In my walk, I have seen most people are experiencing toxic shame which shows up as looping patterns of feeling unworthy and wrong. They feel like they are a terrible person and have done a terrible thing, creating deeper feelings of being unworthy and wrong.
In our culture most people have not learned there is a difference when experiencing shame that is healthy and productive to help them stop a behavior or create a new pattern of behavior.
Toxic shame is counter-intuitive, not healthy and does not serve in healing. Toxic shame just adds another level to whatever issue the person is dealing with because toxic shame is disempowering and bad for our Soul. No wonder people want to avoid feeling shame!
Healthy shame, from my experience, is a real element of being human. We do things wrong. We make mistakes. Healthy shame is a real way of owning and being accountable for our mistakes, which is also part of our humanity. In healthy shame we are given the opportunity to go into our life lessons, in order to process, rectify, and learn from what we have done. Healthy shame is purposeful, serves to create change, cultivates healthy conviction, and has the ability to transform us.
In Healthy Shame...
● I can see what I have done wrong, or what I am currently doing that is not right for me. I can see the impact of my actions on others, because healthy shame clears up my ability to see myself.
● I feel and see how my actions are not aligned with me, my beliefs, or my true nature.
● I see myself and others with greater clarity because using healthy shame helps me stay open. Being open enables me to see and feel my life. This openness is where I go into the heart of my life lessons.
● I feel the burning sensation of healthy shame throughout my body, which may be concentrated around my chest and throat. This burning sensation is my natural emotional purification.
● If I use healthy shame to hold myself accountable, allowing myself to feel badly, to feel the burning sensation about what happened or what I did, this process can be part of my rectification. This is a natural way of redeeming myself energetically, physically, and emotionally if I am open, allowing the process to take its course.
● I am willing to stay open and experience healthy shame when it is needed.
● Healthy shame gives me energy to change. It burns up the emotional charge around what occurred, and clears up my energetic field. This process gives me more energy. I am not depleted.
● Healthy shame has the power to burn my life lessons through me so I learn those lessons in a deep and profound way.
● My openness to experiencing healthy shame naturally opens me to experiencing my life, my loved ones, and the people around me to a higher degree. I am more open because I am not hiding or avoiding things in order to avoid shame.
● This natural process is transformative! Healthy shame has a built in mechanism of cleansing, healing, learning, and transformation.
In Toxic Shame...
● I feel heavy, unworthy and I feel wrong. I am drained of energy. Irredeemable.
● I feel panicky or out of control. I feel futility and dread take me over. I feel deflated and depressed.
● My reality feels precarious and/or distorted. My life feels murky.
● I shouldn’t be here. I know better than this. I shouldn’t still be dealing with this. This shouldn’t have happened. I should know what to do. I need to fix this. I need to figure this out.
You are not supposed to know what to do here. This is Divine order that you do not know how to fix this. Your life is trying to move you into a new place. You have not been in this place, so it is unknown. You cannot know how to get there. Being open to not knowing helps break you out of the loop of toxic shame if you will allow it to.
● I am so collapsed on how wrong and bad I am it is hard to see myself and stay open. When I am in this collapsed place I cannot see all the potentials and lessons trying to unfold. I am just looping in my terrible feelings.
● I feel I cannot let others fully see me. I need to hide. I cannot expose parts of me that might make me feel deficient.
● I cannot really see the people in my life when I am so busy trying to hide and avoid truth. Most of my attention is on myself and managing what others might be seeing or thinking about me.
● This whole toxic reaction feels so terrible, I do whatever I can to avoid shame.
● The toxic process does not end. It recycles itself over and over and our shame gets deeper into our psyche. I can punish myself over the same thing forever.
● In this place of deep shame I feel sure others are making me feel bad and ashamed... they make me feel bad and wrong. Then I feel the need to defend myself... whatever is happening is not my fault! I feel terrible. Toxic shame scrambles and distorts what other people say to me. In my toxic shame I hear some form of criticism, scolding and condemnation in almost everything.
● Someone else must be to blame for how I feel or for what happened, because this is too much for me to handle or carry on my own. I feel victimized.
● I also feel like whatever occurs is my fault... in any given situation there is an underlying feeling I have done something. I may not even be sure what. I feel unease much of the time.
● Toxic shame makes me feel like I need to guard myself against others and life.
● I tell myself my toxic shame proves that I care. If I hold it long enough and feel terrible enough, this means I am truly sorry. This may even prove I am a good and worthy person.
● Toxic shame can be a built in mechanism to control others. The way this shows up is that my loved ones know without being told what triggers me into my toxic shame response. If they care about me they will avoid those trigger points.
Healthy shame is a powerful avenue in healing and transformation. Healing the most dark and wounded parts of yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your loved ones. If this article has awakened a desire to experience a new way of being, we would love to help guide you through your process of healing and transformation.
photos courtesy of morguefile.com/Sgarton; Natureworks