Facing Judgment, Shame & Fear From The Viral Video
It was the second day of an intensifying, rare rainstorm in Los Angeles and I was 3 minutes away from getting on a group meditation webcast. I had just finished recording a podcast, my work day was over and the doom and gloom outside was getting worse by the minute.
I glanced down at my phone and saw a notification from Messenger, “You’re a fake, a phony and you’re preying on people. SHAME on you!”
What? I had no idea who this was or why anyone would send this message to me. But, the poison arrow went straight into my heart. My stomach tied itself into a ball of knots. “Stay calm”, I said to myself.
I was uneasy in meditation, but I stayed put and miraculously, centered. When I turned on my phone again, I saw my Instagram was blowing up. My Facebook page was blowing up.
What is going on?!?!?
It was this video, edited by GoalCast from a longer, TED-style talk I did in April of 2018. It is a beautiful video. Touching. Moving. Emotional. And polarizing.
The initial comments on the video were hateful, spiteful, and shaming. Nerves – and hearts – were deeply touched and triggered. And my heart, well, my heart sank. It shrunk. It shriveled. The rain outside, now being whipped by high winds and causing flooding, was like a real-time metaphor playing out right before my eyes, as the angry comments intensified and poured in.
Honestly, I couldn’t even bring myself to watching the video at first. The emotion was a mixture of fear, shame, hurt, sadness, and confusion. I felt like a child again, reminded of moments of being bullied and rejected by the other kids. I couldn’t understand why they had to be so mean. Why would anyone be so mean to another person for no reason? My inner child, naive, and still-innocent wondered:
What had I done to anyone? What had I said? Why were they attacking me? Why were they making wild assumptions? Why were they making me out to be a perpetrator? Why were they blaming me? Why did they take things out of context?! Why was I being misunderstood?
When we say our thoughts can manifest into reality …
My worst nightmare had come true. When Goalcast first contacted me to say they wanted to make an inspirational video of my talk, I was excited and also a little scared. “What if people hate it?” … “What if people hate ME?”
I’m not a kid anymore, why am I not over the fear of judgment? It’s a strong one, this fear. It runs deep. It runs beyond this body and this life. It’s a fear that runs in the veins of almost everyone.
It’s a fear that has kept us small, hiding, and afraid for millennia. It’s kept us veiled from our own power. It’s kept us veiled from our ability to love so deeply and so generously that we could eradicate hate. We could overcome the pain and the suffering we inflict on each other and on ourselves if we could only see and give ourselves with the love we are desperately seeking from others.
Despite my fears, I believe in miracles. I believe in making a contribution. I believe that love prevails …
As the storm got worse, the video went viral. By the time the rain stopped, 4 days later, it was shared 70,000 times, viewed 7 million times and had nearly 6,000 comments and 15,000 reactions. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all my years in business, statistics don’t lie. One week later, 80% of reactions were positive with nearly 9 million views and 90,000 shares and counting. And then, it started getting shared on multiple other platforms, and also took off on an unexpected platform, LinkedIn.
THE OPPORTUNITY TO FACE THE FEAR THAT HOLDS US HOSTAGE
Aside from a few ‘hate-mails’, I received dozens of messages, comments and stories from people saying, “thank you”, “I needed this”, or “my friend/family needed to hear this”.
So many people are saying “this is me” or “this was me”. They are saying, “Me, too”. People are sharing their stories. People telling me they finally feel they aren’t crazy, alone, or the only ones who feel this way. They didn’t know they could break the silence of shame. They didn’t know how to put words to their feelings, and they didn’t know how to find the courage to choose their own path when so much was at stake.
Believe me when I say:
You’re not alone. You’re not crazy. You’re not a bad person. You’re not guilty. You’re not to blame.
I know those critical voices. The ones that are in our heads, and even the ones coming from others. Every hateful comment posted online reflects something I’ve already said to myself. Every bit of shame, of blame, of judgment and of criticism is a voice in a chorus that screamed at me for years. Those voices, those ‘trolls’, are the trolls that used to live in my head. Now that I see them, I can face them. And, finally, release them for good.
There’s a greater lesson here for me. Perhaps for all of us. It’s about fear. What are we so afraid of? Many things, I’m sure. How do we deal with fear? We have to face it. And most of the time, if we don’t actively face fears, they come find us. Author Tim Ferriss has a system for this. It’s called Fear Setting.
There are many ways to deal with fear, and the first step is to acknowledge it. To accept that the fear is there. To sit with it, in dialogue. In that uncomfortable, “I want to squirm and fidget and distract and numb and get away from it” sensation.
This week, and this viral video, has brought me up close and personal with fear. Fear that was hiding in my system. Fear that was buried in my shadow. Fear that I must release. Fear that is not serving my highest purpose and greatest acts of service. Fear that’s holding me back from contributing my gifts, my abilities and achieving my goals. The same kind of fear that held me back from making that difficult, painful decision before too many years went by. Before I lost hope completely. Before I gave up forever.
Fear is holding us back from our optimal potential.
Fear is holding us back from discovering our greatest joy.
If we allow it.
It’s a good thing that my belief in miracles, as well as my desire to make a positive impact and contribution through my work are stronger than the fears of judgment, shame or negative projections.
Because that’s the whole point of my talk.
We must release ourselves from the shackles of shame. We must dig ourselves out of blame, guilt and judgement. We must redirect toward internal validation. We must find the masterpiece within. We must listen to our heart. We must follow our voice of inner wisdom. We must live the life we deeply desire - not the life we’re painting for others!
And those fears? Those voices?
I understand. I know them very well. The voices that tell us what we ‘should’ do, say, be, wear, eat … or stay. The voices in our heads and the voices of those around us. The stigma of shame, the pressure of external validation, of ‘them’, of the life we think we should want …
It is not what our heart wants. It’s not what the soul wants.
I also know that when the time is right, we make our choices. We make our decisions. We push past the discomfort and the fear, and we forge ahead. Because we must. Just like I did. And like I’m doing again.
I’m grateful to those who have courageously come forward, opened up, and shared their stories. You have lit a new fire in me. You have given me even more strength. You have given me courage to face these fears that were rekindled by the nasty comments. Because your Souls are speaking to me. You are telling me that we need to open up the conversation about doing what is right for ourselves.
Not because we’re selfish. Because we want to LIVE. Because we want to be HAPPY. Because we want to be CONTENT. Because we must take the initiative into our own hands and give that happiness, contentment, compassion, forgiveness and love to ourselves.
WHAT DOES YOUR HEART DESIRE? WHAT DOES YOUR SOUL DESIRE?
I’ll share what my soul desires. I desire for everyone to feel free to be who they desire to be. I desire for everyone’s heart to be broken open to receive more love. I desire for people to love themselves, first. Because that’s where all our happiness, fulfillment and contentment reside. It’s where it all begins. With ourselves. With loving ourselves.
This video and this experience have taught me many lessons. The most important one is that my story isn’t just my story. My story is your story, albeit with its particular nuances, flavors and characters.
I wasn’t expecting the magnitude of the reaction or the response to the video. I’m humbled by it. And I’m empowered to do more. I’m inspired by everyone who has shared the video or shared a story with me.
This one life is the life we’ve got. And I fully believe that we are not given a challenge that we cannot overcome. The fears in our heads, even if they are reflected in other people, are nothing compared to the force of the Soul.
Believe. Believe in yourself. Believe in your Soul.
If I can do it, you can do it.