bills and shame storms

apartments

I got our electricity bill the other day. Let's just say it was high, and that the oppressively hot summer, combined with my postage stamp apartment, didn't really result in any savings. A hundred and twenty bucks! On cold air.

Needless to say, I wasn't impressed. But I chalked it up to having a hotter summer than usual, and a fear of my dog scorching while we are at work. I figured that it was last month, and now, after this reality check, I would be better. Turn off the lights, tick up the thermostat a few degrees, close the blinds during the day. I knew that with the end of summer coming, things would shift, the heatwave would break and circumstances would change. 

With electricity bills, you know what happened, you know you have to pay it, you reassess what you can change for next time and you move on. No fretting over that one "really hot night where I was sweltering" or "maybe I shouldn't have had a cooking extravaganza with the oven on for five hours" or "lights! They are the WORST! NO MORE LIGHTS EVER".

We aren't all living in the dark, punishing ourselves for last month's wild times with air con. That would be ridiculous.

I was talking to a client the other day about something they had done recently. An "Oh goodness, what was I thinking?? I keep replaying it over in my head a thousand times" sort of thing. A total self-judgement shame spiral that was just knocking her off her game, keeping her from moving forward in her fabulous life. The shame spiral was juicing up some pretty powerful things- she was never going to do this thing again. She was basically choosing to live in the dark, without air conditioning, in the worst heatwave ever. ForEVER.

So we went deeper. What happened? Why? Where is this shame coming from? Clear on context, shifted to what could be learned. What were the next steps? How could she carry the lessons forward, and kick the shame storm to the curb? How could she shift to living in the present, rather than let the past rule her world?

I get it. It is hard to let go of what happened in the past. When something hits you deep, it can create a veritable shit storm in your life. If you give it power. 

My electricity bill- I don't give it that power. It happened. I watched that TV, chilled in that air conditioning, made those delicious meals, read mystery thrillers deep into the night with that bedside table light burning bright. My past screw ups, shame storms, regrets? I coax meaning out of the worst, appreciate the experience and focus on being the best version of myself the next time this comes up. As far as I'm concerned, I paid the bill, adjusted accordingly and moved the hell on.

 

alex kelly

public health + personal wellness