Shame has its place in our personal and collective histories. It has rooted itself amidst our vulnerabilities, more so today in our culture as most of us have never experienced a time like this before. Primordial communication existed between humans long before words were used. Emotions such as shame were raw in nature, hell bent on wreaking havoc in our roles in familial dynamics and societies, and as it relates to how we see ourselves in this world. Shame is prevalent right now. This pandemic has triggered such a visceral response, none like I have seen before when it comes to this emotion. Whether it is shame of one’s own fear around the pandemic, shame in working through the isolation, shame of contracting the illness, shame of losing one’s job, shame of not being able to pay the bills on time or even put food on the table – an emotion that has separated us from time immemorial is now seeping into the hearts and minds of the collective at such a new level it is creating such a powerful miasm that our ancestors are rolling over in their graves.
Shame lessens our experience of life, our experience of one another, and our experience of ourselves. Our reactions and responses to life become muted in such a way that moving forward becomes a daunting task as we cannot see that forest through the trees. The greater awareness of shame’s purpose is not able to be reconciled within the choices we make, and we continue down that rabbit hole of self deprecation until the shame becomes something familiar, something safe, something that takes away our authenticity and freedom. It’s familiarity becomes a source of comfort in and of itself as we abandon any notion of worthiness, both human and spiritual. When we abandon ourselves due to shame, we reject our true nature and become stuck in that void of separation, unsure of how to find our way back to the light. We then begin that search for power outside of ourselves, seeking a false sense of protection which we think will help us function in this world.
I understand the reasoning behind the surge in this personal and collective emotion. I don’t even ask that we eradicate it. It doesn’t have to be as powerful as we think it is. It can be a tool, a very empowering tool teaching us ways to step outside of that power struggle within ourselves that has established an identity based on an unworthiness so deep that it causes us to act and think in destructive ways. We allow shame to take hold because our own worthiness is too great a risk. Unworthiness is an easier burden to bear.
What is happening to us does not have to create more shame. We are in control of how we emotionally relate to our present circumstances. Our fear, our anger and all the other emotions surfacing as a result of this world crisis are valid emotions and deserve our worthiness so they can be attended to appropriately. Emotional freedom awaits each one of us.