What If You Acknowledge Your Shame?

We all have so many intricate, deeply buried layers of shame.

If you are like me, you’ve suppressed everything that you feel shame over for a long time, years, maybe even decades. It builds up on itself, like trash in a landfill, until you have this stinky mound of shame that becomes impossible to hold down any further. Then it spills out all over your life, out of your control, and lays your inner struggles bare without your permission.

Most of us hide our shame from everyone, even ourselves at times. We don’t want to see it. We don’t want to admit to it. We don’t want to acknowledge it. We keep it all tucked away as it morphs and putrefies into something more toxic than it ever was originally. You can toss all your dirty laundry into a closet but eventually the mess gets too big for any door to handle. Is that how you want your internal world to function?

As I meditated today, the need to clear some of my energy around shame bubbled up. Instead of resisting it, as I know we usually want to, I tried to give way and let it flow. It was tough. A lot of tears, a lot of sobbing, a lot of spoken declarations of what I feel shame around. I’ve let it accumulate for so long that it’s overwhelming to allow it through now. I’m trying to heal it, and I understand that recognizing it and allowing it is a major first step. Now I will continue to honor it by speaking to it, holding space for it, and trying my hardest to love myself through it no matter how worthless I feel sometimes.

When we begin to peel back the layers of our shame and do the work to release it, we free up space to instead love and cherish ourselves in all our human, flawed entirety. Often simply acknowledging its existence is the most difficult step. We feel that if we own up to where we feel shameful, we will open the gates to something we can’t handle. That’s not true – you are so much stronger than you think, and you deserve to give yourself the gift of releasing burdens that you simply do not need to be carrying. You have nothing to be ashamed of – you are so beautiful, with all your supposed mistakes and flaws and ugliness. These stories are only true because you tell yourself they are. It’s time to rewrite that narrative and make it a story that lifts you up instead of submerging you into hopeless depths.

Acknowledging your shame does not mean that you will smother under the torrent of emotion that pours out of you. Sometimes it can be difficult to process shame alone. I recommend, if at all possible, finding someone that you very much trust, or someone impartial like a therapist, who can help you bring your shame into the light so you can let it go more easily. Like so much of our work, it will take time. You are so very brave to even try. I hope you know that.

Good luck and I love you!

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