Friday, April 4, 2014

Shame is OK

I have shame.
I have A LOT of shame.
I was raised in a home where shame was a teaching tool, and I daresay I'm not alone.  I daresay that's not uncommon.  I daresay my parents are amazing parents.  But there was a lot of shame.

In the past year, I've learned more about shame than I ever have before, so if you already know a Butt Load of Crap about The Shame (I can't even apologize for my Nacho reference.  My son is having a bromance with Nacho)... this post will be obvious and old-newsy.

The deal is simply this: I've been shaming myself for having shame, and I've been letting others trigger my shame as well.  It turns out I have a pattern of WALKING TOWARD things I feel shameful about:
how much I talk (I make jokes about it instead of speaking up when OTHERS make jokes about it)
how I don't exercise (I find myself at the mercy of Jillian Michaels, putting myself through hell I feel I deserve because... well, it's all very "Tina, you Fat Lard.")
how I have shame (I have established a pattern this last year of going TOWARD people and places who trigger my shame, hoping to somehow overcome it?  be bigger than it?  not let it beat me?)
how I struggle to keep a clean house (and yet, I pull open housekeeping magazines and linger in impeccably clean homes)

I've been operating under the delusion that shame is something I can baptize myself of: be rid and cleansed of.

But SHAME -and this is where truth and light came flooding in last night -is an EMOTION.

Just like anger, just like frustration, just like sadness come and sit themselves down, so does shame.  I have anger triggers, I know what I can do when it comes, and I know that to speak and live from a place of anger is unhealthy.
And so it is with fear.
And so it is with shame.
I have SHAME TRIGGERS.  I know what to do when they come, and I know that to speak and live from a place of shame is unhealthy.

So shame?  Shame is okay.  I learn from my shame.
And as my therapist says, "people without shame are generally unhealthy... we're talking about sociopaths."

Today is the day I stop shaming myself for having shame.
Today is the day I stop running toward my shame triggers.
Today is the day shame joins the ranks of anger, joy, sadness, frustration, excitement, and fear.

Shame is an emotion.
It isn't something I can remove from my being, and I'm grateful.  Shame helps me feel a much broader range of human emotion, and each time it creeps in and I DO act on it, I learn.
When I learn, I come closer to God.

I will be shameless in the same way I will be fearless: with shame and fear around me.
Because although they are around me, surrounding me, and popping up daily, God is on my side... He is my Guide.


  1. I love this post! I've been in the process of addressing shame myself . In fact I just talked to my counselor about it this morning. He had me link my current shame to some shameful situation in my childhood. Figure out the connection and then give myself some advice to myself as a child, that is from a reasonable and objective point of view. It was very insightful and healing. It is part of what he calls lifespan integration work. And yes! I just was reading last night about shame, and the article was saying that shame is the most damaging a EMOTION we have. It was just last night that I fully realized shame as an emotion!! But you're right, not all shame is bad. It does help us function as a motivator, for example. Anyway, thanks for the food for thought in your blog post, Friend!! Hope you have a great weekend!

    1. LOVE your thoughts! Isn't it crazy how much shame comes from childhood, and isn't something we chose? But it is something we spend the rest of our lives trying to identify and overcome.