This is a great talk by Brene Brown.
She describes the difference between shame and guilt very elegantly here. She has done extensive research about shame, and states that it is a cause of depression, anxiety and suicide in most cultures.
She talks about shame as an epidemic in our culture and how the media and society program us for shame. The ads that tell us how we “should be,”
and what we “should be doing.” …to the people in our lives that expect us to live up to unreasonable standards.
Shame can come from abuse and emotional trauma in our childhoods, and in our adulthood experiences. Shame is programmed into us by others. You can re-wire the brain with thought patterns that are more supportive for you. Shame is a destroyer.
I believe that many mental disorders are based in shame. I work with abuse survivors that carry loads of shame from their past. Even when people come to the realization that they were abused, the shame does not just go away. In fact sometimes it becomes worse, during the healing process because old wounds are being opened up.
Walking through the programs that are in your brain is important, to be able to find the truth about yourself. You are a special, unique person.
You do not have to carry toxic shame with you.
You cannot change the past, but you can change the meaning of the memories that you carry of it.
The people that planted those seeds were just trying to meet their own agenda by keeping you down, and unsure of your value and place in the world.
Brene Brown makes the point that creativity, inventiveness, and change come from a place of vulnerability. Doing things that are different, and uniquely you means you have to be somewhat vulnerable.
The greatest minds of the world came up with original ideas and creations and discoveries. They were not always met with acceptance.
You do not have to follow the crowd. You have your own voice…you just have to find it and differentiate that authentic voice from the programs that were implanted into your brain. Shame is one of those programs that is no longer serving you.
There is no one quite like you. You are unique in many ways. You are a spiritual being that is existing in the body you are inhabiting.
You could have made different choices that may have sent you on a slightly different path. You may have ended up at a different job or with different people if you had made different moves on the chess board.
You still would have been the same being. Your values may be re-prioritized as you grow and learn. There are no paths that change you from who you were born as into a completely different spiritual being.
You have no way to know how things would have turned out if you had made different choices because life is unpredictable and you cannot control others.
There is no need to feel bad over decisions that you think sent you away from the “right” path. You have no way to know what would have happened or if it would not have been worse.
Even things you feel that you really screwed up….you don’t really know that it would have been the way you picture it to be if you had not done that.
It does not serve you to hold shame and guilt about the past. You are still on your journey either way.
Your story is not completed. Often there are many paths that lead to the same place.
Any one decision from your past could have sent you a different way that could have landed you somewhere similar eventally…or somewhere worse depending on the events that could have followed that decision.
Life is full of unknowns and there are many things you cannot control…such as other people.
Memories tend to deceive us anyway. They are images and feelings that are filtered through our perception at the time …in addition to our current perception.
But the memories are missing information that we did not have such as what another person was really thinking or feeling.
You may regret ending a relationship and you are sure that you lost the best thing that will ever come your way. But you do not know for sure what the other person was thinking or what they would have been feeling a year from then.
These are all unknowns. Memories can deceive us because our brains fill in missing information. The story we create about what would have happened is just that….a story.
Life is in the present. We are affected by our past experiences and what meaning that our brains attach to those experiences.
Being in the present without carrying shame and guilt is the best way to be able to experience our spiritual selves to the fullest extent.
We are not who we are because of the things we have done. The things we did were based on what was happening at the time.
We had certain meaning attached to the things that were happening. We may not even be in touch with that meaning anymore.
We do not really fully remember exactly how we felt at that time. Many details are forgotten over time, including what triggers may have been occurring and what fears we may have been feeling at that moment.
Carrying shame and guilt over our past decisions is unfair you ourselves. It only serves to lower your self esteem and interferes with your ability to make decisions that are good for you now.
Judgement of ourselves is bad enough when it is done by others. When other people hold anger and judgement about us it is from their own perception of the past.
Just like us, their memories are bits of pictures and feelings with much of the information being filled in by their own brain which tells a story.
Details that are unknown to them, such as how you felt and what was happening in your subconscious mind, are missing from their information…so they make things up to fill in the holes.
Much of what they project onto you comes from their own perception and is wrong. So their jugdement of you is coming from a flawed reality of what really happened.
Do not carry other people’s judgement of your past as your true past. It is not true reality. You are not able to reach your possibilities if you are carrying these things with you.
You are the same spiritual being that was born. Your decisions and choices seemed neccassary at the time. They are in the past now.
Allow yourself to lift this weight from yourself. You will be able to be there for the people in your life right now, in a much more meaningful way, if you can be yourself and accept that you have innate worth.
You were born with worth and your past does not change that. We spend too much energy carrying memories that are convoluted anyway.
Your life is here and now. It does not matter how you ended up here. How you got where you are is no indication of where you can go and what possibilities your life holds for you.
Past limitations are just shadows. You have much more potetial than you realize yet. Just allow for the possibility that you can do greater things than you can imagine right now.
There is great power in allowing for possibiities and not limiting yourself based on what you think you remember doing in the past.
Your possibilities are full and your value is still for you to discover.
As the years pass
we begin to feel the subtle gnawing
at our souls
and in our weary hearts
that tells us
not to underestimate
Of any particular moment…
Realizing that it could be
Captured in time
And exist in the mind
For many years to come..
It is not for us to know
of any given moment
Or its ultimate effect on our souls…
The power of a single moment
Is in its very ability
To live beyond itself
And what it appears to be…
Merely a fleeting insignificant piece
Of a much greater picture…
But perhaps smallest perceptions
Are also the greatest
The wisest and most powerful…
For the smallest moments
Can wield power over our hearts
Keep replaying in our heads
Influence major life decisions
Make us take the left fork in the road
And wish we had taken the right…
It is the tiniest moments
That live longer in our minds
Have more influence over our hearts
Have the power to uplift us
Or destroy us
Give us hope when there seems to be none
Or shame us into darkness and despair..
It is not for us to underestimate
The power of a single moment
And it’s grand ability
To suspend time itself
There is no price which can be assigned
To one single tear
Or passion’s kiss
A split second reflex of a blinded mind
A swift passion swept motion
A careless lie
A stolen glance
A seemingly fleeting second
Something that seems forgetable
That can reveal it’s significance
Years down the line
There are no insignificant moments
Only those we choose to ignore
Refusing to give them attention
even those moments
Can gain fuel over the years
Etch and evoke emotion
Carve into our souls
Like a blade
Spiced with flavors we never tasted
At the time
when we were less thoughtful,
And had more time ahead of us
Than behind us