"Criticism in childhood has given me a life-long inner feeling of shame"
Last night when I was meditating, I had an understanding that I carry a tremendous amount of shame with me. Because I have this shame, I am afraid of exposure. Because I am afraid of exposure I am afraid to succeed because of the bright light that would shine on me which would bring out what I consider deep flaws. I don't know what I am ashamed about but I hope to figure that out soon. Actually, I am remembering something. As a child I was told I was inadequate by the two women in the family who are infertile. They repeated it so much, picking out my flaws that I felt self-conscious even about answering questions in interviews for the newspapers after I won. I wondered what was wrong with me to make them criticize me so much. I felt like a victim of their hatred and jealousy but I didn't realize they were in my life to make me confront my own issues.
Sounds as if some light is shining in for you, helping you to see what it is that you need to see and understand. Shame may be an issue in your family that needs to be healed. All you can do is heal it within yourself. There is nothing to be ashamed of - and as we become honest with ourselves, and love ourselves for ALL that we are - as we understand that those "flaws" we are so afraid to face or to let anyone see are actually gifts to us - then we heal. Those so called flaws are only places waiting for more understanding, more growth on our part, so that they can emerge into the light. They are our teachers, because they make us confront where we still need to grow in love and understanding, and they point the way. So, when you embrace them, instead of hiding from them, they teach you a huge amount, and turn into wisdom and light.
I think you also need to explore whether or not you carried the belief, as I mentioned, that you were only loved for what you could do. That belief needs to be released, and a new belief put in its place. If your family carries a lot of shame, then I can see that they may have looked to your success as an way to feel better about themselves. Or worse, as you mentioned about the 2 women in your family who felt so ashamed of themselves that they projected that anger and jealousy off onto you instead of facing it and healing it in themselves. But seeing that as a child must have definitely imprinted deeply upon you, and frightened you, and made you feel insecure, vulnerable, and threatened, and given you the belief that others would resent you for your success. I think that's a belief that you can let go of.
When you can feel compassion for them, then you will be generating love from within yourself, and that love can then be offered to yourself, as well. Then you will realize that you are not dependent upon others to feel good about yourself, because you can love yourself, without judgment, for being who you are. Then a lot will heal for you. If the 2 women in your family had done that, they would have healed as well. We ALL come into this life to learn and grow. That's nothing to be ashamed about - it's a great opportunity actually. Should a 3 year old child feel ashamed for being 3, because he or she is not yet 12 years old? No. We come here to grow and learn as we go. And what is so amazing is that when we learn and grow, what we remember is that we were always already perfect and whole. We had just forgotten it temporarily. So we come full circle, and realize that there's only ourselves to return to - and that Self is pure Love.