I walked into a group of strangers and started playing games. We had had a few conversations beforehand, enough that I could gauge some personalities through broken English (my Lithuanian is still gutless) but… I was running on mostly body language. Now, I’m extremely competitive at the best of times, But in this game, I was just running it. So I watched from the sidelines. And as I watched one of the players, his view of himself deteriorated with his teams, and more so, his own, performance.

As if he had an internal monologue “If I win, I must be a good guy…. but if I lose, my essence as a human sucks.”

And he was losing. And my heart hurt. My heart hurt because here was a friendly, bold, intelligent man. Here was a guy who later I found out was deeply meek, and a very selfless gentleman. He carried girls bags, he helped clean, he offered tea to the awkward Australian. And yet, losing a stupid word game made him think less of himself.

And we find ourselves back at that strange and odd mantra of my life for the last decade. (yeah… I’m not ‘young’ anymore. I can say decade)

You can’t do anything to make YOU any less lovable. Any less valuable. Any less… beautiful. You can DO crappy things. But that THINGS are separate to your YOU-ness.

The old “Shame” is something wrong with YOU. “Guilt” is you have DONE something wrong. There is NOTHING wrong with YOU. But I, and you can and WILL do really stupid things often. But things we do can be dealt with.

The last week I have felt exhausted. I have a good friend living with me and I have taken liberties with our friendship that I shouldn’t. I have been grumpy. I have communicated badly. I have shrouded discomfort in sarcasm, instead of being honest. I can deal with those choices or not. But that doesn’t change the fact that I am who I am.

At the same meeting around the games we were playing I spoke to another participant and she understood that she was valuable but felt so uncomfortable admitting her value. Which part of me understands. The arrogance of someone who says “Yeah… I’m ok” As if only other people get to say that someone is great. But at the same time… If we found that beautiful balance of humility and confidence. Of being comfortable with who we are and deeply in love with who other people are… This world would change dramatically.

I wish there was no shame in the world. I wish everyone understood their own value. I wish… that YOU could agree with your own worth.

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