There is no such thing as shame. It is just an artificially inculcated thought, forcing us to wrongly believe that not disappointing others is more important than not disappointing ourselves. It is time to let this unuseful belief go.
According to the hierarchy of people around you, you should be at the top. Your own happiness is the most important one. You can’t make others happy unless you are first happy with yourself.
Because your own happiness is the source of the happiness of others around you. Therefore, your own happiness is simply the most important thing in your life, which you need to take care of. Shame is not part of happiness at all. It simply doesn’t belong to it. It never did and never will.
Shame is just a toxic and totally useless feeling that has been implanted in you, “saying” that you have done something that you were “not supposed to,” or that you haven’t pleased somebody you were “supposed to”, in the way she/he expected from you. Shame is a feeling that has been imposed on you, then not consciously chosen by you. Why on earth would you freely choose a feeling, which is one of the obstacles to your happiness?
Who would know, better than you, what you are supposed or not supposed to anyway? Who would know the path towards your own happiness, better than you? Shame has always been a great way for others (including institution, government, and many religions) to manipulate you. For example, it is in the highest interest of institutions like government to foster and increase the feeling of shame in you, so you can be easily manipulated and controlled.
It is time to let go of shame, and mainly of the thought of shame itself. It is time to be free again. Shame never helps you; it only prevents you from becoming better, stronger and happier. Shame is not meant to be part of your life and happiness. It never was and never will be.
The good news is that shame is just a feeling. And, because any kind of negative feeling (shame is one of the most negative feelings) can be let go, the same applies to shame.
I can’t express strongly enough what a dramatic impact letting go of shame has on life. I can refer to my own experience. Once the feeling of shame vanishes, you immediately feel lighter, more relaxed, and happier. It is very difficult to be controlled by others, because simply there is not any “leverage” that could allow them to control you anymore. It is difficult not to be happy when there is no feeling of shame and guilt anymore. And remember, it is just a feeling – we already know that any negative feeling can be let go, once and forever.
In general, shame has got many faces and we usually have so many different kinds of thoughts and memories connected to shame that might also be suppressed deeply in our bodies (it is one of the most suppressed feelings in general), which quite often requires many letting go sessions. But, it’s worth every penny and the long term impact is life changing once we learn how to let go of the feelings of shame.
One of the best ways to start letting go of shame is letting go of the feeling of having shame because of feeling shame (it might sound a bit confusing at first glance, but when you really think of it, you will realize that this is the most common kind of shame – feeling guilt and shame because we feel ashamed).
All of that can and should be, let go.
Here is the letting go process for shame:
- Find a quiet place, where nobody can disturb you. Shame is a very intimately perceived feeling, and it’s important to be just with yourself when letting go of shame for the first time.
- Close your eyes and bring up any recent feeling of shame, or feeling of being ashamed.
- Start embracing and experiencing these feelings fully.
- Sometimes, this can be really hard and unpleasant, but it is only for a while. It is important to continue. Also, there can be some stronger immediate emotional expressions as shame is being released. Don’t block anything; it will last only a small moment.
- Start surrendering yourself to these feelings; let them express themselves fully all over your body (or any other part where you feel them most intensively). Don’t push them back; don’t block them or act on them either. Just let them be in their natural way and instead, be an independent observer of them, as if they weren’t even yours. Be an observer and let any emotions come out, as they want to.
- Try not to connect these feelings to any stories or circumstances; try not to rationalize them. Try not to think about them at all. Just look at them as pure emotion, which wants to be expressed and released. Don’t judge them; don’t push them back; just observe.
- After a while, make a decision about letting the feeling of shame go once and forever, and then let it actually go and disappear.
- Because the number of negative feelings related to shame can be quite often pretty intense and deep, you will probably need to repeat steps 1-5 several times. Also, make this a daily practice if any kind of other feelings of shame come up anytime soon. Shame sometimes requires some time (weeks and months) to be completely let go.