Shame On Shame

A good friend of mine was confiding to me not long ago about being in the process of filing bankruptcy. That fact alone was not especially noteworthy to me and knowing it had about as much of an impact on my opinion of my friend as a gnat someone would brush off their arm.

What was striking to me was her strong desire not to reveal the bankruptcy to certain members of her family, who she believed would not understand or approve but instead would judge her rather harshly.

What I heard and felt in her words as she talked about wanting to hide this information was not just embarrassment but shame. I heard and felt the shame because it somehow touched a place in me where shame had also resided. I recognized shame. And the recognition of it—hers and mine—made me feel, at first, sad . . . and then increasingly angry. But with whom?

So I asked The Shower Team to speak to me about shame: my friend’s . . . mine . . . maybe yours?

The sadness that you are feeling, initially, when you give your attention to this subject, is the sorrow anyone feels when they choose to leave the comfort of unconditional love and to run away to a strange, cold, barren place where they are judged worthy or unworthy by the extent to which they conform to others’ expectations or comply with others’ demands.

When you are connected to Source . . . when you are remembering who You really are–that you are blessed, adored, beings of light–when you remember the well being that abounds and the adoration that abounds for you from the Universe, you cannot feel anything remotely resembling shame. But when you take your eyes off your own connection . . . when you let yourself see yourself through the eyes of others rather than through the eyes of Source . . . then you begin to judge yourself . . . you begin to compare yourself to the standards that others have adopted and proclaimed as good or worthy . . . You measure your “progress” or “success” or “failure” based on where you stand in relation to others as opposed to where you stand in relation to your own connection to Source . . . and you begin to suffer by comparison. You lose your way. You lose your footing. You begin to actually believe that what anybody else thinks or says matters . . . and you decide to make others’ feelings or opinions more important than your own connection . . . more important than your own well being . . . more important than the unconditional love that is always available to you.

It is no wonder you feel sad, for what could be sadder than the sight of a blessed, adored, perfectly lovable child choosing to leave the comfort and joy of a home where unconditional love abounds and running away to a place where unhappy and unfulfilled and harshly critical and demanding others wait to remind you at every turn how poorly you are doing?

We are exaggerating here slightly in order to make a point. The issue is not the malice of those close to you or any pleasure that they take in kicking you when you are down. The point is that when you feel shame, YOU are turning away from what the part of you that is Source knows is true . . . You are separating yourself from the You that you really are, and as a result, you are feeling that separation acutely because Source cannot accompany you on any journey that takes you away from your connection.

No wonder you get angry. Some part of you is recognizing what you are doing to yourself and wanting you to stop it—wanting
you to turn around and see how well it all is going . . . see how beautifully you are getting along, regardless of the specific conditions that you have focused upon that feel embarrassing or shameful to you. No one else’s judgment of you can affect you unless you are judging yourself. Release the judgment you are making of yourself, and the problem of shame or embarrassment or letting others down will have no power over you.

Repeatedly tell yourself this truth– that love is unconditional . . . that love requires only that you be you . . . and that as you are able to offer that kind of love to you, there will be no cause, no justification, no need, no concern, no tolerance of shame. The only remotely shameful thing in your experience is the shame that you allow into your experience and even that is never held against you by anyone who matters—except you.


It’s a shame I didn’t ask the question sooner. I’ve heard people say that guilt and worry are two of the biggest wastes of time and energy that we engage in. Neither one ever really changes what we’re feeling guilty or worried about. Shame seems to be an appropriate addition to that list of colossal and unnecessary time wasters.

I may not be the very sharpest knife in the drawer sometimes, but I understand the value of using my time and energy well. So while I look around for a dumpster to put shame where it belongs . . . I’ll also let myself feel appropriately glad to know that no matter how far off I may wander sometimes from the knowledge of how loved and lovable and generally cool I really am . . . in this case, I can always go home again. Knowing that makes me feel, for the moment, unashamedly complete.

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on August 23, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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