18 May When Did Shame Get Put in Charge?
Shame has it’s sneaky insidious fingers everywhere in our life, permeating so much of our inner voice; all those secret fears and negative self-judgements.
“I’m not thin enough”
“I’m not fit enough”
“I’m not desirable enough”
“My marriage isn’t good enough”
“I’m not a good enough parent”
“I don’t have a good enough [insert from the following – house, garden, job, car, income, education]”
Sometimes Shame is general, or sometimes it’s very specific in the things it tries to get us to hide:
“I have stretch marks”
“I can’t spell very well”
“I go red when people talk to me”
“I don’t understand the joke”
But mostly Shame just likes to accusingly underline that “I’m not perfect”.
I could go on but I’m sure you get the picture, and possibly could add a good few more!
It’s the Shame that we don’t measure up, that we’re not all we could or should be, that others are better, and if we let it, it can just eat away our lives and happiness. We feed our Shame with comparisons – the voyeurism that social media and television allow mean we continually judge our ‘insides’, with the ‘outsides’ of others; bit by bit, never taken as a whole.
The Shame eats away our true sense of self, until we no longer see or value our strengths, values, contributions and true worth. We become blind to what we bring to others and the beauty of our integrated, whole being – the unique wonderfulness that every one of us has.
It’s our own secret Shame that can have us delighting in the imperfections of others, that leads to intolerance and cruelty. Our Shame grows and thrives on the secrecy and silence we hide it in – a monster growing in the darkness of our imagination and thinking until it’s so distorted, so disproportional we live our lives in continual anxiety and fear.
But Shame shrivels and shrinks when we shine the light and warmth of our compassion on it; when we allow ourselves to see the balanced truth and stand for who we really are.
When we can just accept the reality of this present moment and know “I am enough”, the release and relief is profound.
To accept this reality does not mean we ‘give up’ and resign ourselves for ever more to remain the same. No, it’s when we accept with compassion the reality of now, that we open the door to meaningful change, drawing us forward with positive desire, not ever running from our fears.
Don’t let Shame be in charge of your life – you deserve so much more.
P.S. If you haven’t already, check out Brene Brown’s fabulous TED talks on vulnerability and shame – she speaks such a human truth, it’s no wonder they went viral!