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Shame Cannot Live in the Light

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Lately, I have purposely been speaking up about things that have brought me shame.

There are many things we’re taught that “you just don’t talk about.”

As my therapist always says, “Shame keeps you stuck.” Why? Because shame is derived from a place within us that feels something is fundamentally wrong, unacceptable, or unlovable about ourselves.

We think that, if anyone knew what we’ve done, they would stop loving us. They would judge us. They would condemn us, as we’ve done to ourselves.

Shame, by nature, makes us want to hide. This makes it an exceptionally sticky emotion.

After all, if you never speak about something, if you never allow it the space be seen and heard and reality-tested, how can it ever shift? How can you ever uncover what has not been allowed to come up, that has felt stuck for so long within you?

I have fallen into this trap for years.

So now I am putting words to it.

I am having open, loving conversations with these “shameful” topics in the spotlight.

I am speaking the things that I’ve felt ashamed about. I am being witnessed in doing so. And oftentimes, I am being met with similar admissions, similar stories, similar feelings that have previously been kept under wraps by others.

And you know what? I feel the shift immediately. The lightness, the freedom, the shame melting off like frost in the morning sun.

It hits us simultaneously. As my shame lifts, I feel the other person lighten, stand up taller and straighter, and let go of theirs as well.

It almost becomes laughable by the end. Ha! Why did this ever feel like such a horrible thing to talk about?

So I ask myself: In protecting this shame, what have we been doing to ourselves? What have I been doing to me?

In staying silent, the tension builds. The shame twists and festers and takes new form. We never get the opportunity to look at it through a new lens, to see things differently, to open up and give unconditional love to that piece of us that has felt afraid, and inadequate, and alone.

We need to talk about our shame.

To allow ourselves to be seen, to be heard and loved and witnessed and received.

If no one has told you this: There is nothing wrong with you. You’ve done nothing wrong.

You’ve done the best you knew how to in every single moment. Now that you know better, you can do better. But you have always done enough. There is nothing to correct. It all has brought you here.

You have never, never deserved to live with this hidden burden, this secret shame growing and spreading and encompassing your heart.

It’s time to let it all go.

Let it be seen. Let it be heard. Let it be witnessed.

Choose someone who loves you and makes you feel cared for. Lay your heart out bare to them.

See how it feels. What changes? What shifts? Which burdens automatically lift from your shoulders?

Smile. Take a deep breath in. Repeat as often as you need to.

You deserve to be seen. You deserve to be loved. You deserve to be witnessed and greeted and celebrated, exactly as you are.

The world is waiting for your raw expression. There are so many people who want to love you, and care for you, and listen to you.

It’s time to let it in.

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