Posts Tagged With: letting go of shame

Day 2402: All Thumbs

One thousand, four hundred, and eighty days ago (but who’s counting on all thumbs or all fingers?), I typed — with all thumbs and fingers — a post titled  Day 922: Thumbs, which included a discussion of thumb-related phrased including “all thumbs,” “thumbs up,” and “thumbs down.”

Yesterday, I was all thumbs at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, as

  • I was so focused on removing liquids or semi-liquids that might be more than three ounces from my bag that I forgot to remove my laptop,
  • security gave me a thumbs down and sent my bag through twice, the second time without zipping it up,
  • I didn’t noticed that the bag was unzipped,
  • people told me everything was falling out of my bag after I picked it up, and
  • I got so flustered I dropped my laptop on my toe.

I’m glad to report that all thumbs and all toes were all okay, even if my dignity got temporarily damaged.  After all that happened, I hung around the scene of the crime and said all this to myself:

See!  You were trying to avoid feeling shame about doing the wrong thing by taking out those items from your bag, but you missed the obvious one!  And what you feared came true: you did the security thing wrong, people got annoyed, strangers noticed your mistakes,  things fell out of your bag,  you were exposed, you looked like you were all thumbs (and maybe like a crazy old lady), but you know what?  It doesn’t matter! You survived and you’re flying home to those you love!  Hooray!

And I celebrated by grabbing, with all thumbs, the #1 Best Airport Grab-and-Go Dining in the Country  (which turned my thumbs orange).

It’s time to thumb through all my photos from yesterday, when I was feeling all thumbs (but lots of heart, too).  By the way,  I thought “thumbs up!” when I was taking one of these pictures.  Can you guess which one?

















Here‘s “All Thumbs” by Mark Casstevens:


I’ll reply to all  comments later (using all thumbs if I’m on my iPhone).

Thanks to all who helped me create this all-thumbs post and — of course! — to YOU, for visiting, here and now.



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 2205: Who gives a crap?

Who gives a crap about where today’s blog title came from?


If you do give a crap, I saw that sign yesterday on the wall of a huge glass-blowing facility called Almost Perfect Glass  in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


There’s my  almost perfect friend, Deb, who was working the annual holiday glass sale at Almost Perfect Glass, which is the home of NOCA Glass School (where Deb has taken many courses, because she gives a crap about glass blowing). Deb and I give a crap about each other and have since we were in our teens. People say we look and act like sisters, and not just because we both wear the same t-shirt (which I gave her years ago because she gave a crap about what it says).

Who gives a crap about any of my other photos from yesterday?








I give a crap about  talent, nature,  mindfulness, and all that’s in your head.

While we all give a crap about what’s important to us,  it also helps to let go of worry, shame, and other crap filling your brain by saying, “Who gives a crap!”

Who gives a crap about this“Who Gives a Crap” song on YouTube?

Who gives a crap about whether Who Gives a Crap is “toilet paper” or “bathroom tissue”?

Thanks to all who helped me create this who-gives-a-crap post and to you — of course! — for giving enough of a crap to read it.


Categories: friendship, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1961: Don’t feel bad

I don’t feel bad that I’m going to recount something that happened three days ago, for which I have no accompanying photos.

When I took the train to New York on Saturday morning, I felt bad that I couldn’t lift my bag into the overhead compartment. I immediately told myself “Don’t feel bad” and I asked the gentleman sitting next to me if he could help.  He was happy to help and I didn’t feel bad about that, although I felt the need to explain that I couldn’t lift my own bag because I had torn my rotator cuff. I feel bad that I still feel the need to offer excuses for myself.

At the next stop, a woman boarded and sat in the seat across the aisle from me.  I noticed she didn’t put her bag up in the overhead compartment.  She looked like she felt bad about holding on to that bag, but I feel bad whenever I assume or mind read what’s going on with somebody else, so I waited to see what would happen.  When the conductor came by, she asked him to put her bag away for her.

I didn’t feel bad initiating this conversation with her:

Me: I can relate. I needed help with that too.

She:  I feel bad that I had to ask him.

Me: No!  That’s nothing to feel bad about.

She:  It’s embarrassing.

Me: Please try to let go of that.  I know what I’m talking about.  I’m a psychotherapist.

She:  I’ll try.

Me:  Look, while you’re feeling bad about that, people are doing terrible things that they’re not feeling bad about.

She:  That’s true.

Me: Please don’t feel bad.

And because I didn’t want her to feel bad that a stranger was talking to her, I smiled and went back to reading my book.

I don’t feel bad

  1. about that encounter,
  2. that I can’t find my iPhone right now,
  3. that I can’t share any new photos with you because of #2, above, and
  4. about sharing old photos in this post.









