There is an unfortunate saying in our culture that is often used to punish or discipline children: “Shame on you!” Rather than shame ON you, it would be more accurately worded shame IN you. Shame is a shadow, a hint of darkness, of secrets. It is the feeling of inadequacy and worthlessness, brought on by the teachings of others (“Don’t be such a crybaby!”) or our own self-talk (“I shouldn’t feel this way – I hate myself for feeling this way”). It is the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous.
Psychotherapist and author Helen B. Lewis taught that shame is an umbrella for an entire family of emotions: humiliation, embarrassment, feelings of low self-esteem, belittlement, and stigmatization. These feelings are self-perpetuating – we often feel shame for feeling shame, which of course separates us effectively from feelings of self-love.
Although a great deal of effort can be involved in resolving and releasing feelings of shame and inadequacy, it can be done, and the results are remarkable. Shining a light on the darkness of shame provides access to feelings of love and acceptance for ourselves.
Personal transformation expert Debbie Ford, who wrote books on shadow, wrote, “Real love is when you reclaim a part of yourself you hated. You find compassion for the part of you that can be so hurt, angry and judgmental. It takes so much energy to submerge and hide the shadow.”
Deborah Cohen of Soul Wisdom Therapy will begin a new group addressing this topic in January 2015. The group will help you explore new ways of authentically relating from your heart as you deepen your capacity for trust and intimacy with self and others. The work includes techniques for accessing intuition and clearing negative self-talk and old behavioral patterns that no longer serve you. You will also have the opportunity to learn to speak from your authentic heart with others in the group, sharing inner emotional pain and shame and experiencing being held in acceptance, compassion and love by others in the group. Join us and shine a light into the darkness. For more information on this group click here.
“Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.” Mark Twain