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Shame Does Not Rule My Happiness

Yesterday was a very difficult day. I didn’t get in a fight with anyone. I didn’t make a huge mistake that cost people money. I didn’t watch a murder happen outside my door. I didn’t even watch TV or listen to the news.

I became vulnerable. I flung the doors of my insides wide open and shared a personal struggle with food (see Nov 17 blog).

I was fine through the meditation and reflections. However, I could feel my stomach knotting tighter and tighter as the minutes ticked by until I hit end Zoom.

When I stood up my knees were shaking so I immediately sat back down. I was stunned. I don’t know how many times I’ve come out in this lifetime, but this was definitely another ‘coming out’ to check off my list.

There’s something deep inside me that compels me to share my process. Maybe it’s the years of living in a toxic household with everyone emoting behind their façade. Maybe it’s my commitment to truth and my willingness to demonstrate truth to the very core of my being. Maybe it’s accumulated hurts from those who couldn’t tell me their truth even though I could feel it, and ultimately leave our relationship.

I don’t know.

I do know I love myself through my shame because I am worth it.

I do know the majority of people walking on this earth judge themselves using shame and guilt as a guide to their actions.

I do know I don’t want to play the shame game anymore.

I do know I want to be honest with myself

I do know I choose who I share with always discerning my safety.

I do know I am never alone with my experiences, that others struggle too.

I do know I am doing the best I can walking in my shoes on this earth and you are too.

As I learn to walk with fear at my side, I also walk with shame at my side. Shame does not rule my happiness. I feel shame and live life anyway.

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ― Brene Brown


  • I think of grief as a process of healing from hurt and loss

  • I think of fear as a signal to pay attention to something important or urgent

  • I think of despair as a call to transform my sense of life’s meaning and to renew my faith

  • What my grief says about me is that I am open, tender-hearted and loving

  • What my fear says about me is that I am human

  • What my despair says about me is that I need to take care of myself and attend to my soul

  • If I fully experienced my grief, I would feel more fully alive and grateful for each moment

  • If I fully experienced my fear, I would be able to enjoy my life more

  • If I fully experienced my despair, I would renew myself and have more integrity and meaning in my life

  • What I’d most like to do with my grief is use it to grow in compassion

  • What I’d most like to do with my fear is use it wisely to serve and protect those I love

  • What I’d most like to do with my despair is learn from it how to see clearly and live fully in the light and dark of existence

And so it is

Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you so much. I only wish I could express everything that’s in my heart every morning, especially this morning as you share and allow yourself to show us your vulnerability and your strength. As a child who was abused for decades, I can stem every addiction and all this spiritual warfare back to not feeling heard, not feeling nurtured when I expressed it, and learning not to express it because it wouldn’t be met. When I hear you share and I sit in this group and look out at this sea of beautiful faces and souls, even without speaking, I feel heard. It’s important for me to know that even without you speaking, I hear you all. Thank you for creating this community and for the bravery to allow us to witness, and in tandem with you, transform and shed all the façade and let our spirits shine.

  • Thank you. For meditation, I was taught to empty the mind. I’ve gotten to a place where I have made peace with my mind and have it work with me in tandem. I am giving myself permission to meditate with thought, and give myself contemplative meditation. I take what you say and let it resonate in the hollow of my center and see what comes up and listen to it. I took the words grief, fear, and despair. I started repeating them. I took my virtual flashlight and said where is that stuff, how can I lift it up and transform it. Someone turned me on to a CD of songs that, I realized today, have become affirmations for me. Two of the songs blended together and I started hearing a chorus in my soul "Joy, Joy, Joy" (by Francine Jerry and Abraham-Hicks). The other song said “I Can Begin Again.” These songs have started to bubble up throughout my day. I recognized this bubbling up today during the meditation. It’s been transforming for me, even more powerful than the affirmations on stickies put around my house.

  • That’s the art of transforming and transmuting, taking something and replacing it, that works in our favor.

  • I haven’t figured out how shame and guilt are tied in. When you were speaking, I was remembering a job I had for years. In the job, I helped people. But as I was leaving that job, in a difficult way, I found out that people were talking behind my back. I still have some hurt and anger over. It was because I let myself be vulnerable and spoke my truth. Sometimes I was falling apart, although I stayed professional. Maybe because I was so broken open, I was able to really help some people. I could feel their despair and I tried to lift them up with kindness and my resources. Since that job, I have become more protective of what I share. Here in this group, I feel like I can share anything and I’ve cried a lot. Thank you.

  • Your role at that job sounded very helpful, though the management was very toxic. That is not your fault. The fact that the management did not control the underlying triangulation that you experienced at that job was not your fault. It’s not your responsibility to figure that out, it was a toxic environment. It was their responsibility. Management failed to do their job.

  • Thank you so much. You are spot on today. Everything that I am learning here is penetrating into me. I’m noticing the reactions I get from people in my life when I speak up and voice my truth. At times, some reactions are anger like they are supposed to scare me or shame me. I’ve also noticed that certain people respond saying that’s fine, they hear me, it’s okay with what I am saying. I’ve had toxic jobs too. At one of my jobs, my boss told me I walked too slow. I’ve always done things to feel safe and just so. It feels good to speak up, but it’s scary too. It’s interesting to notice other’s responses. I’m getting better. I’m not making their response my problem.

  • As you practice this, you get better at standing straight within yourself with any response. It is hard and you are practicing. It’s good.

  • While you were speaking, I had this image of you as the Warrior of Great Heart and Courage that you are. When you were writing about your battles and struggles and your legs were shaking, I had this image of you as a warrior that keeps going. I turned the contemplation to myself and asked how do I do that? I felt that I don’t have that depth, that ability. Then what came to me was Jesus saying in greater deeds than me that you will do. It’s in all of us, we can all do it. We have God in us and we can do it.

  • I absolutely believe that. I have faked it until I made it, with my knees shaking, my voice shaking, even throwing up because I am worth it. As everyone else here is. I’ve visualized the same embedded in me unvoiced and it becomes pockets of pus. Until I air out my shame, it’s going to stay there and fester and remind me it is there. I keep turning it over, lifting up another rock. It’s hard. I don’t do it with people I don’t trust. I do it with community I trust, around people I trust. Otherwise, it’s like walking into a propeller blade. It’s choosing our moments, taking a breath, and sharing with ourselves first. It’s a process.

  • I think we need to have our antennae up to see who the other is, if they are open and supportive or toxic. We don’t have to share with people who are toxic. We need to share with ourselves and protect ourselves from letting toxicity in.

  • I practice discernment and I’ve been fooled before. I know how to discern and I’ve been fooled that someone I thought was safe turned out to not be safe, and that hurts. Then I go back to the drawing board, rebuild, regroup, and do it again. It’s the key to freeing myself from my own inside prisons.

  • Thank you for sharing this time, thank you for sharing your hearts, sharing the trust you have in yourselves for sitting with yourself for 15 minutes. I wish you all a gentle day and I hope you all walk in peace.

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