I’ve been thinking a lot about shame lately and decided that it’s time to speak loudly about it.
First of all, we feel shame before, during or after a certain moment in our life when we subconsciously chose to place a heavy load of judgment onto ourselves … free willingly, of course!
And then there are those instances when we actually manage not to place judgment onto ourselves, but someone else chooses to do that … free willingly, of course!
Let’s look into how shame works in both occurrences, shall we?
In the situation when choose to feel shame there are a few fears acting out:
Fear of being judged: what will others say if I do/say this?
Fear of being less: what if I’m wrong?
Fear of being not good enough: what if I fail?
Fear of being rejected: what if I will upset others?
Fear of uncertainty: what happens if I’m wrong?
I’m sure we can identify more, but these are pretty strong and make a good case to feeling shame. But are they real?
Fear of being judged: what will others say if I do/say this? THAT’S PRETTY MUCH THEIR PROBLEM
Fear of being less: what if I’m wrong? YOU WON’T KNOW UNTIL YOU GIVE IT A GO
Fear of being not good enough: what if I fail? A DIFFERENT OUTCOME IS NOT FAILURE
Fear of being rejected: what if I will upset others? APOLOGISE AND MOVE ON
Fear of uncertainty: what happens if I’m wrong? WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU’RE RIGHT?
Then there’s the situation when shame is being placed upon us:
This is a much easier one, as when others expect us to be ashamed is simply a reflection of their feelings. If whatever you have done/said trigger the reactions:
Are you not ashamed of yourself?
You should be ashamed of yourself!
Who do you think you are?
Then respectfully stand your ground and start by saying “I’m sorry that’s how you feel”. If there’s an opportunity for a conversation where you can be heard, then by all means, explain where you’re coming from. Most probably is not, in which case give it time.
The point is you can only control your choices: choices of actions, choices of responses, choices of feelings. When you choose from love, there’s no wrong, there’s no failure; there’s only bravery. Bravery of being true to yourself, bravery of being aware, bravery of choosing consciously, bravery of taking responsibility for your choices and their results, but most of all, bravery of choosing to stop being the victim of your fears, the bravery of being shameless.