I spent decades of my life feeling shame for things I had no control over… I never measured up to what I was taught was the right way to live. I was miserable until I realized there was nothing wrong with me… my belief system was flawed… not me!
At some early point in our lives, most of us absorbed this false belief that causes the feeling of shame. As a result of not feeling seen, loved, valued and understood, we developed the belief that we were not being loved because there was something wrong with us. While some children were told outright that they were not okay… that they were stupid, bad or undeserving … other children concluded that there was something wrong with them by the way they were being treated.
It gives us a feeling of control over other people’s feelings and behavior. As long as we believe that we are the cause of others rejecting behavior, then we can believe that there is something we can do about it. It gives us a sense of power to believe that others are rejecting us, or behaving in unloving ways, because of our inadequacy. If it is our fault then maybe we can do something about it by changing ourselves, by doing things “right.” We hang on to the belief that our inadequacy is causing others behavior because we don’t want to accept others free will to feel and behave however they want. We don’t want to accept our helplessness over others feelings and behavior.
As bad as shame feels, many people prefer it to the feelings that shame may be covering up: loneliness, heartbreak, grief, sadness, sorrow or helplessness over others. Just as anger may be a cover-up for these difficult feelings, so is the shame. Shame is totally different than loneliness or heartbreak or helplessness over others.
Shame is a feeling that we are causing by our false beliefs, but loneliness, heartbreak, grief, sadness, sorrow or helplessness over others are existential feelings… feelings that are a natural result of life. We feel heartbreak and grief over losing someone we love. We feel loneliness when we want to connect with someone or play with someone, and there is no one around or no one open to connection, love or play. Many people would rather feel an awful feeling that they are causing, than feel the authentic painful feelings of life.
You can heal your shame when:
You are willing to accept that others feelings and behavior have nothing to do with you… When you accept that others have free will to be open or closed, loving or unloving… that you are not the cause of their feelings and behavior, and you no longer take others behavior personally – you will have no need to control it. When you let go of your need to control others, and instead move into compassion for yourself and others, you will let go of your false beliefs about yourself that cause the feeling of shame.
Just be honest with yourself about yourself… Be willing to accept what you feel deep in your heart… that is the authentic you! Covering them up with anger or shame will destroy you… stop doing it! When you learn to nurture yourself by being present with caring and compassion for your own feelings, you will no longer have a need to protect against these feelings with blame or shame.
I believe control and shame are intricately tied together. When you give up your attachment to control, and instead choose compassion toward yourself and others, you will find your shame disappearing. I promise you will have nothing to lose by releasing the things that are ruining your life.