In my fourth book of the year (I know I haven’t shared book 3 review yet, but it’s coming soon), there is a chapter on shame. While the author talks about some specific points in shame dealing with the topic of their book, they also cover some bigger aspects,which hit home for me. I know I have posted about my bodily shame, that I have experienced over the years, but to be honest my shame goes much deeper than that.
Shame is a painful thought or experience that leads us to believe that we are unworthy or do not belong. It hurts and it is isolating. For years I was ashamed of my own actions and instead of reaching for help or talking about it, I lied, I disobeyed my parents, I pulled away from friends and family members…”because they didn’t get it and were condemning me.” As I have gotten older, though, I did start reaching out and telling the truth, which healed many relationships.
Still I have carried with me the shame. The shame of being taken in by a man, the shame of lying to my family, the shame of disliking and avoiding my loved ones when I found a good man and wouldn’t allow them to really know him, the shame of including that good man in my lies because I couldn’t face how negatively I held myself. My list goes on. As I have said I have made reconciliations, but I hadn’t faced the most important one yet… I hadn’t reconciled with myself. I hadn’t fully admitted how far I had seen myself fall and how unworthy of friendship and love I felt.
The woman I am today is a long way from the girl who was unsuspectingly groomed by a man or who lied to try and keep up a “good” persona. I have so much life experience, good bad or indifferent, I have lived and grown. I have to acknowledge where I was wrong and where it was my fault, so I can see the good and be free. In admitting my self-imposed worthlessness I am reaching out and saying I am more than this, which frees the heart to feel the love of God.
When removing the glasses of self judgement you see that people you have felt despised you were caring enough to call your attention to something within yourself that you weren’t ready to face and now, with their help, you can. How many arguments could have been avoided? How many events could have been attended? How many friends could have been made, if instead of hiding in shame, if we admit to our self-damning thoughts?
I am not saying that recognition of shame will heal all relationships or that it is the cause of all arguments, but it is something that our culture likes to sweep under the rug. I mean honestly, how many conversations have you really had about shame you have felt? I’m guessing not many. But the best way to battle shame and insecurities is to reach out and talk about it.
So what are your interior struggles today? If you need to talk I am here (Facebook, e-mail, text) to listen.
*In writing this post I did not mean that I have not felt love from my friends and family, I had not fully loved myself or forgiven myself for my actions. That is the shame I am talking about. It is good to talk about and try to work through issues with others and failed relationships, but my focus in this post is learning to recognize, admit and overcome the sharp pains that come from self judgement. Thank you to everyone who reads my blog and who shares in my life, I do indeed know that you love me as I hope you know I love you and am so grateful to have you as my friend.