You tell people you’re an aspiring musician. And today, you get a text inviting you to jam with some local musicians at an open mic night. You’ve practiced piano 2 hours a day for years but have never played with other people. You’re instantly frozen with fear and start searching for excuses to not go. As much as you can see yourself on that stage having the time of your life, something is pulling you down and you just can’t do it. You had a bad day at work, you wouldn’t be fun to be around anyways, you just don’t FEEL like it. Sitting on the couch and relaxing would be much more suited for you tonight. You end up ignoring the text and missing an opportunity to grow.
Really what you’re feeling is shame, the fear of disconnection. What if you’re not good enough? What if you screw up? What if they laugh at you? After all, nobody will laugh at you if you’re at home safe on your couch. You must pull yourself away from this downward spiral by recognizing uncomfortable opportunities that will help you grow.
“Our fight or flight strategies are effective for survival, not for reasoning or connection. And the pain of shame is enough to trigger that survival part of our brain that runs, hides, or comes out swinging.” -Brene Brown (pg.76)