something incredibly valuable from the experience.
Shame does not have to stop you.
Yes, it hurts. Yes, it’s an awful experience. Yes, pride kicks in pretty quick to put up a wall (just doing its job, right?) And of course fear jumps up up to guard that wall just in case you’re thinking of climbing over it or maybe even knocking it down. Again, that’s fear’s job: to make sure you don’t get hurt.
But none of that has to stop you from getting back in the game, trying again, stepping up to step out one more time.
We all fall, but it’s not the falling that really matters in the end, it’s the getting back up.
As Zig Ziglar says,
“Failure doesn’t come from falling down, failure comes from not getting up.”
And in the getting back up, we get more than just another chance at making the team or making the grade or making the relationship work.
We get stronger. Braver. Closer to whole-hearted living.
Shame researcher Brené Brown says in her book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead“:
“The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.”
I might add that the willingness to show up, after a shaming experience, makes us a lot braver.
It isn’t easy, of course. To get back in the arena knowing that you might fall again is a hard thing to do. But if you’re willing to step back in, you’ll find that you really can do hard things.
And my wish for you today, is that you know that.
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