When you were growing up, have you ever heard someone say to a child, “You should be ashamed of yourself!” This usually came after some perceived error in judgment or just plain bad behavior. I wonder if any parent ever stopped to think about those words and what they might mean when someone becomes an adult. I wonder where parents heard those words themselves, took on the shameful perception of themselves, and then unconsciously passed it on as “good morality” teaching. When I hear those words myself, I see a little girl sitting cross legged on a bed with her head down ready to cry.
When a person grows up in shaming then shame is what they carry either unconsciously, consciously, or both. As shaming is passed down through family lines it becomes like a genetic disease. Most of the time it goes unnoticed like a program that runs in the background of a life, just like on a computer. Then it comes out the first opportunity it gets, to stab a person right into the shame wound. The next thing they know it comes out of their pores in the form of anger, fear, humiliation, and the list goes on.
Someone who has been seriously shamed can never take any type of correction, teaching, or instruction. They just believe they are being wronged, bruised, and shamed again and again. This does not end until awareness is brought to the wound. Once something is known it can not be unknown. It becomes a person’s truth and can be very transformative if an individual decides to make it that way.
The next time someone corrects you, tries to teach you, criticizes you, or worse, think about what feelings are suddenly brought up. How does your body feel and is it reacting as well? Sometimes you might feel sick in your stomach, your breath might become faster and shorter, or you might feel like you want to storm off, lash out, or RUN! Pain is always an indicator of illness of any kind. It makes no difference if it is physical or emotional. It brings an opportunity to create healing. The next time a situation brings you distress, instead of blaming another person or a situation, let it be a healing moment.
Close your eyes, put one hand over your heart and one on your stomach. Breath deep and slowly. Ask yourself what feelings this issue is bringing up for you and if you would like to decide to heal yourself instead of react. If you want to heal yourself, sit with God and tell yourself the words that others never seemed to ever say. “I am valuable.” I am enough.” “Others’ opinions or thoughts of me don’t have to be made my own.” “I am deeply loved and admired.” “I am unique and God sees me as powerful.” There are many you can say. Maybe write down some of your own and keep them in a place where you see them every day. Then when shame comes to call, open the door with a self love bomb that sends it packing for good!
Practice makes perfect in this case. Let it become second nature to you. Refuse to pass shame down through family lines. Refuse to allow others words, actions, or thoughts of you make you feel less than what you really are. Instead of blame, heal. Instead of lash out or react, reaffirm. Instead of shame, brilliance!
Loving you from here,
Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie Howry
If you struggle with shame or if you tend to take on others thoughts of you, please call and make an appointment. I can guide you through a course of healing that can reaffirm who you really are!