Even reading the word can create a shift in emotion.
I’ve redefined how I look at shame over the years. Shame seems to be everywhere. Shame is an effective way to get people to conform and follow their rules.
In my upbringing, it seemed to be everywhere. Whether it was intentional or not, that’s how I interpreted it. That in order to get to Heaven, I must do certain steps and if I failed to do those steps, or worse, did something against the rules, then the shame set in because I was not worthy of God’s love, which translates into not being worthy of my own love either. I was left feeling unlovable and unworthy roughly 83% of the time.
Life became a flow chart with my ticket to Heaven and God’s love on one end and burning in hell for eternity on the other. In the middle was a purgatory—a series of choices that led separate directions. Life was full of fear and shame.
As I have redefined my relationship with God and myself, I’ve had to redefine my relationship with shame. That led me to look at the emotion as awful. I never wanted to feel it. When I did, I would blame my upbringing for having it be my go-to emotion.
As I live, I get to continue to collect more knowledge and more life experiences to help shift and refine the way I see the world and therefore show up in it.
What I’ve learned is that I can’t reject the feeling of shame anymore than I can reject the feeling of love. Rejecting one rejects the other. Denying one, denies the other. It once again brings me back to the work of acceptance.
Shame is not evil. It’s an emotion and emotions are indications or gauges we get to use to determine how aligned we are to our True Self or God (Time out for side conversation: God can be a scary word for many because it can be emotionally charged and it’s one word used for a variety of different ideas. You get to decide what your higher power looks like IF you even believe in one. Time in...) No matter your beliefs, what is universal is the flow of love that goes through us all and reside inside us. More accurately, we are love.
Everything is energy including our emotions. Many experts measure shame as the lowest level emotion meaning it vibrates at such a low level that if we were to stay in a state of feeling shame, it would negatively impact our whole being. We’d be more prone to illnesses, physical and emotional. Our immune system would literally deteriorate. So shame would be a block to the flow of love (one of the highest vibrational energies that are ever-present for us to be in).
When we feel shame, it is a sign that we are out of alignment. We must be thinking or feeling something that cuts us off from love. Feeling shame is a call to return to love. That may mean changing our behavior, thoughts, or possibly even witnessing the shame without judgment to understand it and allow it to pass.
This can be easier said than done though because there are many very human factors that can get in the way. If we are truly in touch with our inner being of love, feeling shame is the strongest indication that we have thought or done something that is completely against our Higher Self or God. Shame is the indication and invitation to return to love.
However, many are not in touch with their inner being. They are asleep and look to the external world as their gauge of how well they are doing in life. The feelings of shame can be absorbed by others who are shaming them for not acting in a way they wanted them to.
This is how I was growing up. If I broke a rule, I believed I was cut off from God/Love and so I was. It wasn’t that my action caused it, it was that I believed I wasn’t deserving and it was that belief that I wasn't worthy that cut me off.
Some fellow humans are out of touch with their inner essence and can consistently create harm and do hurtful things to others without feeling guilty or shame. They are cut off from feeling negative emotions because they are unwilling (or unable) to connect with their True Self. Swimming upstream against the flow of love is what they are used to.
When we fight something, we give it power. Think about siblings who know how to trigger one another. What do parents tend to suggest to the one getting picked on? Ignore the other and they’ll stop. Once the sibling fights and yells in an attempt to make it stop, the instigator is reinforced. The instigator is the child with the power, not the one who is yelling to “Stop it!”. Fighting it brings a false sense of control and power.
The same is true with our thoughts and emotions. If we fight them, we feed them. Instead of running from them or fighting, accept them. Lean into them. Explore them. Welcome shame in and watch how it dissolves.
Have you ever stared or repeated a word so many times that it suddenly loses it’s meaning? (Am I the only weirdo who does stuff like that?) It’s like that. The more you intentionally turn your attention without judgment to it, it no longer remains what it once was.
Don’t beat yourself up for feeling it. You are human. You will feel negative emotions from time to time. Learn to accept that and move through it and you will have less of it in your life. Have a conversation with it. “Hello darkness, my old friend I've come to talk with you again.” What are you here to teach me?
Having a neutral meditative mind gives you the power back. In that moment, it allows shame to be your friend who has a message for you.
It is a Practice…
Breathing in, I am aware of the feeling of shame.
Breathing out, I understand it has a message.
Breathing in, I can see it’s telling me I’m not in alignment with God/Love
Breathing out, I evaluate with curiosity where I have become out of alignment.
Breathing in, I accept that I feel shame.
Breathing out, I learn the message the emotion was sent to teach.
Breathing in, I want to realign with the flow of love.
Breathing out, I release my feelings of shame.
Breathing in, I flow with love.
Breathing out, I release all my blocks to love.
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