Shame is something we’re unfortunately taught.
When you’re a child there is no worry in your action, no conscious thought regarding how it will look to others. Yet as you grow older certain situations make you feel wrong inside, like you’ve done something bad. Others make you embarrassed, self conscious, to the point where you no longer speak truth for fear of the shame finger.
What drives us to hide our inner feelings from others, to make excuses or explain our actions? If you stop to realize how often it happens, you might be astonished.
Take some time and think on it, how frequently we automatically defend ourselves out of fear or shame. Small things like when your mom or dad ask what you’re doing and instead of telling the truth you say “Oh nothing”, or worse, make something up you think they’d approve of.
Anytime someone has a slight tone in their voice towards an idea or action, how quickly or aggressively you begin explaining yourself; as if you need them to understand lest they shame you. Or times you make risky / major life choices, either internally or externally, only to hide them from others like a dark sin you’re carrying around.
Everyone experiences this.
Some people might argue it stems from our want to be accepted or liked, others might think it’s a defence mechanism because we’re insecure with ourselves. Who knows really? But I don’t like it.
I dislike having a ball inside me of shame and embarrassment, because my lifestyle is different than another person. I hate not being able to say what I’m doing openly and expressively, without being ridiculed by others. I’ve prided myself before, in my youth, about how “free I am”, or how I “care little” about what others think of me, because I still take part in hobbies some would deem childish.
Now, a decade past, I’m still afraid of embracing parts of myself. Not even from other people, but internally. As if doing so will create a downward spiral of judgment and shame shared by all those around me. Meanwhile, the thoughts and feelings are still there, my actions still exist, even in hiding, so what really comes from denying oneself? Why can’t we embrace others and ourselves, regardless of how they, we, are?
Honestly, I don’t know.
But it’s very tiring, this shame game, and I don’t want to play it anymore.
Can you relate?