What keeps us from staying present in the actuality of what’s happening, moment to moment?
In today’s episode we’re talking about shame and recognizing it for what it is — a program in our mind which discounts the actuality of our current experience, because of beliefs we’ve adopted that tell us what make us worthy of love, acceptance and the right to be who we are right here and now.
Shame is always sponsored by a ‘should.’ Have you noticed? This should have gone like that our I should have acted differently, etc. ‘Should’ is never in present tense. It is based in belief in cultural norms.
Shame comes when we belief that something is wrong with us. We’ve bought into what those around us have told us is the right way to be and we feel like we’re not making the grade.
It comes down to how we’ve been indoctrinated, and much we’ve internalized that indoctrination.
Something happens, and rather than accept it and keep moving, we pull our energy inward and withdraw from honest participation in the moment because of a feeling of unworthiness.
We personalize it as something that says something about our value and lovability.
So shame is something we’re all familiar with, right? It seems immediate, yes? But it is really secondary to the beliefs we have about who we are supposed to be versus who we really are — moment to moment. Shame is the feeling that tells us that we are out of sync with the truth of who we are as love. It is based in fear.
The fear is that if we’re vulnerable and honest with another, they can use that truth as a weapon against us. But it is only harmful if we still believe that the truth can hurt us.
Shame requires secrecy to keep it in tact.
When we feel shame arise, we can see it as an invitation to examine the beliefs we are harboring, reevaluate, and rather than withdraw into ourselves, we can express the feelings, the thoughts, the beliefs that are choking us up, moving the energy along so we can see that what’s happening is not actually personal.
Shame makes us afraid to be ourselves. But the crazy thing is that if we are out loud about what we’re experiencing, it brings us present and we actually create a new base from which we operate — one of authentic vulnerability and personal power.
The secret to dissolving shame is being willing to be vulnerable and honest when we want to withdraw and hold back from engaging.
What we find is that as soon as share what what we want to keep secret — what we’re feeling and thinking —with another human being we realize it is us that has been giving shame all the power to cut us off from the human race.
You can’t be authentically yourself and hold onto your shame for long. Because when you’re being authentic, you’re just being yourself in that moment.
For example, I might be thinking/ feeling, “shit I’m ashamed I didn’t know this sooner.” But the second I say, “I’m feeling ashamed I didn’t know this sooner,” the feeling changes. As soon as I disclose what I’m thinking and feeling— as soon as I take that hot feeling inside and breath it through with my words, with my connection with another human being, love rises up with that sharing and I instantly have an new experience of myself — one that is real and powerful with self-ownership. Not only does it make me feel differently about myself, it offers the other person a chance to experience empathy and connection on a new level.
Being honest about our shame when it arises takes the charge out of it. Authenticity is the great connector. Sharing the truth of our own experience is the only chance we have of being truly present and connected with someone else. When I’m owning my feelings, my perspective, I am simultaneously allowing you yours. This connects us in our humanness and love has a chance to take the lead.