How often have we let shame get in the way of living the life we want to have? How often have we let it limit us, hinder us, and diminish us? We think our shame is a way to protect us from being hurt, from being rejected, from allowing others to see who we really are, because we believe we are not good enough. All of this thinking is false. Shame isn’t real. We can make it real by believing in it, by buying into it, but it’s no more real than The Boogeyman, or whatever else we hid from as a child. We give it life by feeding into it’s energy. We give it permission to be active in our lives. We let it in by and let it grow by not talking about it, not sharing with others, and believing it’s lies.
Shame can manifest from many places. Childhood trauma, addiction issues, or even just the failure in something you place importance and value in. Once we have let shame in we typically engage in a series of behaviors as a result of feeling shame, we try to cover up our perceived flaws by overcompensating, by blaming and shaming others, by perfectionism, by lying, or by isolating thinking we don’t deserve or are not good enough to engage with others. Shame has a ripple effect, it’s not just our own stinking thinking that disrupts our lives, but it ripples out to all relationships we have affecting us personally and professionally. Shame holds us back from connecting, from sharing, from allowing us to be our best selves and from celebrating that. Shame steals our light and causes us to choose self-destructive behaviors to reaffirm shame’s negative voice that you are less-than and not good enough.
But really, shame doesn’t exist. Not unless we let it. When you think about it, you can’t touch shame, smell shame, taste shame, it’s not really there, so why do we give it so much power? Why do we have so much fear around it, when, only we can give it the power to hurt us? Why would we turn our power over to something that, when we let it, becomes so strong it can manifest itself physically in our lives? Many of us, while in shame, will feel flush, dizzy, have tunnel vision, have an inability to focus, hear loud noises in our ears, feel a tightness in our chest, have shallow breath, or not be able to make eye contact. When we’re experiencing this level of shame, we have lost control. We have completely given into it. So, how do we overcome the shame we feel and allow ourselves to be who we are meant to be, flaws, and all, and not only be that person, but be proud of who we are?
First, shame is a feeling and feelings are not facts. As I say all the time, what are the facts? What do we know to be true? If the answers start with “I feel,” that’s shame talking, not what is fact. Second, shame can’t thrive when we talk about it, when we share how we’re feeling with others, it diminishes it’s power. When we talk about our truth it brings in the light, shame can only survive in the darkness. Also, when we share, we realize that shame is not a unique feeling to just you, we all can relate, and when we feel a sense of connection of our common experiences shame starts to die and our relationships get stronger, and we feel a bigger bond to those around us, we realize that we are all the same, and that really, there is nothing to be ashamed of, we all make mistakes, we all fall, we all have lessons in life we need to learn, we shouldn’t feel shame over not getting something right the first time, or at all, because our path and our journey is on it’s own timeline, not someone else’s.
We all feel shame from time to time, but when we live as our authentic selves, when we share our feelings and connect with others, shame goes and hides. We have the power to stop shame in it’s tracks by not apologizing for who we are and who and what we love. Things may not look the way we think they should, but they look the way they are supposed to look, it’s up to us to find the good within that place, and to change those things we can that we feel we can do better. Tell shame to hit the curb, it has no place in your life SLAYER, practice self-love and acceptance and allow yourself to make mistakes, there is no shame in that.
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you feel a sense of shame about yourself? Are there certain events or incidents that you carry around as badges of your shame? What are they? Have you ever told anyone about them? Why not? What do you think will happen if you do? What do you think is happening because you don’t? When you think about your shame, is it based in reality? Or is it based on your own perception of how think it should have looked or should look? Is it based on what others think it should look like? All that matters is that you live in your truth, through the highs and lows, just be you, no one gets it right all the time, it’s part of our journey and part of this path, shed your shame and shine bright, celebrate everything that is you, and take your power back over shame.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you