Letting Go of Shame
Through God’s grace, all your mistakes now serve a purpose, instead of serving shame.
By Shea Vogel/Contributing Writer
I’ve been on a journey lately. A journey in the physical sense, but more importantly the spiritual and self-healing kind of journey. “Insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” and I’ve grown weary of the insanity. A common theme that I keep seeing pop up in my life is fear and shame. But what brings about shame and how does it affect us?
Shame comes from the belief that, “I am flawed, inadequate, not worthy, bad.” Shame tells us that we aren’t good enough. It comes from the Greek word aischune, which depicts something as revolting, ugly and grotesque. And how do these horrid self-beliefs manifest in our lives? Through self-destructive behaviors, numbing and avoidance. If we truly think that we aren’t good enough, then we will live this out again and again. We will overspend, drink too much, get into debt, procrastinate, overeat and so on. You can try and run and hide from yourself, but at the end of the day, you’re still left with YOU and if you’re living in shame, that can be soul crushing.
Listen, we’ve ALL made mistakes. I know I have! Acting out, gossiping to take the focus off myself, and too many self-destructive behaviors to mention. Brene Brown says it best “Shame erodes our courage and fuels disengagement.” However, guilt is just as powerful. It let’s us know that we did something “bad” so that hopefully we learn from it and change the behavior. Shame just says, “We are bad.”
If this is a driving force in your life, no matter what you do, you will never feel worthy or “good”. You will look for outside validation, that will never quench the thirst of feeling enough. We teach people how to treat us and if you think that you’re bad or a piece of crap, that is how you’ll allow others to see and treat you.
Some say it all starts with you, but I believe that it starts with God. And through God’s grace, all your mistakes now serve a purpose, instead of serving shame. We are all children of God the mighty king, so what does that make us? More than enough and worthy because of grace, love and forgiveness. And sometimes forgiveness must start with you forgiving yourself. We all do the best we can, with the tools we have at the time. Shifting the focus from self-blame to a learning experience, helps in forgiveness. And I don’t know about you, but some of my greatest mistakes have brought about my greatest victories.
So besides giving it to God, how do we let go of shame? Internalizing, processing, and working through it. “You gotta go through, to get to,” my old friend, Cookie used to say, and boy is that true! Growing as humans, means taking time alone, facing yourself, and letting go. Letting go of who you were and who you believe yourself to be. Letting go of negative self-talk and people who help enforce these beliefs. And having courage. Courage to own up to your mistakes and know that they don’t define you. Courage to quit hiding behind the different masks that we wear and to be yourself. Your true, authentic, sometimes flawed self. Courage to let go of the familiarity of shame and be 100 percent you. The good, the bad and the ugly.
Letting go of shame, means knowing at the end of the day, that we are all perfectly imperfect. That we are worthy no matter what our past or other’s say. And finally, so very loved and lovable, simply because we are children of God.