Shame is that dark, powerful feeling that holds us back. Many of us have learned to attach shame to healthy behaviors that are actually in our best interest.
In dysfunctional families, shame can be tagged to healthy behavoirs such as talking about feelings, making choices, taking care of ourselves, having fun, being successful, or even feeling good about ourselves.
Shame may have been attached to asking for what we want and need, to communicating directly and honestly, and to giving and receiving love.
The idea of giving ourselves what we want and need can be confusing, especially if we have spent many years not knowing that it is okay to take care of ourselves.
Sometimes shame disguises itself as fear, rage, indifference, or a need to run and hide. But if it feels dark and makes us feel bad about being who we are, it’s probably shame.
As we heal, we learn to identify shame. When we can recognize it, we can begin letting go of it. We can love and accept ourselves— starting now.
Begin by asking yourself What do I need to do to take care of myself today, or for this moment? What do I need and want to do?
We have a right to be, to be here, and to be who we are. And we don’t ever have to let shame tell us any differently.