I never imagined the extent of personal growth I would experience when I committed to leading a series on healing shame this summer. With every topic, I discovered new pockets of my own shame that wanted love and acceptance.
I’m happy to say that the people participating in the series in our group, Spiritually Human, have had a similar experience. It’s so rare to meet with others and discuss the parts of our lives that we keep hidden. Thus far, we’ve gathered to heal shame around the following topics:
- Body Image
- Addictive tendencies and patterns of escape
Our focus has been on meeting shame as it arises through the body. I’ve included some type of meditation or somatic experience in each of the gatherings so that people can discover how the face of shame looks in their own mind and body.
We’ve learned that while the particular expression is very unique to each person, the sinister nature of the energy remains the same. This shame is here to tell us that we are unworthy, unlovable, and broken. It comes to prevent us from shining our light, expressing our creativity, and connecting to our power.
Shame feels dark and insidious. It makes us believe that we are the only ones who don’t deserve to be seen and loved exactly as we are. It’s sneaky like that.
However, the truth dawns upon us at each gathering like an epiphany that we are not alone. Our shame is not a reliable voice when it says that we should keep hiding because we aren’t enough as we are.
When you sit across from another human being and hear their vulnerabilities, you realize that we are not so different from one another. It's not that we realize we aren’t broken, so much as that we realize that we are all a little broken in one way or another.
We see that being human is not about fixing ourselves and having it all together. It’s actually about love. It’s about loving and holding the parts of us that are still five years old or terrified or confused.
The goal of human life is not to figure it all out. The opportunity of human life is to open to all the messiness and choose to love anyway. When you realize that you don’t have to change yourself to love yourself, shame loses its power. It diffuses itself.
Surprisingly, this even means that we don’t have to fix shame. Shame can show up at times, and we can learn not to believe the story it tells us. We can build our vulnerability muscles together— in community— to know that all humans have a story with painful beginnings and unpredictable endings.
We can see each other, and truly see ourselves. We can stop fighting or postponing the invitation to open our hearts to what is already here. We can know that we do belong… because we don’t have to do it alone.
Together, we can open.
Together, we can forgive.
Together, we can love.
And together, we can rise.