Feeling shame is painful but there is hope!
The two sides of shame
I have experienced them both.
In fact, I grew up with relentless shaming nearly every day of my life. It would be a natural progression for me to take on the role of my shamers and continue to use shame to punish. In most cases, I shame myself and other times, it is others. I don’t typically shame everyone, only those that I feel slighted by in some way. I was not aware of this pattern until recently.
Anyone that follows me knows that this year has been a year of growth for me. I have been listening much closer to what others say to me. Not the ones that criticize but the ones that speak gently and lovingly, for those are the ones I choose to hear. I have listened to the harsh words for my entire life and I am done with it.
Obviously, I have to listen once to make the determination of whether those words are valuable in any way. Typically the tone with which they are presented is a major clue as to whether I will take them into my heart or discard them.
I know it will take me a lot longer to stop the harsh words that I torture myself with but at least now I am aware that they are there.
To connect my words to my title, I do believe there are two sides of shame. The first side is the teachers. These people are experts at creating shame in another. I believe this is because at some point they too were shamed by someone important to them. We aren’t born with this ability, it is learned.
The second are the victims, in my opinion, the best shamers were taught by the best and they also feel the most shame. It is a vicious cycle that perpetuates through generations.
I need to… I must stop this cycle.
I had been having a difficult week and had recently been discussing with a friend, someone who had hurt me deeply and continued to hurt people that I love. I typically had spoken to them in a tone that was used to elicit change. Unfortunately it was through shaming them. When that friend listened to my encounter, they asked, “Is that the only way they will listen?” I knew immediately that I needed to break the cycle.
She asked a simple question. However it hit me like a ton of bricks. Wow, I was shaming others and I was somewhere in a very deep and dark place taking pleasure in it. That was not who I was. Or maybe it was who I was but not who I am now. I resolved immediately to stop and instead to use gentle, soft words to elicit change in all others. It takes a lot longer but my heart glows warm instead of cold.
And as another new friend of mine would say, “Beth, you’ve raised your vibration.” And that makes me very happy!
So my question to you
Are you hurting because of something other people do or say to you? How do you respond? Is it with loving, gentle words or do you try to hurt them back?
If you try to hurt them, now is the time to change! It is time to break the cycle…
You can Google “shame” to find out more about how it affects us all. Here is a suggested read when dealing with someone who feels it.