Shame not only affects your ability to truly know and find affinity with your REAL Self, but as an adult, your ability to show up and function effectively and authentically in the world. Shame can also be one of the most elusive and slippery emotions to grasp. Shame and embarrassment around being seen as your true Self is most often a direct by-product of your childhood experiences. Being humiliated, reprimanded, criticised, neglected or overlooked, rejected, abandoned, violated, physically punished or otherwise abused – essentially being made to feel fundamentally flawed or unworthy of the innate need to be yourself, validated and unconditionally loved, are key factors that contribute to deeply seated shame. In fact, core-level embarrassment or shame can be so deeply submerged that perhaps you are reading this now, doubting that in your case, there might very possibly be significant amounts there.
The ‘seeds of shame’ are most often planted in and/or around the home environment in the formative developmental years. They germinate and grow out into the school and neighbourhood environments, extra-curricular and special interest groups, and later on in the arenas of further education, job opportunities, love interests and relationships, health and well-being.
The germination of these seeds of shame causes a split between your Real, core self and the boy or girl you believed at the time you needed to be in order to survive. That is, there was a definite quota of emotional nurturance, physical sustenance, validation, and love that you required, and indeed we all require as children, to survive and grow. And as a human being, you are wired to do whatever it takes to maximize your chances of survival – even if that means scraping by on meagre or warped rations of approval, validation, and love to match the diminished view of yourself you unknowingly accepted at that time. Shame works on the deepest levels of your psyche to shape your understanding of who you think you are. Shame diminishes your understanding of your inherent magnificence. Shame causes you to shrink into a ball of unworthiness around being able to know and truly, deeply, appreciate, honour, and love yourself. Ultimately, shame affects your ability to be fully present in your life and fashion it into an exciting everyday experience that validates and inspires you and sets your senses alive. Deeply held embarrassment and shame teaches through your journey from childhood into adulthood how to function at a greatly reduced fraction of who you really ARE – to the point that it isn’t uncommon for you to begin believing in and creating experiences that reinforce struggle, unhappiness, frustration, isolation, and lack. When you consider, however, that these emotions are symptoms of a life lived from a place of being out of kilter with your truth, you can see that they exist more to try and swerve you back into alignment with your authentic Self, rather than being destinations in and of themselves. If you are finding yourself resonating with these notions and yet struggling to identify precisely where your shame lies, realise that your pockets of shame are by their very nature, shrouded. They are hidden from view, not least because they are the dwelling places of some of your most deep-seated pain. It makes perfect sense that on a very fundamental level, you would want them to be banished for good. As you grow, learn, and mature, these pockets of shame, far from being inert, to a large extent inform your abilities, personality characteristics, and traits according to the limits you have accepted as the equivalent of this unique type of amnesia to self-preserve. You become heavily invested in showing up exactly how you have always been, as the person you believe yourself to be because you know exactly what you can expect in this place. Here life is predictable and there are few surprises. As much as you feel frustrated and stuck, you are in control.
The feeling of being in control of your life is very desirable when you have inadvertently been creating your life from an unconscious place of fear. Conversely, the feeling of being ‘out of control’ in your life can trigger your anxiety around your learned mistrust of your Real Self and the resulting tendency to want to avoid the unknown. Often I see or encounter people for whom the experience of these symptoms is so embedded in their day to day lives that they literally believe that is truly all there is. Energetically this is the place they are resonating at and it is very difficult for them to see or sense anything happier, more fulfilling, or life-restoring beyond the exhaustion, sadness, and drudgery that for them, feels extremely real. Much like heat from radioactive processes within the earth’s interior causes tectonic shifts, it is the nature of your inborn wisdom to seek expression and validation in the outer world. The symptoms mentioned above – sense of struggle, unhappiness, frustration, isolation, and lack – are like the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that result when the earth’s plates come into violent contact with each other. This edge between your inner tectonic plates – your real and adapted Selves – is perhaps one of the most scary inner places at which you can find yourself. To deliberately push past it is often tantamount to opening the floodgates that have been containing your hidden potential yes, but also, your deep-seated pain. But your truth has always been an untapped gold mine within, infused with the wisdom of your soul. And no matter how far removed this feels, this tremendous inner resource is there, right now, seeking healing and release. Far from signifying that you’ve reached a dead-end in your life, these earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in your life are trying to signal to your conscious mind that there is SO much inspiration and creative potential that wants to make its way into the world through YOU. The key here is to accept with humility and self-love, once and for all, that you are at a crossroads, and that your tried and true way of responding to life hasn’t really enabled you to create the life you envisioned for yourself. It is imperative you recognise that you need to change tack, open up to the huge journey of awakening and self-growth that wants to unfold, and allow it exactly the space and time it demands. One of the biggest things that gets overlooked when you are going through particularly challenging times is the idea that, beneath the aspect of yourself that is engaged in the energy and exchanges of struggle, doubt, and lack, there is a part of you that is and has always been the primary observer in your life. Being able to consider that you the observer and the part of you that has been creating your experiences from a place of unwitting unworthiness and soul-level pain are actually separate and function pretty independently of each other has the potential to stop everything around you, dead in its tracks. And the silence can be deafening, but oh-so profound. It is here that you can find refuge from the untruths you have been building your relationships and experiences around. It is here that you can take inventory of what is actually REAL – your most heartfelt needs and personal truth. And no matter how chaotic, stressful, or unhappy the experiences you find yourself enmeshed in on your outer, really consider that consciously shifting your allegiance away from this to the part of you that is determined to create change, no matter what, is how you get the tide to finally turn. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. But beware, there are no crutches, patterns, or self-defeating negative habits to rely upon once you make this shift. Making this shift signals to your wise Self and to your world that you are beginning to connect into and honour the golden river of wisdom and pure potentiality that runs deep within your soul. You will be, in effect, making a declaration that you are readying yourself to bring more happiness, meaning, purpose, abundance, and joy into your world! .
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