Burning My Shame in the Fire of Self-Acceptance.
I learnt shame at an early age from a variety of sources.
Just one example was when I was really small and I found it difficult to realize that I felt jealousy, which seemed to me to be a negative emotion. When I told this to someone I trusted and respected, who was a God in my life and only wanted the absolute best for me and my freedom from negativity, they told me, “Oh, I hate jealous people.” I was mortified, and learnt to bury difficult emotions and to try to be perfect.
I felt flawed and ashamed.
I have spent a lot of life burying things deep and then seeing them fester and arise up way bigger later on. It just isn’t the way. That is not to say that sharing everything with everyone is the way either, but I have found something that works.
As Brené Brown says, the antidote to shame is empathy. By looking at what I am ashamed of in myself and letting it surface, be witnessed and giving it a name and then having empathy in understanding the reason for this arising in me in the first place, I then de-armor its effects, accept these parts of myself that I was ashamed of, and release them, for my freedom.
My shame tells me I am wrong, not enough, not perfect. It often reminds me of my past mistakes, the times in my life that I have not been seen, chosen, accepted, understood or validated. When I try to expand, it asks me, “Who do you think you are?” It is deeply ingrained in old stories and limiting beliefs that go round and round…
… until you dance with them, and move them, and see them for what they are, and work them so hard that they lose all their power.
For example, with the jealousy… if I see that I am jealous, I own it instead of judging it, look at why I felt jealous, which could be because part of me thinks I am not enough, have self-compassion for not feeling enough, and then go to work on that rather than judging myself for feeling jealous.
Emotions are wise and just want to be honored, they can then move on once their function has been fulfilled and their message has been heard by us. When I sit with feelings like jealousy, acknowledge them, and sometimes move them with tools like EFT, dance and body work (and not rush or paste over them), their power dissipates.
Emotions bring a wise message, but sometimes what can be at play is fear and resistance keeping us small.
I have lived with old stories like I am not enough or I am going to fail again, and sat with the reality of it, using more tools around it, until eventually I think, “Oh, hi, it’s you again. Are you really here to tell me the same old shit? I’m actually quite bored and so over you now. I see you for what you are. Thank you so much for your concern though. But it’s okay, I am not in a life-or-death situation. I’ve got this.”
Often I have needed external acceptance to facilitate my inner acceptance, so that I can release the grip of my shame.
Sharing my past experiences or inner shame, and having acceptance for it reflected back at me, has helped me eliminate a lot of shame and my feeling of wrongness about myself. On my healing journey, this sharing has needed to initially be contained and private, with professionals, whilst it has been very raw.
Right now I am sharing my journey more publicly, which is a whole other ball game. In truth, I don’t altogether enjoy sharing these raw, vulnerable thoughts. I often hesitate quite a while before doing so, and then afterwards I often regret it, but barring one instance, I have held my ground in spite of all my fear, and worked through the feelings instead, because my soul wouldn’t let me rest if I didn’t.
I’m trapped between my shame and my soul. After much deliberation, and backwards and forwards, I again and again choose to go with my soul — the only thing I now choose to be accountable to.
I feel fear that I won’t be accepted. I have worried that I am not healed enough to be sharing yet. I have felt scared that what I am sharing might somehow be wrong even though it is my heartfelt truth. Sometimes I have felt like I have been too vulnerable. I frequently wonder what the hell I am doing.
But each thing I share brings me closer to myself, and in sharing it, in spite of the fears, I make a declaration that I accept it and am owning it, no matter what.
I am sending a strong message to my subconscious that I am valid, adequate, suitable and enough — irrelevant of the number (or lack) of likes, comments or messages of support.
I am bringing my truth to light, sharing it come what may, and in doing this I stand up for myself, accept myself, hold myself in empathy through the fear of it all, and do not let anyone else tell me whether or not it is acceptable (whilst at the same time deeply appreciating the support).
Today I throw my shame into the fires of the recently past Samhain and watch it burn, what are you throwing in?
“Shame is an epidemic in our culture. And to get out from underneath it — to find our way back to each other, we have to understand how it affects us and how it affects the way we’re parenting, the way we’re working, the way we’re looking at each other…
… If we’re going to find our way back to each other, we have to understand and know empathy, because empathy’s the antidote to shame. If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment. If you put the same amount in a Petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too…
… If we’re going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path.” ~ Brené Brown
Louisa Lamorna Phillips is a Freedom Writer at Wild Magical Freedom, and shares excavated treasures and adventures throughout her quest to live her own Wild Magical Freedom, here and now. She offers resources, tools, coaching, courses, classes, workshops, Yoga, shamanic healing and retreats to empower people to own their past and free their future… to be their present. Follow Wild Magical Freedom on Facebook and Instagram.