The Shame Game..and how to stop playingJan 27, 2021
One amazing friend of mine shared with me the following story.
At a moment when she had just received a hurtful and careless comment that really upset her. She had gone to the mirror and watched herself cry.
She shared with me that she had decided that instead of shutting down and getting lost in the shame ,instead she met her feelings with an attitude of love.
Instead of judging the pain, she asked it what it needed. It told her that it needed love! So she gave that love through her simple willingness to see it and meet it with compassion and acceptance.
This is an inspiring example of how to meet our shame, and move into a space of self love, instead of playing 'the shame game'.
The shame game...
Think of a time when you felt really ashamed..
Did you feel small and worthless?
The force of shame tends to hold a strong power over us, sucking our life force into its shadowy grip.
There are many kinds of shame, some we inherit, some we develop in our formative years, and often we recreate our shame story over and over again through our inner self critic’s unkind dialogue.
Shame robs us of our self worth, our self confidence, a fulfilling connection to our sexuality and in the process it cuts us off from vital energy supply.
And often shame is subtle and sneaky! We may draw people into our lives to play the shame game with us, in a kind of weird painful pact to reinforce each others shame.
There are so many ways that we can come under the power of shame and consciously, or unconsciously, play the shame game.
And if we spend our whole lives playing the 'shame game'..then that really is a shame! (ha!).
So how do we get out of the loop?
How do we disempower the shame game and empower our ability to love ourselves, even in the places where we hold shame?
Here are 4 simple but profound steps to healing from shame.
#1 MAKE A COMMITMENT TO SHOW UP FOR YOURSELF
Shame is all about telling ourselves that who we are/what we have done/ what we feel, is unlovable, unacceptable and wrong.
Yet when we dedicate ourselves to the knowing that every single part of ourselves is inherently OK, judgment transforms into compassion.
As conscious evolving women (and men!) loving self acceptance is pretty much the most potent alchemical tool we can use.
Unconditional love melts shame, it might take time, but it will, and we can cultivate this for ourselves.
It starts with a solid commitment..to show up for ourselves with love.
Once we have committed to this then life is only too happy to offer the opportunities to meet your shame with presence and transform your shame in the process.
#2 EXPLORE THE SHAME
When your voice goes all funny, when your shoulders droop, when you have trouble keeping the gaze of another. These are all good telltale signs that the shadow of shame is present.
Notice how shame feels in your body.
When we feel a feeling that we absolutely do not want to feel..
It could be numbness in your sexual organs, it could be a powerful desire or a longing for love or a fear of exposure.
Whatever it is, if we turn away from it, shame has done its job of leading us away from meeting and loving a part of ourselves…
So here is a trick, instead of turning away, explore it, become fascinated.
How exactly does it feel? what are the sensations in your body and where?
How does this affect how you are holding your body?
Is there a story line attached to this feeling?
Can you be with it or do you wish to distract yourself from it?
Instead of just playing the same old shame game..by exploring the shame you are doing something different. You are taking the time to understand the workings of your own internal shame game rather than blindly moving in the same pattern.
What is the shame telling you?
Once shame is accepted you can investigate what the shame is telling you…is it an indicator that you are doing something out of integrity OR, as is often the case, it is showing you where you do not accept yourself the way that you are..
Through exploring and understanding your shame you can then create a loving space for yourself to feel the shame and move into a deeper place of acceptance, compassion and insight.
#3 INVITE YOUR SHAME IN FOR TEA
It could be useful to imagine that you are inviting your shameful feelings in for tea. You sit with the feelings without judgement and get to know why this has come up. And you feed it sweetness, in the form of non-judgement and tender compassion. You may eventually take it into your embrace as the lost outlawed shunted traveler that it is.
#4 SHARE YOUR SHAME IN A SPACE OF LOVE
Have you had something that you felt really really awful about and you kept it to yourself and then you finally shared it with someone you could trust? Probably you felt exposed in the process, and it felt super edgy and uncomfortable, but after that died down, didn't you feel totally liberated?
Yep that is how it seems to work.
What we own and meet with love is drained of the charge of shame
Sometimes it is too hard to ‘go there’ and feel and investigate the shame so we can call in 'back ups'. My backups are often trusted friends on the path who have a capacity to hold me and love me as I am. If you do not have one of these yet then call them in or hire one (she/he could be a healer/teacher/ psychologist/friendly maternal toilet cleaner).
In the words of the Buddha; (I have paraphrased but you get the gist….).
‘You will not find anyone in the whole universe more worthy of love than yourself’
Did you get that? In other words…
Our hearts are big enough for every single damn bit of us, and we can extend the space to hold the wounded and shamed parts of ourselves too, in this way we alter the fabric of this world and dissolve the collective shame that creates a lot of pain, for everyone.
This is the revolution we are living.
When chunks of shame become lightened and freed through our clear seeing and radical love, we become more whole, more alive, more real.
There is more love, more ease and more connection.
And isn’t that what the world needs more of?
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