Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Share whatever it is you're ashamed about. You may think you can hide your shame by not talking about it, but in reality, it's your shame that's hiding you.

--Adam Appleson

Lately the issue of shame has come up with various friends and clients.  Few have been willing to actually come clean and tell me what it is that has them feeling ashamed, but I can tell it is there just the same, dragging them down into the abyss of fear.  WHAT IF SOMEONE FINDS OUT WHAT I HAVE DONE?  WHAT IF THEY SEE HOW BAD I REALLY AM? 

We have all done things we regret.  It is part of being human.  Shame, however, goes deeper than regret.  Regret says that we have learned something and will do our best to avoid those circumstances again.  But shame threatens to envelop us, to consume us altogether.  It is, in general, a devastating emotion that humans will do just about anything to avoid.  I liken shame to feeling as if one is drowning, with no hope of a life preserver.

I am here today to tell you that the condemnation and fear you feel from your shame need not hold you in its grip one more minute.  Today is the day YOU can set yourself free from shame.  It has no place in your life, I don't care what you have done.  It is a worthless emotion that has taken the lives of far too many good people.
Shame often stems from a childhood where the parents have been either rigidly moralistic, or unable to own their own wrongdoings.  These parents then project their issues onto the innocent child: YOU.  The child takes on the emotional responsibility for the parents at this point. This leads some kids to become super good and perfectionistic, while leading other kids to fight for visibility by carrying the "badness" or shame of their parents out into the open.  They feel that they are otherwise not visible to their parents, and act out in order to gain their attention.  The parents then negatively reinforce the behavior through shameful punishment or words, and the child adds more reinforced, bad behaviors to form an identity:  The Black Sheep.  

The shame that you carry does not serve you.  At one time it served someone else, someone who had authority over you, and who had not dealt with their own issues.  They no longer hold that authority, because you are now a fully grown, mature, independent being.  You are no longer a confused, scared child desperate to gain approval.  You are a loving, compassionate being who can view those former authority figures with pity.  There is no need for anger or disdain; those do not serve you, either.  Let forgiveness and compassion be your best friends and constant companions.  Forgive others, and forgive yourself.

Picture a very young child all alone on a stage.  Would you stand there and yell at a child of 3 or 4 years old, telling her she was stupid and never did anything right, and maybe even hit her a few times just to make your point?  Of course not!  If you did, that child would either end up completely docile and hurting in a corner, or tearing around like a bat out of hell destroying all they could get their little hands on.  Instead, you would tell her how much you love her; how much you care; how very bright and good and clever and sweet she is; that you love the way she does things, and that it is okay for her to make mistakes.

Each of us has that 3-year-old child within us, and we spend most of our time yelling at that poor kid.  This is why our lives don't work.  We continue acting out the script that was written for us when we had no control.  Well I am telling you that now you DO have control over your life.  Refuse to live in shame any longer.  Refuse to behave as one who is ashamed.  LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO GROW UP,  dear one.  Take responsibility and own what is truly yours - and let the rest go.  Forgiveness is the path.

"We are all here to transcend our early limitations, whatever they were.  We're here to recognize our own magnificence and divinity no matter what they told us."  ~ Louise Hay

Spiritual Mind Treatment:
God is LOVE. I am a child of the infinite source, and my consciousness soars. I am a blessing unfolding. I am free from all shame and judgment; I willingly release the past, and live my life in right action.  God is at work in my life. My life is balanced and healthy, and I am grateful.  I turn it over to the infinite law, which is even now unfolding.  I let it be, and so it is.

*Thank you to my beloved Louise Hay for her beautiful insights, and also to Andrea Mathews, L.P.C.