Its a word that we FEEL all too often. The feeling that we ARE bad or we DID something bad. And in that thought we want to hide because we feel shame. Shame arises when we have not met an external expectation. Guilt is something felt when an internal expectation has not been met. Some of the most common areas I see shame pop up:
- Parenting - we believe we must do certain things in order to be a "good" parent. Quite honestly, we sometimes miss the mark. But instead of seeing it as learning and growth, we are embarrassed and feel shame. We watch what other parents are doing and worry what they think about how we handled a situation on the playground or what we fed our kid at the restaurant.
- Growing up - The hallmark of an adult is to form their own identity and values. They may choose to keep or let go of beliefs and ways of doing things from their childhood. This is a GOOD thing. But, we feel shame because it can feel like an complete rejection of our parents or whomever raised us. Just because something worked for them, doesn't mean it has to work for you. We hide our changes when we are around our families and fear judgment.
- Faith - Faith can be used to help you or to beat you up. You get to choose. When we feel shame we can often go to the idea that God is ashamed of us. We throw out our beliefs about grace, unconditional love, and forgiveness and wallow in the feelings of shame. Shame gets us stuck here. Never allowing us to move forward and or feel freedom.
Sure, there are a lot of areas that we feel shame. I wanted to touch on what I think is most common. I would love to hear what you think. Shame doesn't serve us normally. It is cue that we need more self compassion and understanding. It is an opportunity for being responsible for our lives. If you don't seize that opportunity our self esteem drops, we devalue ourselves and we feel trapped in a cycle of "never good enough."
Pick up your head and start putting one foot in front of the other. All is not lost. You can learn from mistakes. You can see the silver lining. There is hope. Love even the icky parts of yourself - it's like giving a wound time to breathe and heal.