This week, I had one of the greatest joys happen for me. My eldest daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.

Holding this child gives me greater joy than I could ever possibly imagine.

For me, the struggle lies in combating the fear of my responsibility toward this child. I do not know if you can relate, yet I am already calculating how much his college tuition will be, and how I am going to pay for it. I am completely aware that this is a bit insane, as it is not my child, and God has always provided for me and my family, yet this is where my mind goes.

My initial dialogue with myself was, “Ash, can’t you give yourself time to enjoy, and to appreciate? Why do you immediately see the negative, instead of the positive? Furthermore, Ash, how come you always find a way to make it about you?” This dialogue threw me into what I refer to as the ‘shame cycle’, where I believe that I am my thoughts, and I label myself accordingly.
I often share that if someone lies, never label them as a liar, and if someone steals, do not label them as a thief. Instead, assist them in understanding that they can change their ways– that their character is fine, it is their behavior that needs to be adjusted.

The question is, when the negative dialogue is with myself, how do I combat it? How do I prevent myself from entering the shame cycle, and if I do enter the cycle, how do I pull myself out of it?

What I attempt to do, is remind myself that my thoughts are not me– it is my actions that matter. Additionally, I remind myself that it is okay to be fearful and scared– it is not okay to do nothing about it (I say the second part very gently). I actually have a conversation with the scared little kid in me, and I tell him that since I am big now, together we can handle anything that comes our way .

How do you prevent yourself from going into the shame cycle? Furthermore, if you go into it, how do you pull yourself out?

This week, instead of recognizing all your or others’ negative qualities, let’s find the positive in each other. Let’s light up the world the way our Chanukah candles light up our homes.

Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love


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