I’m a shameful person. Literally full of shame. I’m ashamed of things I’ve done, things I haven’t done, and things I can’t do. I’m ashamed of my skinny hair, thoughts, and body. Ashamed that I’m not further ahead in my life. Ashamed that I’m not in better shape.
And I’m ashamed of my writing that’s not perfect. Which is all of it. When I write an article, and come back to it for editing. I first remove the imperfect parts. What’s left is nothing. So I write but don’t publish. And then I’m ashamed of not publishing when I could be sharing positive, socially useful messages. Jealousy toward those who do eats at me. Then shame about my jealousy.
The only cure is action. In the timeless words of Teddy Roosevelt:
It is not the critic who counts; not the [person] who points out how the strong [person] stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the [person] who is actually in the arena… who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming
So I write. And practice gentle lovingkindess with myself and others. And fail sometimes, to be gentle or kind to myself and others. Most of the time I remember to readjust, forgive myself, and get back in the arena. Because there is no life without failure, no creation without imperfection, no sharing that is without risk. But I suspect the best lives are those fully lived, not safely observed from the sidelines.