Where Does Shame Come From? (2/3)
What if Shame Doesn’t Mean What We Think It Means – Part 2
Shame seems like a modern curse, but as we answer the question, “Where does shame come from,” we see that it has been with humanity for as long as we’ve been human. There’s a very good reason for that.
In Part 1, we dug into the ‘negative’ emotions and I offered that maybe, just maybe, there might be a positive reason to have those feelings that feel so bad.
I focused in on anxiety because it’s a pattern that we carry with us ALL THE TIME. We live in a culture obsessed with obsession… one that tells us to be anxious about everything.**
We finished with the idea that anxiety has a very useful purpose that we can use to steer toward our Destiny.
If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you can click here to do that.
So, anxiety is just a caution sign to alert us to the reality that we are heading out of our Comfort Zone and into something new. But, because we’ve never been trained to see anxiety as useful and we’ve certainly never been taught how to understand what it’s trying to tell us and then process and release it, it accumulates in the body.
Trapped and stagnant, anxiety creates a toxic swirl that generates a generalized anxiety where we become afraid of everything or taking any new step and we get very, very stuck – we become paralyzed.
What Shame Means
Shame (and the rest of the ‘negative’ emotions), I’ve since learned, works much the same way. And they feed on each other, building and building into a mountain of doubt that keeps us from moving toward our Destiny.
Shame tells us that we’re broken. Shame tells us that there is something uniquely and desperately and permanently screwed up about us that cannot be fixed. It takes us so deep into our own swirl that we lose all hope of ever being good enough or loveable enough or worthy enough to succeed or do anything worthwhile or notable and so we slowly sink to the bottom of our own toxic shame, never to be heard from again.
When we are in shame, the slightest signal is all it takes to tell us that we are in the wrong and we need to change and shut up and go back into hiding… right now. And we do. It’s safer there.
We are ALL in shame ALL of the time.
(pause. read that again. it’s important.)
The other thing that I’ve realized about shame is that it’s the dominant emotion – the air we breathe – at the first 6 Values Levels.
(don’t know what Values Levels are? no problem, you can learn about them here…)
Until we break free of first tier reality issues, shame is what runs us every moment of every day. Whether we’re trying to ‘fit in’ with our community – our tribe – or we’re trying to stand out and make our mark, our dominant driver is shame.
We are thoroughly and totally controlled by it.
And it isn’t until we realize it’s true purpose and break free of it that we can experience the freedom of the upper tiers and really shine as we move toward our Destiny.
So, what’s the purpose of shame?
That’s a great question.
I used to think that there wasn’t a purpose to shame, not really. But then, as I said, I had this realization – this moment of decision – that a good God would not design us to feel something that was only meant for evil.
So, if shame wasn’t meant for ill, what was it meant for?
To help us fit in.
Yup. That’s it.
Our shame is our biggest warning signal that we’re about to do – or are currently doing something – that doesn’t fit in with the norms of our tribe. And not fitting in with the tribe has historically been very dangerous.
It is the warning signal of all warning signals that we’re doing something different.
And doing something different might just be a very good thing.
In fact, I can guarantee that it’s your Destiny.
But it wasn’t always a good thing…
Y’see, humans have evolved through several different types of community structure and for the vast majority of human history we were pack animals. We lived in small family tribes where every member relied on every other member.
In a world that was very hostile to our survival, it was often very literally a case of ‘we all survive or we all perish’. There wasn’t room for outliers – for exceptions to the rule.
If you were ‘different’, you were a threat.
Shame was Designed To Keep Us Alive… Not Make Us Want To Be Dead
A very literal, very real threat to the lives of the tribe.
(and when people are triggered into shame, they still experience it as a very real threat to their life – it is a very real feeling in their body)
If you weren’t reliable. If you weren’t safe. You were a life threatening danger.
And so shame was gifted to us as the most effective way to make sure that everyone stayed in line. That everyone pulled in the same direction and preserved the tribe.
Like I said, it’s baked right into our DNA. You come from a very long lineage that has used and experienced shame as a survival mechanism.
It’s used on us from the very moment we are born – even before we are born – to tell us what is right and what is wrong and what behaviour is acceptable and what behaviour is not.
When you’re highly attuned to shame – and we all are – all it takes is a lifted eyebrow or intonation shift from someone in a position of authority or trust and you will bury whatever it is that you were doing or saying because you instantly know that what you were doing or saying or even thinkingof doing or saying is not okay. Not acceptable. And therefore not safe.
If you continue down this path, you will lose love and acceptance. You will be cast out into a cold dark world where you will surely die.
We All Fear the Cold, Lonely Night
Every single person – EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. – that I’ve done a shame excavation with has had this fear somewhere in their psyche.