Don’t feel bad if you ever have the erroneous thought that nobody loves you. You’re not alone in that thought and thinking it does not make it true.

I don’t feel bad that I feel fine about being on vacation all this week.

Don’t feel bad if you can’t think of anything to say about today’s post. I don’t feel bad asking you to leave a comment anyway.

I don’t feel bad that I can’t share all the gratitude photos I took yesterday, because tomorrow is another day.



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1921: It’s a shame

When you reach out to somebody clearly expressing a wish to connect and you consistently get nothing in return, it’s a shame.  I mean,  that’s not only an unfortunate and perplexing experience, it also triggers the shame response, which (according to Google) looks like this:


(image found here)

When I experience the shame response, I

  • feel the urge to withdraw and hide,
  • try to figure out why there’s been no reaction to my attempts to connect,
  • remember that experiencing shame in response to perceived devaluation or rejection is a universal human reaction and that there’s no shame in shame, and
  • resolve  to reconnect more effectively — if not to the same person then to others.

What do you do when you experience the shame response to perceived devaluation or rejection?

I think it’s a shame if I don’t share my photos from yesterday.










It’s a shame that the last image shows a color copy of a 20 dollar bill and not the real thing.

Here‘s “It’s a Shame” by The Spinners:



Knowing that your input is important to others helps dispel the shame response.  Questions?  Concerns?  Suggestions?

It’s a shame if I don’t remember to thank all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Day 1672: Unlimited Capacity

I seem to have an unlimited capacity to see potential blog topics all around me.


I also have an  unlimited capacity for

  • irony,
  • humor,
  • taking things out of context,
  • searching for meaning,
  • appreciation,
  • hope,
  • reminiscing, and
  • taking photos (even if my devices have limited capacity for storage).








What do you have an unlimited capacity for?

These days, I’m working on limiting my capacity for

  • worry,
  • guilt,
  • shame,
  • judgment,
  • despair, and
  • fear.

YouTube seems to have an unlimited capacity for storing videos about EVERYTHING ( including reminiscing).

I also have an unlimited capacity for gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create this Unlimited Capacity post and — of course! — to YOU.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 1586: Messes

I don’t want to make any messes here in the blogging world, but yesterday the topic of my therapy group was “Messes.”


That’s the mess I made last night, as we all got messes down on paper.  My mess was actually messier than it looks in that photo, because I actually spilled cracker crumbs all over it. Because I made a mess of taking that picture, you can’t read all that I wrote.  However, I will tell you that I messily shared at the end of the group session my inspiration to make a new t-shirt that says, “Say YES to the mess.”

Why is it important to say YES to the mess?  Because we are all messes, in ways, even though we may think we need to appear neat and organized to others.

Before the group last night, I was dealing with lots of messes related to

  • miscommunication,
  • mistakes,
  • broken promises,
  • fear,
  • worry,
  • shame,
  • guilt,
  • misunderstandings,
  • distrust,
  • anger,
  • loss,
  • regret,
  • pain,
  • insecurity,
  • health,
  • health care,
  • health care bills,
  • politics,
  • lawyers,
  • guns, and
  • money.

Here‘s another fine mess:  “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” by the late Warren Zevon.

Here are all the other messes I photographed yesterday:


Please don’t be afraid to make messes in the comments section, below.

Messy thanks to all who helped me create this mess of a post and to you — of course! — for all the beautiful messes you bring.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1460: Circles

As I circle back here to create another daily blog post, I notice that I’ve circled through the concept of circles before (here and here).  If you’d like your thoughts to circle more positively, it’s worthwhile to circle through those previous circular posts.

As any new year approaches,  my mind circles through memories of the past and wonders about the future. Those circles make it difficult to circle in on the present moment. Nevertheless, I try to circle back to the present moment, over and over again.

What’s circling in your mind, here and now?

Yesterday, somebody in a therapy group circled around to asking if he could co-lead the group with me.  I circled my seat around to let him sit at the head of the table.  He helped the group circle through many important topics, including this one:


You can circle to more information about the wheel of intimacy here.

Do you see circles in the other recent photos circling on my iPhone?










Before I circle back to cardiac rehab and all the circling machines there this morning, I have time to circle around to music  by The Cyrkle


… and to gratitude.


Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1371: No shame in feeling pain

I have no shame in letting my readers know that because of many painful hospital experiences I had when I was a child, I automatically feel shame when I experience physical pain.

And I’m feeling some physical pain now, as I recover from my recent open heart surgery. Pain is bad enough, but shame on top of that pain is really too much.

Today, before I starting writing this no-shame-in-feeling-pain post, I spent some time actively  letting go of a particularly traumatic experience of being shamed when I was in pain after my first heart surgery at age 10.

