Almost everyone knows them, those dark moments when you ask yourself, “What’s wrong with me?” That nagging, painful feeling that comes with doubting our entire being – shame.
While guilt is about having done something wrong, shame is the emotion, the belief that “something is fundamentally wrong with me”. Shame questions our entire existence and is, therefore, the opposite of our true nature – which is love, perfection, and worthiness. That is why it is so painful. It is the biggest lie about ourselves we have ever been told.
Yes, it is a lie. One that we’ve taken over and begun to believe. It is not a feeling that comes naturally to us, but something that has been projected onto us or that we have unconsciously copied from others.
How shame creeps in
So why have we started to believe this lie, the idea that there might be something wrong with us? What was missing in our life that we needed so badly that we rather swallowed this lie and forgot our divine nature, our innate worthiness and perfection?
Humans are a social species. Connection is one of our basic needs; it is part of our biological makeup. Isolation is so terrible that it is even used for torture. As children, our survival depends entirely on the people around us. And often this is also the time when the seed of shame is sown.
When our being has been rejected and judged, because we were different and not so well adapted, or simply uncomfortable, when this has deprived us of the so much needed love and support, sometimes the only way to deal with it is to question ourselves as well. Because then we have at least the seeming solution of the problem in our hands – to change ourselves until we are finally right. And then our self-image and self-esteem begin to crumble and worthlessness and shame are born.
Where do we go from here?
What can we do now to free ourselves from this agonizing feeling of shame? So many of us get stuck here because we are trying to understand what is wrong with us. So that we can change and then finally be accepted and loved. But in doing so, we still give power to the lie we were told. So once and for all: There is nothing wrong with you!!!
The key to releasing shame is to understand that it is not about what is wrong with us, but about what has happened to us. What we have to process is not the feeling that we are wrong, but the fact that we were treated in a way that made us feel wrong! We have to face the injustice we experienced when we, our behaviour or even our very existence triggered something uncomfortable in the people around us. And instead of facing their own wounds, they judged us and turned away. This is the wound that keeps shame in our system. And these are the emotions that we must heal in order to remove the foundation of our shame.
A good way to do this is to show compassion for those parts within us that do not feel lovable. So instead of trying to find out where and how we have to change to be lovable, we start to look for the places within ourselves where we need more love, compassion and understanding. And we begin to give ourselves exactly that! That is really all it takes. And then we will naturally draw more people into our lives who will give us the same – validation, love and support!