Shame is a soul-eating emotion.C. G. Jung
There’s one emotion in the human experience that feels downright icky. Nothing else leaves us wanting to shrivel up, more than shame.
We’ve all felt it at some point in time or another: feeling like there was something wrong with us, like there is some sort of mis-wiring inside.
This leads to feelings of not being good enough, never measuring up, not deserving enough of all the good stuff we see John to the left and Mary to the right receiving.
Shame is crippling. When we take a look around at all the “wrong” in the world, it all stems from shame. A sense of not being enough, being less than, not deserving, not belonging… the list goes on.
There’s a difference between guilt and shame, however.
We shouldn’t mistake the two: guilt motivates us to share,
while shame motivates us to hide.
What does this mean? It means when we do something (an action) that we regret, we want to make it right. We want to share what we did wrong, and to make amends. but when we feel like a failure, something deserving of regret (the essence, what we’re made of), we want to hide.
Think about the last time you felt guilty about something. Perhaps forgetting your friend’s birthday – you’d want to make it better.
Now, think about the last time you felt shame about something. Maybe you think your arms are too small – you go to great lengths to hide your arms, don’t you?
Guilt is helpful because it shows us where we need to change course to do better.
But so is shame. It’s helpful because it shows us the exact things we need to focus our attention on be-ing.
The Universe has a wicked sense of humor – it gives us “bad” emotions to tell us where we can change our behaviors. It gives us “bad” experiences to show us how strong we really are beneath it all.
It also gives us yucky feelings to teach us how to self-love. Shame is the Universe’s way of having you earn self-love. It’s what leads to love, healing, and expansion.
So, how do we go about using shame to our benefit? First, figure out if you have shame. Then, find the right antidote to curing shame.
How do you know if you feel shame?
You get angry a lot.
You try and escape a lot.
You avoid being noticed a lot.
Cure for shame.
What causes shame: the “shoulds,” the comparisons, and ego-bent expectations that limit our self-expression.
Antidote for shame: evolved emotional experiences.
What are evolved emotional experiences?
Evolved emotional experiences are what I like to call life experiences that change low-frequency emotions like anger, shame, doubt, frustrations, etc… to one of high-frequency emotions like self-love. Every time you choose to love yourself through an experience, you are slowly transmuting shame to love, growth, acceptance.
Find and capture daily experiences of choosing yourself. Then, seek and pursue daily experiences of having others show you love.
When you create a space and carry with you the energy of gratitude and experience unconditional acceptance consistently, you slowly transform shame to love, hope, and light.
During one of my classes, I had a student share with me,
“Yesterday, I got so fed up with not having a car and having to walk to the train station to go home after one of your classes. My knees were killing me. As I was venting to my friend about my knees, he said, ‘God, I wish I had knees that could feel pain.’ You see, he’s paraplegic. And that’s when my lightbulb went off.”Male Student, Mental Fitness for Transitions
It’s as simple as changing,
“God, I hate my f*cking yard,” to
“Thank god I have a front door.”
Live with intention. Lead with inspiration.