For the longest time I have hidden from my shame, this sounds familiar I am sure.
My shame felt like I had alienated former friends and family by embracing my gender identity. Shame at announcing a relationship with huge fanfare for it to collapse mere weeks later. Shame at seeing younger people achieve things I wanted before I could. Shame that I let my mental health spiral to a point I felt I couldn’t carry on with life. I could go on, and on, but I won’t.
I recently read something about shame, that referred to it as the things that haunt us, we create a haunted house of shame constructed of all the things we fear about ourselves. In reality, we can never fully explain this to anyone else, because all humans are haunted by past decisions, experiences, and people. However, how we see this construction redefines how we feel about it.
The things I currently feel haunted by, the disappointments, the things I wish I could have handled differently, and the fear I hold onto are all the things that have carried me to where I am now. They have made me into the person I am right now, the situations may have been less than good, but they have given me the life experience I currently use. Shame in a context of compassion for ourselves is guidance.
Opening up to shame is good for you, naming this fear allows you to be in the driving seat of response. You feel less need to run away, and instead, embrace what you have already been through, and use that as a sounding board to help you in future situations.
Opening up to shame, welcoming it as an imperfect confidant, means you can work on your relationship with yourself in a healthy way. Shame is nothing to ashamed of, instead, it is a useful tool of guidance to nurture your future.
So are you ready to open up to shame?