I recently read an article on the fashion do’s and don’ts for women over 40. And while most of them seemed common sense I suddenly came across one that felt very personal. Apparently, you shouldn’t wear any shiny glittery eyeshadow when you’re over 40… Excuse me?

I went back and read the other points more carefully. Don’t wear a mini skirt. Seems like sound advice for most. But then again, if you have legs like Tina Turner why the heck not? Don’t dye your hair an “unnatural” color (apparently trying to hide your grey hair with a “natural” color is acceptable…). Vivienne Westwood dyed her hair bright red to make a statement… I like a little bit of glitter and it took me years to embrace my inner sparkly queen so I am not willing to give it up just yet.

Then I overheard two girlfriends chatting in a cafe. One said very enthusiastically: “I found a place in Tuscany that does pottery workshops!” To which the other one replied with a sneer: “ Pottery in Tuscany…That’s so cliché.” Boom! You have been shamed. If learning pottery in Tuscany makes you happy, who cares about clichés?

I think especially women, we get shamed a lot for what we do. For how we look. Our life choices. We’re selfish if we don’t have children. We’re selfish if we have children and want to do meaningful work at the same time. We have failed in our lives if we’d rather be happily single than settling for a relationship that’s not truly fulfilling. We’re doomed if we do. We’re doomed if we don’t.

Aren’t you tired of being ashamed of who you are?

Of people judging you for the things you like and that make you happy? Aren’t you tired of being measured by impossible standards that are set by no one even knows who? Aren’t you tired of trying to live up to an ideal that stifles all your uniqueness, talents and gifts?

I know I am.

On a deeper level, shame keeps us from being vulnerable and showing up as our imperfect, lovable and powerful selves. Shame keeps us from truly connecting with our unique gifts. Shame digs away at our happiness and self-confidence. Shame undermines any impulse of creativity, of making choices from a place of connectedness, empowerment, and courage. Shame is directed at who we are – at our core.

And let’s be honest here for a moment. If you hide parts of who you are (to others and mostly to yourself) because you are ashamed and afraid of being judged, you might fit in – but you will never truly belong.

The breeding ground for shame according to Brené Brown is silence, secrecy, and judgment. That’s why we need to talk about shame. And we are going to do so in my one-year happiness program in a safe and sacred community of like-minded people.

Developing shame resilience is one of the steps needed to stand in our vulnerability. To allow ourselves to be seen for who we truly are, to connect to our gifts and bring them to the world. Which ultimately is the most profound source of joy and happiness.

The more we know about our own shame triggers, about why and when we took them on (because shame is a learned behavior – none of us are born with shame…) we can stop judging ourselves so much. We can start to develop self-compassion. And we stop judging others. It gives us the courage to say: “Yes – this is me! This is who I am! This is what I like! This is the way I have decided to live. Deal with it!”

If any of this resonates with you – let’s have a chat! Let’s talk about my program “A Year of Happiness” and see if this is for you. If this is the support you need in your process of connecting to your innermost source of joy and happiness.

Are you ready for 2018 being a life-changing year?