I start this podcast with an embarrassing story about myself. The story is not printed here. You have to listen!
Shame is an emotion in which the self is perceived as defective, unacceptable, or fundamentally damaged. Shame is often confused with guilt, which is a related but distinct emotion in which a specific behavior is viewed as unacceptable or wrong, rather than the entire self.
- Brene Brown says, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
- Shame is darkness to our soul. We need to learn to recognize it and then let it go into the light of His presence in us.
- People who experience traumatic events, mostly in childhood, are prone to shame, particularly if they blame themselves for the event.
- Shame gives you a desire to hide, disappear, or even die.
Have you ever done anything you’re not proud of, like feigning a headache to get out of a dinner or snapping at your partner in a heated moment? You mess up, like we all do, and when it happens, you probably feel guilty and convicted to make it right.
- Guilt is a normal emotion that people experience when they believe they have caused harm or actually done something wrong. We all make mistakes and those mistakes often affect other people, therefore we feel guilt.
- Or there is unfounded guilt, the worst kind. We could come from a family that used guilt to manipulate us all of our lives. Such as, “Okay go the movies son, but if I am dead in my chair when you get back, just bury me out back.”
- Now that evokes guilt. Any dutiful son would cancel his plans so that he won’t be responsible for causing Dad to die. The motivation is guilt. But that son will carry anger in his heart and left undealt with will be with him through adulthood.
Or how about going to see an elderly parent. The first thing they say to you is “Where have you been. Why haven’t you come to see me?” More guilt. Instead of rejoicing that you are there now. The guilt can be so horrible it makes you not want to visit them at all.
If your feelings of guilt cause daily anxiety or are out of proportion to the actual mistakes you’ve made, you might be suffering from an even more toxic emotion:
- Shame is what I felt that day I was exposed to the world.
Shame is commonly confused with guilt. People who experience shame often feel bad for every little error they make, and are in a constant state of fear of making more. For this reason they feel fear around authority figures, judge themselves harshly, and have a low sense of self esteem.
- Guilt says I have done something wrong.
- Shame says I AM something wrong.
- Shame is toxic.
Shame can strip away the joy and freedom that you deserve to experience in your walk.
Shame most often stems from a wounded part of you that was convinced in childhood that you weren’t enough. Though this is not the truth, it may feel that way, as beliefs that you carry for decades become your reality.
Shame can play a very powerful and negative role in your life, but it doesn’t have to. God can heal your feelings of shame and you can start living a happier and more empowered life.
One of the most powerful techniques to healing shame is to practice self compassion. We need to love ourselves. How do we do that?
- We begin to treat ourselves and talk to ourselves with the same kindness, caring and compassion we would show a good friend or a beloved child. We find out what God says about us as His precious children and begin to confess that over ourselves in spite of what we feel. We will eventually begin to believe it. It will sink into your mind and renew your mind to truth rather than what you have believed all of your life.
When we practice this it helps us to feel less isolated and alienated from others. The more shame we feel, the more deficient we feel and in turn, the more separate we feel from others.
- Now say those words out loud to yourself. Take a deep breath and really take in those words. How does hearing yourself say those words out loud make you feel? Can you feel your faith grow in your own value in the Kingdom of God.
The more you practice this the more you will believe it. Oh, there will be triggers, that will bring back those old familiar feelings, but pay them no attention…pull out those scriptures and start saying them over yourself again. Sing them over yourself if you feel inclined. Get them into your spirit and renew your mind!
You deserve to be free to allow God to lead you into a life of freedom you truly love and to feel worthy of having it.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10)
“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. (Psalm 139:13-16)
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