Working with clients and systems, I have the pleasure and challenge of sitting with people when they experience big feelings. The feeling that seems widely accepted as the most challenging, or in some cases the most dangerous, is anger. However, I strongly believe that the most challenging and the most impactful feeling that we have is shame. Underneath the anger, fear, and sadness is often shame, humiliation, or vulnerability.
While leading a group of teens this past week in a discussion about complex trauma, one of the 15-year-olds said, "I know what you are talking about...it's like when I wore sneakers to school that were so small my toes were curled under." He went on to say, "as soon as I got to school my friend would lend me an extra pair of sneakers that fit so my toes could stretch out during the day. But I never wore them home. My dad would have beat me, he didn't want me taking charity from anyone, he always told me, 'we can do it on our own.'"
Moving 14 times in the last 13 years has taught me many wonderful lessons. There are a few I continue to learn time and time again, one of the most important being that there is nothing that can make a place feel like a home more than being welcomed into a community. Every time a move occurs, it includes a new post office, library, Costco, doctor, dentist, and favorite gas station among of course a million other little details. This most recent move provided me a new dentist, one that reminded me of this most valuable lesson.