Feelings of shame are at epidemic proportions in this country, according to author and researcher Brene Brown. During her TED Talk “Listening to Shame" https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame,Brown defines shame as the feeling “I am a mistake.” Shame involves feelings of humiliation and badness about the self---“the swampland of the soul”.
The stories we tell ourselves like "we’re never good enough, pretty enough, successful enough" can lead to self destructive behaviors such as addictions, bullying and eating disorders to name a few. According to Brown, while shame may feel the same to both men and women, it’s actually organized by gender. Shame for a woman is about having to do it all perfectly, never letting anyone see you sweat – “unattainable expectations”- while for a man it’s about not appearing to be weak. Interestingly, women suffer from shame more intensely at the hands of other women!
Author and spiritual guide Caroline Myss writes: Humiliation robs us of our primal power of self-protection. It is a violation of the survival instinct, in that we feel we have failed to protect ourselves…”, “and the consequences of feeling vulnerable to personal humiliation are devastating.”
In this month’s Wisdom Circle, we explored how shame looks and feels to each of us and just how much it affects our daily lives. We examined how closely shame and fear are linked and focused on “empathy” as the panacea. The big take away from the Circle was in order to come out on the other side of shame, we must first "be in the feelings"- feel what gets stirred up and look the feelings in the eye- while being supported by a caring community!
Remember we each have a choice about how we want to feel—embrace your choices!
When self-remembering try to stay out of the intellect and the ego. Go back to the beginning of childhood and feel the simplicity, youth and freedom we had to create ourselves-physically and emotionally. Try to conjure up the memories of that joy!
Use the power of love always! Speak to your younger and present self with abundant love!
Use visualization and be your own spiritual Godparent!
Holding a higher vision of love will serve to raise the collective consciousness and heal!
Can you let go of your feelings of shame and humiliation? What works for you?