Speak Your Shame

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Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Shame?

In the book Shame and Grace by Lewis B. Smedes he states there is such thing as healthy shame. He refers to healthy shame as a voice from our true self. His book includes the following quote:

“The feeling of shame is a fact which absolutely distinguishes [us] from lower nature”.
– Vladimir Soloviev

I read that chapter and it really resonated. It makes sense that when feeling shame it’s a signal that something is off. For example, I recall feeling shame when someone introduced themselves to me at a networking event with their job title. And that job title was quite an impressive one. She then followed with the dreaded question (dreaded to those who hate their jobs of course) ‘what do you do?’. I felt shame stating my job title which was a much lower level than hers. That could be viewed as healthy shame meaning that I wasn’t in the right role for me and I wasn’t living up to my potential.

He goes on to say that shame is a painful signal that we are not living the life we were meant to live and it’s a first step towards healing. That is if we recognize the feeling of shame. Shame is one of those ambiguous emotions. It can feel like sadness, embarrassment, depression etc. Once we recognize shame for what it is, we can use it as fuel to motivate us to become the best version of ourselves. But we need not be afraid of it, we need to approach it with an inquisitive mind and inquire what it is there to teach you. When we do that, we will discover parts of ourselves that were well hidden yet worth knowing. That discovery will serve you well on your journey to your higher self.


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The Social Media Mask

Is social media yet another mask we hide behind to protect ourselves from vulnerability? I recently saw this Youtube video called ‘Live Life the Real Way’. It begins by saying “I have 422 friends yet I am lonely”.

Click here to watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zA5SK0usRZE&feature=youtu.be

How many people on social media feel the same way? How many people are hiding behind a screen? Showcasing only the best of their lives yet hiding the worst? How many of us are comparing the worst of our lives to the best of their ‘friends’ lives. For example “Wow look at those pics Bob just posted! He just got back from Jamaica – lucky guy! And I just got laid off…. urgh life isn’t fair”. What isn’t fair is us comparing the challenging aspects of our lives to the joyous aspects of our ‘friends’ lives’. Bob could have just gotten laid off too. But just as you aren’t posting that on social media, neither is he. It looks better to show pics of his Caribbean vacation than to be honest about his reality. Who knows, maybe Bob is deeply in debt and this trip was yet another purchase added to a maxed out credit card. Who knows? That’s the point…we don’t know. When we don’t know we can’t assume nor can we compare. Everyone on social media is wearing a mask and showing you only what they want you to see.

Social media protects us from being vulnerable because we can control what we want to showcase; however, you can’t protect yourself from pain without protecting yourself against joy as well.

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Does vulnerability win votes?

I read an article recently about Justin Trudeau referring to his mother. She had come forward with her struggles with mental health. He stated she taught him there is power in vulnerability. He learned from his mother to be open and honest with the voting public.

For example, he admitted to smoking marijuana as recently as a few years ago. Many politicians would shy away from stating those personal facts about themselves in fear of making them look ‘less than perfect’ to constituents. However, being vulnerable and stating those things have the opposite effect in most cases. Politicians become more relatable and real. I want to vote for a real person. Not a projected image.

Think back to former President Bill Clinton. During the Monica Lewinski scandal he was still very popular and had the support of the American people. He also ended his second term with the highest end-of-office approval rating for any U.S. President since World War II. How could that be? Perhaps, Bill Clinton showed us he was a flawed person…flawed like many of us.