YO! Shame. Shame is some serious shit. Shame covers the wound that needs to be healed for wholeness, freedom of expression and affection.
We are plagued in our culture by shame and shaming. Shaming can be subtle or shockingly overt and it is toxic either way. And yes, shame is the ally of anger. If someone, ourselves included, is practicing shaming we know it’s an indicator to speak up, stand up, and intervene in a wise and effective way. How do we navigate that? Gently and with a firm hand.
What is shame? Let’s talk about it. Shame is believing you are inherently bad, because of … fill in the blank. Ilanya Vanzant teaches you are only as sick as your secrets. And what keeps our secrets hidden? Shame. Shame makes us sick.
Here’s how shame works:
- You have an experience.
- For whatever reason it gets dubbed as bad/wrong, and you feel (or you tell yourself) that you are also fundamentally bad/wrong.
- You keep knowledge of that experience as hidden, quiet, and unknown as best you can so as to not be perceived as bad/wrong.
The biggest problem with this strategy (which can be a gift too) is that we are not as good at compartmentalizing things as we think we are.
We try to keep one thing secret and it spreads: we can’t relax and let our guard down too much because we might let something bad slip out so we cut off our own limbs and pretend parts of our life or self don’t exist while trying to appear alright. The damaging effects are often slow and subtle, so much so that we don’t even notice them happening.
How do I know this? Because when you lift the blanket of shame, by revealing your secret, the initial wound begins to heal and then all the other networked restrictions slowly untangle. For me personally I watched this happen in myself over and over, and I have seen it with many others. It’s mind boggling how just one “little” thing revealed can begin to change everything.
The key to shame healing is?
Sharing your secrets.
Gah – I know it’s not comfortable. It is worth it. Because shame is the blanket hiding things, the healing is in the lifting and removing the secrecy, removing the blanket.
Stages of releasing shame:
- For healing to occur our shame needs real exposure, often signaled by an excruciating sensation and usually some fear.
- Next comes a profound sense of relief.
- This is typically followed by regret and the panic of, “Oh god I’ve shared too much.”
- This is followed by integration and unwinding of the false beliefs tied up with the story.
If this sounds really terrible it’s probably touching something. I have so many stories….
I did a two year personal study where I just told stories of all the things I never planned on talking about. Early childhood humping stories, walking-in on people stories, sexual violation stories, and more. I am freer for it.
It turns out, I am actually more trustworthy now then I was before… not less.
You are invited to bring all of your perfect imperfections to be seen and witnessed and supported. Most things we have shame about are just human stories. Nothing that needs to be done about them except letting them be seen and having someone say, “Yeah, that happened. Yup, I still love you.” Then, they see you, accept you, touch you, and say something like, “Yeah, me too, and we thought we were the only ones…”
Sometimes when we admit things, actions or amends need to be made. By owning or admitting something, sometimes it is proper to do something about it. Even then the good news is if you admit it you can make amends. You and anyone else involved has the potential to heal more because of it.
Shame is usually a component in festering wounds. If wounds don’t heal over time, it’s because there is an infection, a lie festering under the surface. Often that lie is rooted in being unlovable.
You are not unlovable.
You are SO lovable.
We all fuck up. We ALL fuck up. We all have secrets. Turns out we are all really human. We are all still lovable and forgivable. You are loved. You are to me. Are you to you?
BREATHE. This is a good time to hug yourself. I just gave myself one. :) 20 seconds :)
Just so you know, if you come to the Trusting Your Dark
The stories I mentioned were shared over the course of 2+ years. Literally. Often we have sets of stories or perspectives that are ready to be seen and heard at a particular time. Trusting yourself is about meeting what’s already there and what’s organically rising when given space and not forcing anything.
The workshop will help set you up so you know who you can share these things with in a safe and constructive way. Being witnessed is needed, but getting shamed for your shame story is not. We will talk about how to discern when, who and how to share. Brené Brown (the vulnerability researcher/expert) explains that there are 6 types of people who don’t deserve your shame story.
I am inviting you to join me at my next Trusting the Dark retreat. Together we will look into the heart of ourselves and get clear about what we’ve put in between ourselves and our beauty, power, and true life force.
If you are interested in sponsoring such a workshop, I can be contacted here.
I LOVE YOU MUCH!!!
You are beautiful.
Phew, that was a good round.
Here’s the whole post on negative self talk