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Letting Go of Shame and Humiliation
In our world, there is nothing worse than being humiliated. In fact, it’s even shameful to talk about humiliation of any kind. Recently this has begun to change. Some very courageous people are stepping up and launching our collective healing around this most debilitating, negative emotion.
Last year, shame researcher, Brene Brown’s TED talk went viral as an indication that our culture is finally realizing the devastating effect of shame. In her TED talk, Dr Brown shared, to avoid experiencing shame, we’ll do just about anything. Most commonly we take action to numb ourselves. We overeat, over medicate, watch excessive amounts of television, become a “holic”. Workaholic, shopaholic, alcoholic, chocoholic, sexaholic, sugarholic, cleanaholic, blogaholic – Yikes!
Clearly, we live in a culture of avoidance.
Let’s look at what people will do to avoid being humiliated. Remember Martha Stewart and her insider trading choices? All Martha needed to do was tell the truth. Admit her very human actions. Instead, we all know what happened next. She lied and went to jail for it. In a sense, Martha took the heat for many people’s shame-inducing lies. It’s important to consider that what she did was understandably human. We can all relate to her choices even if we don’t want to admit we would have done the same thing.
At the core of this avoidance of shame and humiliation is a deep misunderstanding. Our culture believes humiliation is a sister to humility. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Humility requires a strong sense of self-worth and compassion. A truly humble person is not a victim to the effects of the world. They accept the ups and downs of life. This includes an honest acceptance of themselves, warts and all. Humility says, “I did what I believed to be right at the time, knowing what I knew then.”
Martha avoided humility, seeing it as a threat. A guarantee to humiliation. How did this work for her? It didn’t. Martha went to jail where she likely experienced the humility that was inaccessible at the time of the trading scandal.
“Perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, irritable or sore; to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me.
“It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised, it is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and pray to my Creator in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is seeming trouble. ”
Let Go Humiliation and Feel Joy!
Dr Brene Brown suggested that our addiction to numbing shame contributes to our unconscious numbing of joy. When we suppress the negative she theorized, we unknowingly suppress the positive. Dr Mario Maritnez, who authored the audio course, The Mind Body Code, presents information that agrees with Dr Brown. He encourages us to use a form of mind / body, letting go which takes us beyond the limited mental-focused healing practices into the body where true healing occurs. His work reminds us we are not just a mind therefore the healing needs to include the body. Of course, I believe this is exactly why the letting go process works!
Dr Martinez suggests a shaming wound also has an antidote emotion or state. To heal shame we need honour.
I’ve worked personally with the antidote of honour. For example after I’ve done the letting go process for sensations of humiliation or shame I then allow myself to experience the emotions of honour. After many letting go sessions, I have shifted my antidote for shame from honour to adoration. What I mean by this is, I allow myself to feel adored and to remember experiences when I felt adored and when I adored myself. Honour felt a little too official and frankly too masculine for me. I relate better to adoration, my personal antidote for shame.
Let’s conclude by taking this moment from the mind to the body. Allow yourself to do the letting go method on a story of humiliation or feelings of being ashamed. Then allow the experience of honour and adoration to fill your body, mind and spirit.