Without shame, I mentally sent a message out into the universe towards a Dr. Hyatt who, 53 years ago, reacted to my excruciating post-surgical pain by calling me a liar and a spoiled brat, accusing me of putting other children in danger because of my selfishness, and then leaving me alone in my hospital room, in pain and shame.

Here was the message I just sent, in my mind, to Dr. Hyatt:

Hello, Dr Hyatt.  It’s Ann Koplow, whom you met at Children’s Hospital in Boston 53 years ago. I had just had heart surgery and was trying to let you know that I was in a lot of pain.  You were impatient and dismissive with me, told me I was lying about my pain, was a spoiled brat, and that I was putting other children in danger by distracting you from their more important needs.  Instead of validating and ministering to my pain, you left me alone in my hospital room.

You were wrong.  You did the exact opposite of what a doctor or any healer should do.  Since you did that so long ago in November 1963, I have felt shame whenever I feel pain. Also, I resist reaching out to others who might be able to help ease my pain, for fear that they will react the way you did.

I’m not sure why you did what you did that day.  Maybe you were overworked, overwhelmed by the Kennedy assassination, inexperienced, scared, angry, and/or becoming aware that this was not the work for you. It doesn’t matter why you did it.  I need to tell you that you did a lot of damage to me that day, which has continued to haunt me ever since.

Until tonight.

Tonight, I am giving notice that your influence in my life is over.  You have hurt me enough.  I will never feel shame about pain again. There is no shame in feeling pain.

And, my pain and my shame both went away.

I wonder if any of my photos from yesterday will fit the no pain/no shame theme of this post?
















It pains me to see that only one of those photos seems to relate to the content of this blog post:


However, I feel absolutely no shame about that pain.

It is no pain, here and now, to share  a selection from my CD of 100 best classics:

Happy autumn, everybody!  I wish us all a season of no pain AND no shame.

Thanks to all who helped me create this shameless, painless post and to you — of course! — for reading it.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 56 Comments

Day 1333: Exposed

How do you feel when you’re exposed?

When I’m exposed, sometimes I feel proud.  Sometimes I feel shame.

I want to expose these things, here and now:

  • the internet connection in the hotel  room where my son Aaron and I are staying for our final day at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is TERRIBLE,
  • I am still anxious about the pin-point timing needed for Aaron to get his student visa in time to begin Edinburgh University on time, next month,
  • this morning we are seeing Marc Mackinnon — a ginger/redhead,  like my son, whom we met at last year’s Fringe — in a play called Mermalade,
  • I won’t have time to include as much in today’s post as I would like,
  • last night we saw an incredible show called Exposé, where Colin Cloud exposed unbelievable and sometimes embarrassing things about many audience members,
  • earlier in the day we saw a fabulous improvised musical — thanks to Greg and the other members of  Impromptunes — with the title “Zeus Takes a Holiday,” which was suggested by an audience member,
  • on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, we ran into James Wilson-Taylor, whose Fringe show Ginger is the New Black we had seen earlier in the week, and
  • we  also saw a hilarious sketch comedy show Beasts Present Mr. Edinburgh, where one of the comedians/contestants  exposed his bum. 

Have I exposed too much?

I shall now expose some photos I took yesterday, to further expose the wonderfulness of Edinburgh and the Festival Fringe.





If you want to expose those photos further (including the one we think looks like a George Seurat painting), click on any of them to enlarge.

Feel free to expose yourself in a comment below.

I shall now expose my thanks to all who helped me create this exposed post and to you — of course! — for whatever you choose to expose, today.


Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 1301: Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are, reading this blog today?  Who do I think I am, posing such a question?

Who do you think saw this yesterday?


Who do you think took a picture of it?

Who do you think you are?  Are you somebody who’s heard that question from other people?   Who do they think they are, asking you “Who do you think you are?”

Who do I think I am? I think I’m somebody who

  • thinks,
  • feels,
  • deserves respect,
  • is mortal,
  • does her best,
  • respects others,
  • blogs every day,
  • is human,
  • makes mistakes,
  • learns,
  • gets discouraged sometimes,
  • is mostly hopeful,
  • is glad to be alive, and
  • took these other pictures yesterday:















Who does that tea bag company think it is, telling us to sing from our hearts?

Who do you think you are, trying to figure out all those other photos?

Who do I think I am to include two different tunes today (here and here on YouTube)?

Who do I think I am, expecting you to have some reactions to this post? Who do you think you are to consider leaving a comment?

Who do you think I want to thank today?  Everybody  who helped me create this who-do-you-think-you-are post and you — of course! — for reading it.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

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