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A Little Less Shame, a Lot More Love

A Little Less Shame, a Lot More Love

Ethan

We can learn so much from our pets, in their innocence and purity of heart. They enjoy every moment, they are always excited about the future, and, most of all, they are completely shameless. They live in the present moment, carry no guilt or negative emotions over their actions of the past and, no matter what, they love well. My beautiful puppy Ethan thinks nothing of rolling over and exposing his soft underbelly to be rubbed, whether to me or a complete stranger. He is not ashamed to show who he is, or ask for what he wants. Can you imagine if we did not burden ourselves with the past mistakes we or others had made, but offered forgiveness and love? If we did not hide our weaknesses and showed the world our true selves, unafraid of rejection or disappointment? What a beautiful thought.

Each and everyone one of us carry the burden of shame. Some of this comes from our experiences and lessons learned in childhood, some from choices we have made in our careers and relationships. For many, the shame that is carried dwells deep within our hearts and can affect our ability to go after our dreams or have the kind of intimate relationships we all so desperately want. At its worst, this powerful negativity can influence all aspects of our daily lives. We cower and hide ourselves, for fear of rejection and disappointment; we limit our lives because we are ashamed.

However, whatever the guilt or shame that you may carry, it is important to know that you are not alone. Each human being has experienced something in their lives that they feel shameful about.

The question now becomes, how do we work through the shame? How can we confront it, own it, and forgive ourselves and others for inflicting this pain upon us? One thing I know for sure, as a coach, is that we cannot ever move past anything that we hide deep within the recesses of our soul. Having open & honest, safe & collaborative conversation is one step in owning and overcoming the shames that hold us back. In most cases, revealing what it is that shames us, bringing it into the light and confronting it, lessens its power and, in some cases, even helps us to realize that it truly only existed within our own head and heart to begin with.

I believe it’s the “what ifs” that keep us from truly acknowledging these experiences that limit our lives:

  • What if they know this about me and take their love away?
  • What if they find out I have been dishonest and I don’t get what it is I have worked for?
  • What if I truly say what’s in my heart and I do not get my needs met?
  • What if they find out my secret and think I have no morals? No self-control?
  • What if THEY think poorly of ME?

If you really consider it, all of the “what ifs” are actually about others and their opinions of you. BUT, what about your own opinion? Your thoughts, your views, have the most power.

Not one of us is perfect; all of us have been wounded by others’ actions and have wounded others in return. I know that FORGIVENESS is the key for working through shame, but until we look at the shame head-on, we will not understand what or whom it is we need to forgive.

A series of essays regarding shame was been written by a myriad of women from all different walks of life and was compiled in Amy Ferris and Holly Dexter’s book Dancing at the Shame Prom: Sharing the Stories That Kept Us Small. This book offers hope to each reader because you are not alone in carrying the shame around. You are also afforded a glimpse at the private “shame” that others have had to live with and work through. It really is about turning the fear in our lives into power, and with it, the shame into purpose. Sometimes this can offer a new perspective on your own experience and a new way to deal with it. This book is a tool I highly suggest each person use while working through their past “shames”.

Anything negative in our lives that is left untended eats away at a person’s heart. So take out the spotlight and say NO MORE to the shadows of SHAME that are limiting your life. You may never get rid of it completely, but through acknowledgement and forgiveness, you can take away its power. The shame will no longer quietly possess and hold back you or your life.

So take a lesson from your pets and consider a tomorrow that has a little less shame and shadow, but a lot more love and light. Take back your power, take back your life, and start releasing that shame!

By |November 10th, 2012|Reflections of a Tigress|0 Comments

Practice forgiveness daily

One of the hardest things to do in this word is to really forgive when we have been wronged. When we focus on a person or situation that has hurt us, often times we reflect on the words or actions that caused us pain, either emotionally or physically. It is during these times of reflection that we have the power to choose whether we will come from either fear or love in how we regard what has happened to us. We literally have the power to “change our minds”.

It works like this… when we focus on how someone or something has “wronged” us, we are powerless over the situation and, there for, paralyzed in our pain (this is fear). Forgiveness is less about forgetting what was done and more about moving beyond it to a place of love and healing. When you are capable of looking at the situation with loving eyes, we are empowered to take personal responsibility for our actions, lovingly look at the other person and their pain, and, finally, forgive both ourselves and them. Both are actions that literally create miracles in the world.

A change in perspective is as simple as focusing on love rather than fear. Which will you choose today?

By |November 10th, 2012|Reflections of a Tigress|0 Comments

The Friendship Code ~ Will you pass the friend test?

The Friendship Code ~
Will You Pass the Friendship Test?
In my line of work, I am often told how many of my clients are alone or lonely after the loss of their spouse through divorce.  For many, they are also suffering the loss of friendships that were cultivated during the life of the marriage. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the kind of friend that I am, both to others and to myself.  I have been blessed with diverse, rich friendships, but I have also lost companions over circumstances out of my control.  I believe that to be a “good” friend takes a certain intention and awareness. I also feel we hold onto friendships out of loyalty or habit, even when we no longer feel connected or fed by the relationship. Why do we do this?
          Friendships are critical relationships, but as we get older and begin to really deepen our relationship with ourselves, it is sometimes difficult to keep old friends or make new ones that are aligned with our maturing values. When some of us lose our life partners, our friends are usually our best support. But… how do we keep those friendships alive while in a marriage or during a divorce?
         What kind of friend are you? Are you a taker? A giver? Both? Can you be truly be present for another without needing to fill a personal agenda? Do your friendships feed your spirit; do they nourish your values and are you that type of friend to others? Where can you meet new friends? How can you cultivate new friendships?
         These are all the questions to consider as you “fall” into the quiet of the season.
         At the Center, we will be discussing these questions at our monthly groups – both the Twisted Sister Sharing Circle and the Flying Solo Support Group.  We are also recommending you ponder these questions through literature & film.  A great fall activity is to sit by a fire and read a good book (The Help or Circle of Friends are always great choice) or curling up with a cozy blanket and putting on a fun, friend filled movie, such as Steel Magnolias or Fried Green Tomatoes.
Fall Blessing ~
Beth
By |September 29th, 2012|Reflections of a Tigress|0 Comments