“I am ashamed”.
I held her hand and looked deep into her eyes and told her she had no reason to feel ashamed.
In this moment, we felt the grace of humanity wash over us. We were there for her in a time of need. She was there for us to remind us of what really matters.
She reminded us that we are deeply connected to one another…she reminded us not to forget.
Love Is An Act Of Service
Roger and I had been picking up a few last minute stocking stuffers. Outside the store was an old woman, leaning on her walker. She locked eyes with me and reached out, beckoning me over. I moved towards her and she clasped my hand.
She said, “Please. Please help me.”
I asked what was the matter and she gestured to her foot. She had removed her shoe because it was hurting her and now she wasn’t able to put it back on. It was a slip-on shoe, but the back was bent inward and she was struggling and upset.
This beautiful woman with her dyed black hair and her Italian accent chose us to help her.
And we did.
I held her hand to keep her stable as Roger leaned down and wiggled the shoe. The relief on her face when it finally went on was a look I will never forget. There was so much emotion in that moment. We hugged and tears filled her eyes as she expressed her gratitude, saying “thank you a million times for what you’ve done”. In that moment, she realized it was over…she could carry on. She was no longer stuck inside the circumstances that made her feel small and incapable…and ashamed.
“I am ashamed”…
God, that word kills me.
Whenever I hear someone telling me they feel ashamed of themselves, something hurts so deep inside of me, it brings me to tears.
I understand shame. I was so ashamed of myself, who I was, what my life was like, the way I was behaving and the person I had become that it almost destroyed me.
Shame keeps us mired and it holds us back in every area of our lives.
We feel shame because we somehow feel there is something wrong with us. Shame is described as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior”.
We forget that being “flawed” is part of the human experience.
Why should we feel ashamed of ourselves simply because we need help? We live in a society that reveres independence, capability and appearing to have it all together.
I believe that once we can admit that we don’t have it all figured out; when we can be vulnerable and share our weaknesses; when we can ask for the help we need…this is when we can break free from this kind of shame.
Because there is no shame in being human.
And being human is messy and complicated and hard and it requires us to accept the help of others, at times, especially if we want to feel fulfilled.
Imagine if you never, ever received any help from anyone? How would that change the way you experience gratitude? And what if you never, ever helped another human being? How would that change the way you saw yourself?
We are not meant to journey this life alone. We are part of a collective human family, and we are most joyful when we are loving, supporting and helping one another in all sorts of ways.
This woman taught me that asking for help in a moment of weakness is an act of surrender. It makes us vulnerable and takes courage and allows for both parties to be equally changed for the better.
And it shouldn’t feel shameful.
It should feel sacred.
Because it is just about the most beautiful thing we can experience.
During this holiday season, I invite you to go out of your way to help someone, no matter how big or how small. Perhaps you will hold a door. Or allow a mother with a crying child to go ahead of you in line. Or maybe you’ll offer to return someone’s grocery cart.
Or perhaps you’ll help an old woman with her shoe.
You never know what an act of kindness will mean to someone.
It’s a small thing that could change everything…for both of you.
Because I want you to love your life one bite at a time.
P.S. Did this post resonate? Have you had an experience you’d like to share? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
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