Crushing Shame

Emotions are real

“Emotions are real; thoughts are unreal.” Ponder that a moment. The physiological changes that happen in your body, because of emotions, are actual and tangible. The thoughts that produce those emotions are fleeting. Thoughts are like the sucker punch. (Isn’t it peculiar we don’t have a term for “sucker hug”? How many people have gotten acts of loving kindness versus violence or hatred?) Thoughts come. Thoughts disturb. Thoughts disrupt. Thoughts aren’t real.

Emotions are real. Feel where they come from. Feel where they go. Feel where they sit. Do emotions you label as “positive” sit in a different place than emotions you label as “negative”? Does your heart change its pace for some emotions and not others? Do you sweat or feel cool?

Shame debilitates

What causes shame? Thoughts. Naming the feeling of shame is the beginning of healing. Examining the root cause of those thoughts is the real work. When did the thought begin? Where did it come from? What do I think now?

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on

Shame is a shackle that weighs future action against implanted intention. Races are not won. Victories are not obtained. Failure is an emotion that is felt. Wow, how insidious shame can be, to have failed before beginning. Shame meets you at the starting line, is there along the path, but never is on the sidelines to cheer you forward.

Crush shame and H.E.A.L.

There’s a place you can go to arrest the thoughts that bring shame. It isn’t through resistance. It isn’t through avoidance. It is through healing. It is through being.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on

To heal, consider this acronym: H.E.A.L. Begin by Halting. It is okay to hit pause. Take a moment. Take two moments. You will need time to help you get through this process. And then Examine. Go through your feelings and pinpoint where you are feeling them and what thoughts produced them. Allow those feelings. There’s no need to hold onto or try and resist the thoughts, just sit with the feeling. See if you can notice when it came and when it dissipates–the exact moment. And finally, Love yourself.

Put a hand on your heart (both hands if desired) and tell yourself, “I love you, I forgive you, I give you permission to move forward.” Say it again. And again. And again.

I love you.

I forgive you.

I give you permission to move forward.


Leave a Reply