It’s commonly thought that a person has to overcome shame in order to be free from it, but it’s not something that needs to be overpowered, per se.
This is because it was actually through the misuse of power that shame was even cast upon you and accepted in the first place. Shame is a gradual “over-shadowing” of our personal power so we can’t truly address it by overcoming it in the traditional sense. You’ll likely just shut down.
Rather, shame needs to be gently loved. Shame needs to be told, “Listen up, there is nothing wrong with you; keep doing whatever makes you happy.” Shame needs to hear, “Don’t listen to them; you know what’s right for you.” It doesn’t need to hear anything that brings you down or makes you feel less than whole and complete as you are.
To give love to the shame within you, understand it, see what there is to learn from it, see how you can or have used it to become a better person, and thank it for the lessons and blessings it brought into your life. When you begin to see how shame played a valuable role in your journey, you will become more aware of naturally releasing it, rather than overcoming it. By seeing the truth, you are shining a light on your perception and dissolving the darkness and illusions of shame, as easily as shining a flashlight into a dark room.
Releasing Shame from Others:
You can quickly release any shame that has been cast upon you by simply recognizing where it came from – or at least that it came from outside yourself. When you know in your heart that shameful thought isn’t true for you, you can send it back to the source with gratitude, recognizing that those words reflect the sender’s inner world, not your inner world.
People don’t realize the shameful and hurtful words they project onto others are showing everyone how negatively they think of and speak to themselves. When you really listen to what the other person is most critical or shameful about toward you, you will be able to hear how they really feel about themselves and even possibly how their parents or caretakers spoke to them as children.
When you look at the situation from this perspective, it’s easier to have compassion for them and to send them love, because it’s clear they need more love, not less. With practice and daily self-empowerment, you can completely transcend the shame of others, merely recognizing it, without actually taking it in and feeling or experiencing it. You’ll be able to recognize it as their feelings about themselves that they are ignoring, which has nothing to do with you. You just happen to trigger an unhealed “wound” within them, another reason to send them love.
Release Shame You Put Upon Yourself:
This might appear a little harder to do because you are the source, at least the source that keeps perpetuating the pattern. This takes honesty and a willingness to move through the process of releasing self-imposed shame. Shame is a learned behavior and much of it gets “implanted” as we observe our world as children. After time and repetition, we start projecting it upon ourselves in a negative internal feedback loop.
The First Step is Forgiveness:
First off, forgive yourself for continuing to make yourself feel ashamed based on past experiences. You didn’t know any different at the time, but you may now, and now is all that matters. NOW you can move forward choosing differently.
When you can recognize that the original source was really outside yourself and that you were only acting as the ongoing source, you can take back the power you spent on shaming yourself and direct it towards empowering yourself. See the past as a learning experience of how not to do things and embark on a new beginning with a new awareness. Most importantly, be easy on yourself.
Take ownership of where you are in life, even if you don’t like it – especially if you don’t like it. Feeling shameful for where your decisions have led you in life is a toxic use of your energy. It gives more power to the victim by trying to control the outer experience by making you feel ashamed.
A better use is to simply honor where you are in life and how you show up. Rather than giving power to the inner victim, you can teach it through your courageous actions, how to move forward trusting that you are being guided by a power greater than you. You can teach the inner victim how to be strong, empowered, and proud of who you are and the journey you have traveled.
Creating boundaries for yourself is the best place to start. Make it known to yourself and others what your boundaries are. Use anger as your guide if you’re still learning what they are. When you feel anger of any degree pop up, that is the alarm that a boundary has been crossed. Start paying attention to the alarms and tweak your boundaries until you feel safe and respected. This might be difficult at first because you may have been shamed for asserting your boundaries in the past, but remember, you are in control and choosing differently now.
Get to know yourself, your strengths, your weakness, and your personal expression so well that you create an unwavering center that no one can shake. As you get to know all the great stuff about yourself, that maybe you have forgotten about, you can be in gratitude for yourself, making it possible for others to be grateful for you too.
Be gentle and loving with yourself and have compassion along your learning journey. There’s nothing you need to feel ashamed about. You are a one-of-a-kind human being – only ONE of you. Make you someone who fills your heart with joy, and it will overflow to others!
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*Originally published on April 7, 2019
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