Going Public, Flaws and All
July 30th, 2013 by Katie Morton
Photo by: Kevin Dooley / Creative Commons
Guidepost #1: Cultivating Authenticity; Letting Go of What People Think
I began mommy blogging for TLC when my daughter was 8 months old. There’s a lot of shame-slinging online at mothers who reveal themselves in any capacity. When I first started blogging and I would read a nasty comment that someone left on a post of mine, I would feel shame – that red-faced, horrible rush that would hurt in my heart and stomach – like I’d done something wrong.
Letting go of what people think takes practice. I soon learned that people who write garbage comments like that have issues (clearly) and that it’s more important for my mental wellness to be who I am, even if some people out there don’t like it.
My biggest wake-up call to the depths and breadth of being publicly judged was when I decided to take a year without wine and to blog about it. There are some very strange, outdated customs that humans have when it comes to unfettered shaming of others about drinking when they’re honest about what it’s like for them if it’s not 100% rainbows and sunshine.
The Alcoholics Anonymous culture is particularly strange to me, although I know it works wonders for many people, and I have a friend who has been nothing but generous in sharing her positive experience with AA. But I’ve also been judged and shamed by many people (strangers) who are AA devotees. The eagerness of strangers to tell me about the depths of my “problem” – and the gleeful prediction of my failure! – is just so…odd. I’ve also had people contact me to share their not-so-great experiences with AA. I think it’s to be expected that not everyone is a fit for AA. Not every problem is created equally, and not every solution works for everyone.
I know personally, I’m not a fit for AA. I’m not an alcoholic, first of all. And I know there are plenty of others out there like me who want ways to manage their habits in a private and nonjudgmental fashion so that they can decide whether abstinence or moderation is best for them on their own terms, without being pressured or shamed.
This is partially what spurred me to create my course (formerly 5) now 7 Weeks to a Blissful You. In the course, we don’t focus on drinking because what’s important is to heal the issues around self-worth that make people want to numb out, whether that’s with food, alcohol, TV, Facebook…or even design magazines! We all numb out, and I’m not sure why alcohol is the red-headed stepchild of the bunch. (My apologies to fellow red-heads and step-children.)
It’s my belief that, whatever your numbing agent of choice, people must be allowed to make their own decisions about what’s a happy and healthy balance in their lives – without shame, without judgment, and without the added pressure of the opinions of others and how they think you should live.
Going without wine and being open and honest about it publicly was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’m very well-practiced in letting go of what others think and cultivating authenticity in my life by writing about my struggles so that I may help others be as loud or as private as they want on their own journey.
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