Lately, I’ve been facing hidden shame in some close relationships that stems from both healthy guilt and shame used as a control mechanism that was passed down from one generation to the next through the use of religion. What I am learning is that some levels of guilt are actually good for us. Guilt is a normal part of being pro-social and it keeps us in line in our tribe. Guilt is known as our consciousness and normal levels of it keep us honest. Guilt is caused by actions, whereas shame is instilled in us by our perceived messages that cause us to feel like we are bad at our core. In my paintings as I describe on my art site at http://www.hleighart.wordpress.com, I talk about the feelings I get in my stomach when I paint that are super uncomfortable and it hurts me to paint most times; I guess my shame comes out in my paintings is what I am learning. Personally I believe the universe is our mirror and shows us where we need to grow through each other and in our community. When I take a look from above and try to see situations that I struggle with from a bigger picture, I feel an ease and trust that everything will work out. When I am in the situation, I not only feel my shame, but I also experience intense anxiety that is crippling at times. Working with shame to get to a place of confidence and unconditional love helps me look at the messages that were produced by shame through other people and helps me forgive the people that projected their own shame onto me. It’s a painful process, but it is worth it. Knowing that these feelings have a function of survival, takes away their intensity and allows me to see shame for what it is and to know that I am lovable, worth the effort, am valuable, and I have a valid place in my community. Today I am thankful for all of the lessons, hard and soft, that help me get to the final destination. If shame is something that you struggle with, there are many therapists that can help you work with it. I do not work with this as a life coach but most certainly will work with your goals after you work through shame with your therapist. For myself, my shame has hijacked my progress of becoming successful which is why I am writing about it here.
In what ways does shame show up for you? How do you work with it so it doesn’t get in your way of setting goals and making progress? Who are your key people in your life that you hold as accountability partners? How will you succeed on your path if you this is something you struggle with?
Peace on your journey! I hope you find the help that you deserve.