How often do we, without knowing, either say something that triggers another’s shame or have someone do the same to us?
Do you even know what a shame trigger is and how to recognize when it has been detonated?
Shame has been described as the concept of “rather than what I have done is bad but who I AM is BAD.”
My shame was a quiet ache that lurked in my soul and was covered up with my hunger for sugar, approval from others and my quest for perfectionism. It was a monster looking to be fed and I fed it every day.
I compared my insides with your outsides because I believed that was just my way of wanting to become a better person. And then I judged myself relentlessly when I didn’t measure up.
I struggled to do everything right because why do anything at all if you’re not going to do it right?
I walked on eggshells around angry people because I thought that being a peacemaker was what I was called to do.
And I never really looked at my family of origin because, in my eyes, they were almost perfect and I loved them. Besides why look for anything derogatory when there is so much good to see?
What I discovered was these behaviors were all triggered by my secret Shame.
I questioned myself daily about the choices I made because I lacked confidence. I may have looked like I had things under control, but if you opened up my soul you would’ve seen terror and fear carved over every inch.
I compared myself to you because, in my mind, I was never enough. You were always so far ahead of me, earning more prizes, getting more recognition and achieving more success. And I was always sucking your wind. It was a dreadful place to be, but I was familiar with that spot of always trying to measure up.
And what if I made a mistake? What if you asked something of me and I didn’t do it? Would I be honest and admit it? Most likely not. I would make something up and lie to you about how I had tried when I had really made no effort at all. What if I did what you asked and failed miserably ? How could I be open and honest and just tell you? Because of the shame I carried believing I was defective. There must be something wrong with me if I couldn’t do, with complete success, what I have been instructed to do.
I would simply tuck my shame between my heart and soul and run away.
Being the family hero and peacemaker was a shield I wore with pride. I would make it all better. I would rush to your aid and fix your pain. I would smooth over anyone’s anger and keep everyone safe. That was simply because I had swallowed my voice for so long that there were no words left to scream out my rage for having been harmed and abused by others.
The thought of speaking my truth horrified me and I suffered in silence as I continued to stifle my wrath. Shame stole away my ability to speak up and defend myself.
I am the product of my childhood. The beliefs I was taught, the lies I was told, the dysfunctional system I tried so hard to believe was honorable and true. The behavior that was modeled for me.
Today my journey has begun to open my eyes to truths I never thought I would embrace much less understand.
The shame I carried was never mine in the first place. It belonged to my parents, and their parents and those who raised them. It was passed down from generation to generation and to my sadness and sorrow, I passed it on to my children.
It’s what we do. Hurt people hurt people.
I no longer have to accept anyone else’s truth as my own. I can begin the process to think for myself. I can start opening my mouth and speak up. I can come together with others and recognize that we all deserve to live a life free from judgment, ours and others. It’s okay to stop affirming our own lies.
The time is come to breathe in courage and let go of the bitterness, resentment and anger that has distorted our lives and how we see our world.
We were born enough. We are enough and no matter what happens along the way, we will always be ENOUGH!