Get Rid Of Your Splinters Of Self-Condemnation.
I have a bad habit. When someone disagrees with me or tells me no, I go into instant shame.
I feel my body freeze while my cheeks begin to burn, and my whole system is overcome with the sickening sense that I’ve seriously screwed up and may as well not even exist. My shame response is on a hair trigger.
Shame. Ugh! I cringe even typing that word. No one wants to read about this. That’s what the voice in my head tells me as I write. No one wants to see it in print because we’re all too busy trying to ignore it. We harbor it in hidden places in our bodies.
If we’re looking, we can see it on both a physical and energetic level in the bodies of the people around us. The hunched shoulders, the heavy bellies, the angry outbursts, the apologetic looks. Shame slimes us all in one way or another.
It makes us feel small and deficient. It’s sharp, and it hurts. When shame arises in our lives, it functions like a splinter. We don’t even see it coming until suddenly something’s lodged in our psyche that feels awful and takes up the bulk of our attention.
Then our inner critic picks up the tweezers and begins to dig around on that razor-sharp splinter of self-condemnation until the pain of it becomes completely intolerable. In an act of self-defense, we shove that pain somewhere deep within our bodies so we don’t have to feel it anymore. We store bits of it in our intestines and in our hearts.
If you’re a woman, perhaps you’ve been storing shameful experiences in your uterus. Where do you hide your shame? Take a moment and check into it. You’ll get your answer. You might find that you have chronic health issues in the places where you store it.
What’s the shame about? Why is it so prevalent among us? There are so many reasons, so many possibilities. Here’s a big one: If we were raised in households where we felt responsible for the emotions of our caretakers, we are at great risk for developing shame.
If as children we felt obligated to keep one or both of our parents happy and functional, then we ran ourselves ragged trying to please them, trying to fix them. We put our own needs on the back burner and loosened up our boundaries. We did this in an attempt to satiate, to keep the peace, to settle their tension.
If we could help them to relax, then we could also relax.
But any adult who’s tried to please someone knows this: it doesn’t work. We can’t make or keep other people happy, so our mission as children was an impossible one. Because we were so young and lacked knowledge and context, the slow realization that we couldn’t do it made us think that we were bad.
We assumed that we weren’t good enough. We gave it our best… and we still failed. So we internalized that assumption, and likely still carry a lot of guilt around it. Never mind that no child is equipped to control their world like that.
Trauma wants to be seen, it will present over and over until we give it attention and begin the work necessary to transmute it. This means similar versions of that original trauma will show up chronically in our lives. “I’m not good enough” will surface all over the place. The good news: shame doesn’t have to be permanent.
You don’t have to live with those splinters lodged and throbbing underneath your skin forever, and you don’t have to take a pill to make it stop hurting. What you have to do… is to get curious. Challenge it.
See where you’re storing your shame (most likely it will be in an organ or two) and start asking it questions. “What do you need from me? What are you trying to tell me?” It will answer you. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, I know, but try it anyway. That’s my challenge to you.
Do you want to be free of your shame? Do you want to get rid of your chronic aches and pains? Begin asking questions. Go into the shame or the physical pain, and ask it to help you make sense of it.
When you start getting answers, use them to deepen your understanding.
Any time we have unresolved trauma, it breeds shame. You can liken it to the dark corners in a house. Awareness functions as a light. When you bring awareness into the pain and shame you hold in your bodies from unresolved trauma, it’s like shining a bright light into those dark corners.
Where there’s mindfulness and comprehension, shame loses its power, and is replaced with something else: freedom and healing.
Natha Perkins is a mama, an artist, a writer, and an intuitive life coach. For many years, she owned a successful jewelry and lifestyle brand called Luscious Metals (featured in Cosmopolitan, Parenting Magazine and more). Making beautiful adornments out of metal and stones was definitely a dream job, but she decided she wished to be of service in a more meaningful way. Nowadays, she helps clients from around the world figure out what the hell is really going on in their lives, which is still an art, just a different kind. On a daily basis, she also finds herself fighting the age-old internal battle of whether to fake being perfect or just go ahead and risk exposing her own truths to the world. The struggle is real, y’all. You can find her at her website or on Facebook to learn more or to work with her personally.