It's the feeling NO ONE wants to talk about. It's like a swear word. As soon as we start talking about it...crickets. We retreat into our caves. Shame...Ugh.
But here we are and if you want to know anything about me, it's that I love love love to talk about things that we don't love to talk about ;-). I'm the one at the party off in the corner talking with someone about vulnerability, insecurities, depression, suicide, etc. All the deep stuff.
That brings us back to the wonderful world of shame.
We all feel it, right? It's the little voice that says:
“You don’t deserve (happiness, success, healthy relationships) in your life.” (how could you think you do)
“You will never be good enough.” (not intelligent enough, not pretty enough, not good enough)
“Who do you think you are doing that amazing wonderful thing?” (you're not that amazing)
Isn't shame just wonderful? (::sense the sarcasm, right?::) I'm really putting a damper on this post, aren't I? lol
In all seriousness though, shame is a strong intense feeling. It's something all of us have and some of us may not even realize it. Brene Brown's book Daring Greatly discusses shame at great length (she's a woman after my own heart <3). For women, shame comes through with perfection tendencies - we experience it when there are expectations and judgment about: who we should be, what we should be, how we should be.
So you can understand how intense this can get and how deep this can go.
Here's the thing - I don't believe that shame is bad. Shame is not the enemy. We don't have to fight shame. We don't have to "make it go away" as we all desire. (And who wouldn't want it gone, right?) We can't make it go away. To be human is to have shame.
Shame is a teacher. We just have to replace it with something else. And what better to replace it with, as I do with everything, than love. Love is always the answer, right? (c'mon, you know it is!)
If shame says one thing, what can LOVE say in return? How can love react to shame?
Shame: "You never got that job you applied for. You will never get the career you want."
Love: "Thank you for pointing out my insecurity around my career. I didn't realize how important getting the job was for me. It doesn't mean there's something wrong, it may just mean it's not be the position for me. That's okay. I am learning about myself and what I'm looking for in a career. I will keep going."
Shame: "You f*ed up all the relationships you've had. You don't deserve a healthy one."
Love: "I am worthy and deserving of happiness in relationships. I know it, I believe it. I am willing to explore my role in issues and I will learn and grow from them. I don't know where my path will take me but with more self-awareness, I will be true to myself in all my relationships."
Shame: "You have so much anxiety about what people think. What's wrong with you?"
Love: "Just because I have anxiety doesn't mean there's something wrong. It just means I struggle with people's perceptions of me. I will develop more self-love and self-awareness into what I think of myself, not always focusing on what others think. I will develop and trust my intuition more."
Alas, the wonderful world of Shame ends with...Love. <3
Trusting your intuition