Shame on You

Shame is a very heavy burden to carry. It is a frontal attack to the integrity of a person. Its debilitating effect ranges from discomfort to death, but can also lead to great actions in the course of escaping it. I don’t know anyone who has not experienced it at some point of  time, yet the subject is rarely discussed: few  talk openly about their shame, even fewer disclose the cause of their shame.

Shame comes in various forms. Shame about something inside us, that we may control, like our own weaknesses or our social status. Shame that we don’t control, for example caused by others affecting our life, like a parent.
The shame emanating from us (“self-shame”) fluctuates in intensity, generally declining as we age, build our own moral structure and “digest” ourselves. For those experiencing self-shame, patience, realism, generosity, action and humility are recommended. Telling the truth is always  a good remedy, as it counters somewhat the very powerful moral self-undermining of lying. Why seek refuge in a shelter where the hurt is even greater? I have repeatedly experienced self-shame, judging myself to be inferior in many aspects or not recognizing myself in an alienated version of me that I knew not to be truthful. After some useless procrastination, I had to make transformational life changes, which were very painful at the time: act to correct my weaknesses, accept as human these I could not conquer, openly talk about them, offset them with other accomplishments.
The shame created by others on us is much less controllable, and equally debilitating. Violations of our own moral code by a loved or close one, directly impact our moral and social standing and force us to reconsider the fundamental love we have for them, bonds we cannot break without enormous pain. I experienced it with my father and it scarred me deeply. Only by confessing it to ta very intimate circle of my closest friends did I start dealing with it. Shaming in hiding does not resolve anything. Actually, it reinforces the shame and self-alienation. I now accept that my father had weaknesses that do not  represent me. I don’t look away, but sort the good he did to me (and there is plenty) from the bad he had.
Whatever causes someone to experience shame, shame is essentially a loss of trust in oneself. That is the highest degree of internal disfunction and potential self-destruction one can have. We can be the toughest judges on ourselves. To conquer shame is of the highest priority for anyone experiencing this cancer. It is a good idea to start by opening up, ” confessing” and gaining the sympathy of others. They will show you that you are not that bad after all.
Good luck to you. May shame not be with you!
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