Spotlight on the Gift of Shame and Growth

The Gift of Shame



Her successes are profound:

  • Graduated cum laude from Barnard College,
  • First woman to be appointed a chair in the clarinet section of the famous MET
  • Featured the PBS Documentary “A New World of Music”
  • Travels the world playing the clarinet

You would think that with all of these feathers in her cap, shame wouldn’t be an issue right?

What I’ve seen time and again through my work is that regardless of accomplishments, shame can still be an issue. The gift of shame is to guide us to greater self-love just for being you. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Metropolitan Orchestra

Jessica’s gifts and beauty goes beyond her music, to a woman who is able to know and love herself deeply. It’s a journey that she is courageous and vulnerable enough to share in the questions below.

1. Prior to embarking on an inner journey, were you aware that you had aspects of yourself that you felt ashamed of?

I was incredibly ashamed that I needed help. I was in absolute denial that I was breaking down. Once I did ask for help, it was like the flood gates opened, and I realized that I hadn’t really had a true awareness of many things in my life.

Now, in retrospect, I can see that when I started my transformative journey, I was in a severe traumatic place, but being that vulnerable for the first time in my life, made me so tender. Everything hurt, but I was forced to take care of and be compassionate with myself. I was forced to ask myself why I was uncomfortable being “seen” in my relationships.

As I learned to become mindful and aware of my inner voice, being ashamed and feelings of shame began to fall by the wayside.

2. What has allowed you to address the shame and find more of your truth?

In addition to coaching sessions with Michelle, I read probably 20-30 self help books! I would be awake at 5am reading…I did (and still do) a lot of meditation.

Many of the books and conversations with people who reached out to me to extend a supporting hand, delivered small golden nuggets of wisdom which all arrived at the perfect time.

Sometimes when I am confused, I go back to (F.E.E.L) Feel Every Emotion as Love, and look up different emotions when I get triggered. With meditation I have learned to find the “gap” where I don’t react, but sit with my emotions and then act, instead of the other way around.

3. What is it like as you continue your journey to receive, honor, and believe in your true self (rather than the shame)?

I travelled alone last summer for two weeks in Europe, and every single day, I asked myself, “Where do I want to go? What shall I do today?” These small acts were triumphant fireworks of my true self finally emerging. These acts gave me courage and also tenderness for myself for when I returned to normal everyday life. Each day is a new day, not only for inspiration, but also exploration of my authentic self. I have given myself permission to be always growing.

A “mistake” is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it, but even more so, I think you must also forgive yourself for it, and at least try to have some humor in relation to it.

Lastly, having faith that we are all compassionate and basically good people, I try to have a sense of curiosity about the world and my place in it. It is with these understandings that I am able to continue on my path and honor my journey.

Want to hear more of Jessica’s story?

Catch her recent interview on The NextFem Podcast | Real-Talk with Successful Women here.

(And thank you Jessica for the shout-out!)