I had a meeting with the marketing team at Shambhala Publishers a couple of weeks ago. I sat on the screen with them as they reviewed the marketing strategies for my upcoming book. I could see my face on the screen look a little blank as it was surreal for me to take it all in on many levels. One, I have been waiting for this, meaning the publication of my first book, for a long time. I spent many years studying, researching, and writing the manuscript, along with the work involved to secure a publisher. But this was only one reason for my blank, frozen face. The other was the sheer fear I felt when the publicist asked the question, “how are you with self-promotion?”
The question left a pit in my stomach. I quickly answered, “well, in the past year I’ve gotten better at it!” And that is the truth. I have gotten better at it as I learned a publisher will not even look at your manuscript unless you have some sort of platform built. That’s how this newsletter was born. However, the truth is, there is still something that feels scary and downright very wrong, even shameful about self-promotion.
The shame in being seen goes deep and is related to a dark place that says to hide away and not show your talent, gifts, or shine too much. Yet we all know that really, deep down inside we all need and wish for these exact things to be seen. Shame also says, don’t shine too much; don’t stand out too much; don’t succeed too much, be small. It’s an old feeling and it felt like an old place from childhood; one that used to make me close down, shut down, and hide away and stay small. That’s what shame does. It says there is something not okay with you; something not okay with what you are doing. The more I reflected on this the more I understood that shame has no place here.
I wrote this book, “Befriending Your Body: A Self-Compassionate Approach to Freeing Yourself from Disordered Eating” to share not only my own journey, but my research, my work with clients, and because I wish to help thousands free themselves from shame! How can I now allow shame to be any part of the promoting of this work?
I quickly understood that my intention behind “self-promotion” was really “heart-promotion.” It’s about the 21 brave women who participated in my research on self-compassion and how their stories helped me to understand the journey to freedom. It’s also about the following:
1) Understanding the difference between ego desires and heart desires
2) Letting yourself be guided by intention rather than goal
3) Letting go of hiding away and pretending to be small when you feel you have something large to share
4) Letting your gifts shine from the heart
5) Lastly, being a model of what can happen when we release shame and old stories that hold us back from our gifts
After all, nothing good happens toward yourself or anyone else when you allow shame to hold you back, down and away. Release shame to allow your gifts shine from the heart and share them with the world!