* This is an older post that I had published elsewhere. I’ve revamped it here so it’s more incisive and goes deeper. Hope this version serves you even better.
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It is a lonely place.
It keeps you in hiding.
And though it gives you an illusion of safety, it is the ultimate excuse to not set things right. It keeps you from the world. And from yourself.
Shame keeps you safe from the discomfort of confronting.
It’s scared to shreds of vulnerability.
It craves closure but is terrified of the required exposure, so it keeps your cycles open and your energy unavailable.
Shame’s default is to avoid. When confronted it fights back, sticks its head in the ground, or stares blankly like a deer in a train’s headlights.
Shut down & shot down.
Fight, flight, freeze.
Shame = Debt
As long as we’re in shame, we believe we are endebted to them against whom we have sinned, and that we do not deserve anything good from them. Thus, we cajole and patronize our victim – or avoid them altogether.
Turn it into responsibility. That is its flip side, its true Purpose. Shame is there to point your attention to what you’ve done or what you think you are that is in conflict with your values. No more, no less.
Stop and read that again.
Shame is merely responsibility’s dark side. It is the disempowered facet of knowing something is there for you to do. There’s that thing you must face, and there’s that feeling that you’re not ________ enough for it. The resulting humiliation helps you to see what you must heal in yourself, and in which areas of your life you must set things right.
Acceptance = Emancipation
Admitting, at least to ourselves, that we’ve screwed up begins to release the weight. It is then that we can take back the reins of the situation (responsibility), clear up misunderstandings, and bring flow back to the moment – and the relationship.
Or, you may find after your reflection that what seemed to be “wrong” with you was merely misjudgment – whether by yourself or someone else (whom you initially believed). So you may come to understand that there was nothing to be ashamed of to begin with – and are thus released just the same.
There is no light without shadow. Accept yourself fully. The good, the bad, and especially the ugly. Your power will be held hostage by that last one unless and until you accept it as yours.
So face it. Own it. Do something about it.
That’s the antidote to shame.
And the road to empowerment by responsibility.
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