Healing Shame as a path to Success
Shame is not a very popular topic, in fact, it is probably the least popular of all topics that could be discussed in a blog, book or forum. However, we all have it to one degree or another and rather than addressing it, most of us want to run at high speed from it, or find a magic wand that will wish it away forever, never ever to be seen by another or divulged. This is the grip of shame.
In reality, our deepest shameful secret is shame itself.
It is rarely the thing that we believe that we may be, or may have done that frightens us, it is the existence of shame that frightens us. Shame has some friends and some foes. Not speaking of shame keeps it in place, forever managing our life in the background, seemingly unseen, but the evidence of its pervasive presence is tangible when given a little bit of conscious awareness. Our most frequent reaction is to keep shame a secret, not to divulge it, never to reveal it, but rather, we most often choose to allow it to slither through the centre of our lives causing disappointment, failure and increasing layers of shame.
In order for shame to be addressed we must be prepared to be vulnerable. Now that is a quite a word, is it not? Vulnerability? You mean, ‘show some weakness?’ ‘Let my guard down?’ – You don’t want me to buckle up and soldier on as if everything is ok?
Vulnerability and openness about our fears can be the very territory in which we can feel shamed by others. Vulnerability is very unpopular in general, it makes many jittery, uncomfortable, and even angry. Therefore tolerance of vulnerability when it is being expressed can be very low at times – even amongst friends and family members. Very often as we express vulnerability we are met with comments such as ‘Everything will be OK’, ‘you’re strong, you’re a fighter, and you’ll be OK’. Whilst at times these words can be re-assuring, depending on how they are being expressed – more often than not it is an indication that the other person is now uncomfortable with our vulnerability. If you’ve been in the role of the ‘strong one’ or the person ‘who has it all together’, where then is the capacity for others to see that it is not always so?
Within the dismissal of vulnerability rests the underpinning of shame and its propagation. We’ve been told to dismiss vulnerability and men in particular have been told ‘Big boys don’t cry’. Well, they do.
Healing and facing shame is a key component to not only surrendering to deeper intimacy in relationships and friendships, but it is a key component to unleashing our creative forces and impulses. We have learnt to keep our shame hidden as a shameful secret – keeping it as compact as possible like a piece of coal under extreme pressure. However, there are a few things to realise about this process of keeping shame under wraps:
– Shame cannot survive being into the light of consciousness and when met with empathy it either dissolves immediately, or the process of dissolution begins in earnest.
– It takes a LOT of life force energy to keep shame in place. What would your life look like if all of that life force energy was available to you?
Our greatest fear around revealing our feelings of shame is that somehow the feelings will be affirmed and confirmed by an un-empathetic ear that may be listening. More often than not, this un-empathetic ear is our own and the voice of criticism most often comes from within.
We have been raised in a society in which many images are projected onto us growing up. We receive these images of what it is to be good, successful, what it is to be a man, a woman, a success, spiritual, strong etc. and each and every time we fall short of theses ideals we either feel shame or are shamed by others.
Countless lives, millions and millions of people across the planet live lives that are not lived owing to shame. Within each of us is a storehouse of creative energy and a deep longing to be free to love. As we speak of shame and become willing to be vulnerable in our sharing we start to release all of the goodness that is within us that is hungry to find expression.
Success is really defined by how true we’ve been to our dreams and the truth of who we are. It has no other measure.
In order to heal shame we must first be willing to encounter it and be with it for moment. We must be willing not to fix it, find a strategy to get around it – but be willing to go into the centre of it to discover what else may be held there. As we bring the light of consciousness into shame, it starts to lose its grip – as we continue to run and hide from it, create avoidance strategies around it – it has the upper hand. As shame is healed, creativity flows and success abounds.
For help with issue of Shame, Success, Creativity or any other personal development/healing issue, go to Skype Sessions for information