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So, you are totally confused. Your journey does not make sense. You have difficulty understanding where you are and therefore even greater difficulty in loving yourself and articulating yourself. You’re feeling a mixture of shame, frustration, and maybe even guilt.

Here’s a simple little strategy I apply when I’m feeling this way:

I imagine talking with a friend:

My friend Sue and I are meeting for a coffee. Sue says she is deconstructing and completely confused. She no longer believes many of the things she used to believe. She doesn’t know what she believes anymore. She’s even questioning the existence of God! In fact, she expresses fear that she might turn into an atheist. She wrestles night and day with her confusion, shame, and guilt. She says she really feels like a refugee lost at sea and wonders if she’ll ever ever find solid ground again.  She’s in no-man’s land, belonging nowhere and to no one. There doesn’t seem to be anyone who can listen or who understands. To make matters worse, those who love her are very concerned and express this concern in meaning-laden comments loaded with ulterior motives that make her self-doubt loom large in her mind. At a few points in our conversation tears come to her eyes. She’s embarrassed… not just by her tears, but with herself. I notice she seldom takes a sip of her coffee because she’s so absorbed in her dilemma. I point this out, and she admits that this is what her life is actually like… she can’t live life because she’s stuck inside her own predicament, tangled up her own thoughts, and trapped inside her confusion. I recognize her impatience. She’s desperate to settle down, find a home, and be fully and confidently herself again.

Then, I listen without judgment. 

I don’t try to correct her or change her. Why? Because I’m not afraid of or surprised by what she’s going through. I recognize it from my own experiences. In fact, I think she’s in a good place. She’s growing and it hurts. So I’m not going to say anything to endorse or fortify her negative feelings about herself… her shame, or guilt. Although these are natural, these are negative, judgmental, and even destructive ideas, maybe even echoed by her concerned family and friends, that are attempting to drag her back to her former self. I love her and care for her and tell her that she’s doing an amazing job and that if she gives herself time she will come out the other side of this dense fog where she will find confidence, peace, and even happiness again. I remind her that she’s smart and will figure this out. I believe in her! In this tender moment, I just try to make her feel as normal, healthy, mature, and courageous as possible. Because that’s what she is! She has rejected her conditioning and with full integrity wants to become a better, wiser, happier person. I’m not going to compromise that, but only encourage it. That spark I see in her dark passage… I’m going to fan that into flames so that she will regain her fearlessness and embrace the profound transformation she has already entered and embraced. She might not realize it, but she’s committed, and I’m going to help her keep her resolve.

This is not imaginary. This has actually happened many times for me… face to face and online with many different people. True stories!

Finally, I apply that to myself.

Aren’t we often told that we are gentler with others than we are with ourselves? I know I am. But this is the trick. The same grace, love, and care I show to others I show to myself. As soon as I’m feeling ashamed or guilty for where I am in my journey, I immediately apply this simple technique. I treat myself like I would treat a friend like Sue sharing her journey with me. It only takes a second. That simple trick, in a split-second, immediately arouses the self-love, self-confidence, and self-care I need to be okay with where I’m at and to press on undeterred. It’s a quick way to endorse yourself. It’s an immediate way towards your own self-approval. It’s a fast way of getting your confidence back and forging ahead with the courage you need to accomplish it.

I hope this helps.

Peace on your path, my friends.