Shame is a real bitch.
It lurks in the underneath, hiding from the light.
Shame is a barricade to love.
It’s a sticky, grey energy that literally blocks out any healing you are offered.
So what’s its connection to guilt? And what’s the difference?
Brene Brown describes guilt as the signal that I’ve done a bad thing, whereas shame says I am a bad person. I love those descriptors, but I see a connection between the two.
When I see these feelings energetically, I see the guilt as stemming from a deeper shame.
Shame is the seed. Guilt is the weeds that choke out your flower garden.
And who likes to look at shame? It feels yucky and overwhelming. It takes a lot of effort to find the shovel, plunge it in the earth, and turn the garden upside down. But the seeds of shame can be found. And they can be uprooted.
How to find your shame
Ask yourself this: What do I feel guilty about?
There may be one thing, five things, ten things. Allow yourself to settle on one thing.
For example, I had someone recently tell me that they felt guilty when a person asked how much of their income they donated to charity. She felt guilty she wasn’t giving.
When I asked her why she felt guilty, she didn’t know. When I asked her about her relationship with money and managing her own finances, she struck a sheepish grin. There’s the shame.
Now, here’s a tip. When the shame is hot and thick, we will feel judged by others even when we’re not. Feelings of anger may push up. We need this anger to help burn the shame out, but we have to make sure the anger is being directed at the right person or people, most likely somewhere in our past. It’ll be so tempting to toss the anger onto the person we feel judged us. Let me assure you, it doesn’t belong there. That will keep you in a circle of frustrating pain. Keep searching.
So, back to the question – what is it that you feel guilty about?
If you’re having a hard time finding the guilt, you can also ask yourself what you constantly feel others judge you for.
Not being a good mom, not spending enough time with your children, spending your money on frivolous things, not working hard at your job, working so hard at your job you don’t have a good work-life balance, drinking too much, eating too much, eating food that’s not good for you, staying up too late, making poor life choices, lying to people you love…..
Now, go underneath the issue. Look for the shame. Most likely you’ll find it wrapped up with society’s dictates, swaddled in your family of origin’s beliefs and values, and shrouded in a veil of shoulds. Unwrap it.
Find someone who can help you unwrap it. This is where therapists and energy healers hold a lot of value. Employ their help.
As you’re unwrapping the shame, you’re going to bump into anger and sadness. You’ll need both to heal the shame. Remember, the trick is to direct those strong feelings to the correct place or person, be it others or yourself.
You need the anger to burn away the shame, and you need the sadness to wash it from you.
Honor both emotions: anger and sadness.
Shed your shame.
After all, we don’t need more shame in our world.
We need more healing. We need more love.
The good thing about shame is that it can be healed.
And when we heal the shame, the love that we deserve can land effortlessly in our bodies and our hearts.
Who doesn’t want more of that?