Integral Life Coaching

Let’s be a survivor not a victim

Leave a comment


(719 words – 3 min read)

I finished Brené Brown’s book “Rising Strong” last night. It is simply about how to accept ourselves as who we are and appreciate our self-worth. The book explains how to deal constructively with failure and all the emotions created by failure. She describes a robust process to show step by step how to rise after falling. It is a never ending process. If we want to grow we have to move forward and explore new things. In this exploration we face unknowns and try to master them, but sometimes we fall down and then we need to get up to move forward again.  We do it over and over throughout our lives. This progress helps us feel fulfilled as humans, and builds stronger self-belief. Dealing with unknown challenges can be called failure if we fall, but it is a necessary part of life.

A lot of time when we fail, we face blame and judgment from others, mostly coming from their insecurities due to their own fear of failure.  When we are cornered by blame and judgment, we feel different emotions at the same time; sadness, fear, shame, anger, and perhaps many more. That is the time to start “rising strong”. It is time to take responsibility for our failure and constructively move forward without damaging our self-worth. That is when we become a survivor not a victim.

I happened to finish reading this book right about the time I experienced a failure at work. It hurt badly. It created all those negative emotions in me. I was very upset for a couple of days but then I made a decision to take this as an opportunity to practice believing in my self-worth and become stronger.

I am now reviewing all my positive affirmations every day.  I am working on it through reading and re-reading the process of “rising strong” from different teachers to expand my knowledge and lessen my ignorance. I am reaching out to supportive friends who can also remind me of my self-worth since I feel the pressure of being judged. It is hard for me to see my self-worth but I am trying to do my best.

To practice this on a deeper level, I decided to edit a part of my memoir about a time when I felt a huge amount of shame in my life. I felt shame for a long time because I accepted my ex-husband’s marriage proposal under the condition of leaving my daughter with my parents for an unknown period of time. The decision was that she would stay with my parents until I could have her with me in the US. That would be IF we would ever emigrate from Iran to the US, which was not confirmed back then. I knew that would take a long time. I lied to myself that he would change his mind. He said when he would have his own biological child and feel like a parent, he would be able to accept my daughter.

I fooled myself with those words. The relationship started wrong and only got worse. I was in denial and did not realize I was carrying this destructive shame with me all along. The practice of writing this down helped me explain that part of the story to myself and remind me of the circumstances I was under. Writing it helped me remember the process of coming out of that pressure and liberating myself from all those feelings during that time. I became more compassionate to myself, feeling more inner peace.

Reading “Rising Strong” helped me to do a more careful analysis of the experience last week at work as well as the old shame I carried because of the wrong decision I made in my life. Brené’s words helped me be able to put everything related to my story in perspective to see other variables that influenced this equation.  When you see beyond the black and white picture of each event with a more systematic approach, you get to see a lot more inputs and their relationships. That helps us be able to be less judgmental about the outcome and more compassionate to ourselves. Let’s move forward!

Here there is a link to Brené Brown’s TED talks. Her lectures are scientific, based on her years of vulnerability research.

Celebrate life!


Editing Credit: M. Curtis

Photo Credit:

Author: Shabnam

Shabnam Curtis was born and raised in Tehran, experiencing the Iranian Revolution of 1979 firsthand. In 2004 she immigrated to the United States, where she now works as a passionate life coach and a writer. Shabnam is a certified Integral Coach with New Ventures West and International Coaching Federation. She offers one-on-one coaching sessions as well as workshops for groups. Since September of 2021, she also has been the life coach in residence for Dimension Science Bridges Non-profit organization.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s