We ALL fear it.
Being cast out. Being alone in a cold, dark world.
It’s our genetic inheritance.
And, if you’re like me, you’re a generational chain breaker. That means that you’re here to break the hold that millennia of shame teachings have on us.
It’s no small thing.
But it’s everything.
When you take your first sips of free air.
When you feel the full light and warmth of love on your skin and your soul – without it having to travel through the haze of shame – you’ll truly know freedom.
Until then, it’ll stay a doubtful possibility.
But, I’m here to tell you that it is possible.
It’s a very real possibility.
We live at an extraordinary moment in human history.
We live in the first time period where we are not reliant on our tribe for survival. Even though our tribe will try to tell us that that’s not true.
(Our tribe will always choose our safety over our Destiny. It’s only when we surrender to that and continue to move forward anyway that we will make real progress)
We live in a beautifully expanded, inter-connected global community. Now, you can build your own tribe from all parts of the world. You’re no longer reliant on fitting in with your family, or your small town, or even your national culture, to survive or to succeed.
Find Your People + Break Your Generational Chains
These days, when you’re a generational chain-breaker, game-changer and world-builder you have access to, literally, the whole world through technology. And that means that you will find people who resonate with your message. You will, no matter what your beliefs, find people who move toward you when you speak your truth.
(and that’s created a whole swack of new problems and we’ll talk about those later: incels and hate groups rooted in shame and fear – remember that every light has a shadow)
So, for the first time, we’re living in a world where we can be radically different. Where we can shine our differences out to the world. And where we can shine without endangering our tribes’ – or our own – survival.
Even though we still carry those fears with us (remember, they’re baked in) and, for the most part, even though they still dominate our every action and thought, every moment of every day.
(Please get this, it’s so important. When your shame gets triggered you literally experience a life or death threat reaction. It’s very real and it can cause anxiety or panic attacks. We have to take shame very seriously and treat it very tenderly. People will die to defend their shame and if we are insensitive to it, very real harm can occur. Shame work isn’t fluff.)
What’s the Gift of Shame?
So, assuming that we can shift all of this toxic sludge of shame (we can, I promise) and assuming that we can get free (we can, pinky swear) then the question becomes:
So, what the heck is the point of shame when it’s healthy? Is that even possible?
In Part 3, we’ll go deeper into how to use shame to take you toward your Destiny.
See you in Part 3.
Blessings and grace,
** If you’re a Christian, or at all familiar with popular Bible sayings, you might notice how being obsessed with anxiety is the exact opposite of what the Bible asks us to do. That’s a clue. 😉 It’s pretty common to see a difference when we start looking at how society tells us to behave versus how God tells us we can choose to be.
It’s one of the main reasons that I do actually read my Bible, it’s a great source of instruction about how to have peace and joy, instead of shame and anxiety. And it is a tragedy that so many people have been hurt by people in the church who confused shame with freedom. If you’re one of my ‘church-hurt’ peeps, I just want you to know that just because people can be horrifying ass-hats, it doesn’t mean that God is one too.
Don’t Worry About Anything… Ancient Words of Comfort
Here’s the verse for comparison – it’s from Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Just let that soak into your soul and soothe your spirit. ahhhhh… tell God what you need. I believe that so strongly. Just tell God what you need. When you stop trying to micro-manage the Universe and surrender your burdens to God, you’ll start to experience peace.
People ask me how I’ve been able to raise my vibration and change my life so drastically and this is the core of it: I’m no longer alone. It’s no longer me vs. the Universe. Now, I’ve got the Universe at my back and God’s angel armies cheering me on when I step out toward my Destiny.
I want that for you, too. You can have it. Peace and joy. Deep inside. A knowing that all will be well. Today. Just stop and breathe and ask for help. Ask God for what you need. Say ‘Thank You’. And then notice the feelings that sweep through you. It’s a beginning.
If you ever want to talk about it, I’m here. 🥰🥰🥰
Love what you’re reading? Pin it!
It makes life so much easier. 😀
Vanessa Long is creator of the Seasons of Success and author of Discovering Your Passionate Purpose. Focused on providing straight-forward, no b.s. solutions, strategies, and support to move you from where you are to where you yearn to be. It’s time to tap into your purpose and build a life that expresses all of who you were designed to be.
Read Similar ArticlesPosted in: Divine Temple - Mindset, Health + Wellness, Emotional Management
Tagged as: Anxiety, Chain Breaker, Freedom, Good Enough, Negative Emotions, shame, Tribe, Values Levels, where does shame come from, Worthy
One Reply to Where Does Shame Come From? (2/3)
Comments are closed.