Part I: A Journey of Awareness
What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation
Day 12: The Layers of Shame
“Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.”
We have spent from Day 7 until today on shame. We have looked at the subject of shame on a variety of levels essential to our understanding of shame’s position in our lives. Now, we go into the layers of shame. Facing our shame and releasing it is NOT a linear journey where we go from A to B and we are done. We are going to go through the whole alphabet and it won’t be in any kind of specific order.
The layers of shame come with generation after generation of belief systems that we have bought into telling us we aren’t enough. There is so much undoing that this process takes time. Each time we become aware of our shame, in order to heal it, we have to figure out the belief system that got us believing that way in the first place. Then we have to be aware enough to know that every belief system is just a perception of truth, which many of us like to fight tooth and nail. We have to see the possibilities in other perceptions of truth. Finally the belief system will lose it’s hold on the way we are living in the moment. The beauty of the layers coming off is that we not only accepting ourselves more and more—We accept others for being who they are. Our compassion and love increase exponentially.
However, that doesn’t mean that some event or person down the line won’t test how strong we hold our new belief. Some of us will call this a setback, but it’s not. It’s just another opportunity to go deeper down and work out the roots of this belief. Think of it as those smothering vines. We can’t just clip them to get them to stop growing. We have to dig up the roots in order for them to stop causing damage.
Dealing with shame will continue to come up throughout our journeys. We will think we have dealt with our crap, and all the sudden a new lesson will be right there to meet us. The good news is, the more we are honest with ourselves about these human thoughts, beliefs, feelings, reactions, and actions the faster we will learn the lesson from it. Our shame from our pasts won’t have the ability to affect our lives like it did before.
The key to facing the layers as we move on is to not add to them by self-abusing because we aren’t where we want to be or we feel like we really messed up. A perception that helps me to keep going is that life is a classroom. When I’m finished with the lessons I’m meant to learn here, I will move on. This perception keeps me from awe-fulizing situations to the point I make them into a reason to give up. It also helps me be more accepting of whatever comes next. Another perception I changed was when I feel a downward spiral coming I say, I’m ready for another breakthrough. This keeps me from engaging in beliefs that would make me freeze like I’m hitting an emotional bottom or I’m having a breakdown. I used to feel the shame of feeling not enough when I had those thoughts. They made me want to go run to my cave and not come out.
I wasn’t always the person I am now. I have a past just like everyone else; mine was actually a pretty wild one. My actions have caused people to feel pain and I’ve felt hurt by plenty of other people’s actions too. What I realized is that shame was behind many of my misguided ways. My feeling of lack contributed to me chasing things and people that weren’t good for me. I experimented with highs to cover the pain. I was self-centered and selfish while I was consumed in living in my shame.
Each thing I’ve experienced was a necessary piece of my journey, even being raped, molested, and verbally abused along with losing important people in my life, had their lessons to teach me. If it weren’t for my hardest lessons, I wouldn’t have seen the power of shame and what believing its messages did to my identity. When I learned the lesson about being as sick as the people I was continuing to have relationships with (revealed earlier in the series), I dove deep and fast into facing my shame. I read book after book on shame and codependency, because I found the two played off one another. I did the work! I got in the mirror and got honest. Even with years of working on my shame to the point I am now, feeling free at this moment, I know the next layer will come. It was this part of my journey that I put together my own personal boot camp. It’s how I know my 35-DAY A BETTER ME BOOT CAMP can and will work for people who do the work.
The layers will be exposed, as we are ready to face them. If we continue in patterns where we actively live in our shame, we will actively be apart of the shame cycle. We will hurt ourselves and others until we are ready to look at ourselves honestly. Even if we don’t share the fear, hate, and judgment out loud, we are still carrying the shame with us, we are just continuing to suppress it. I promise you, it’s leaking out and it will be what keeps you from the life you really want to be living.
I find it is important to have a person to share our humanness with in these kinds of situations. If we don’t have a person who we truly trust not to engage us in these shameful thoughts, or to use them against us; than writing it out is a great tool. Whatever you do, be gentle with yourself. I also have the 35-DAY A BETTER ME BOOT CAMP if you’re ready to dive into the work to free yourself from shameful living.
None of us are perfect! Each person does the best with what they have. The ones who are struggling the most with shame are the ones who are out there hurting themselves and others. They don’t hurt people because they like what is going on inside of them. They are in an internal conflict and they act it out externally. Just like we are when we do it. Shame is the most unstable part of our foundations. This is one of the areas that will take the longest to clean up, but it is possible. Just don’t give up and don’t hold it in.
Just for Today
Write a letter to yourself as a contract to become aware of your shame. Commit to being ready to learn from how you’ve lived in your past and be open to see how your past has kept you in the shame cycle with your reality now. Read 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 12 – Learning from My Layers of Shame for the companion piece to give you inspiration to write your own letter.
With Love and Gratitude,
Rachael Wolff ©2019
Are you ready to dive into BLAME? Read tomorrow’s post and take the next step in our journey to clean up our unstable foundations and uncover the blocks that keep us from living a love-filled and love-projecting life.
Don’t forget to scroll down and follow the 90-Day A Better Me Series if you haven’t already. I look forward to seeing you back tomorrow.