I have just read 'The Gifts Of Imperfection' by Brene Brown, where she has researched the topic of shame. The very emotion that affects the balance of our Solar Plexus chakra. Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness.
The root causes can stem from feeling insecure; shame of what other people might say; manipulation; having a critical parent or being overpowered. This disturbs the balance of the Solar Plexus in the growing child, between 18 months and 4 years (saying "me").
Feeling some shame is natural, as in when you do something silly or embarrassing. You feel humiliated and may express it by blushing, sweating, or a rapid heartbeat. However, these feelings are typically overcome easily in a short time frame. Chronic shame, on the other hand, is very different and for millions of people around the world, it is debilitating.
Shame is different from guilt. When you are feeling guilty it is because you did something you consider negative or bad and this affects the balance of the Sacral Chakra, which is just below the Solar Plexus.
Shame is when you get the feeling that YOU are bad. In essence:
Guilt = I did something bad.
Shame = I am bad.
Feeling guilty helps you to not want to do the bad behavior again, whereas shame leaves you feeling inadequate and humiliated. With shame comes great pain and causes people to feel separated from themselves and others.
Chronic shame is feeling shame over a long period of time. It could be a little bit of shame or a lot.
Here are some common beliefs from those who suffer from chronic shame:
I am not worthy of love.
I am a failure.
No one loves me.
I am a terrible person.
Life never works out for me.
I will never be happy.
There is something wrong with me.
For those struggling with co-dependency, shame is typically present continually and often leads to plenty of relationship problems with self and others. Someone struggling with co-dependency will often feel unworthy of love and unloved (no matter how much love someone lavishes on them). They may also feel like a failure, depressed, numb, inferior, guilty, and operate from a victim mentality. That is why I have included 'Letting go of co- dependency' in the Fearlessly Moving Forwards Method.
These negative feelings may be tolerated for a while, but they will progressively get worse and begin to interfere with relationships. They may also lead to addictions, as the co-dependent person tries desperately to fill the aching void.
Someone who feels a lot of shame may also try to control and “caretake” others, to try to fulfil their needs and dull the pain associated with shame. This behaviour oftentimes sabotages intimate relationships. The controlling behaviours tend to have the opposite of the desired effect, pushing the partner away instead of inviting love and approval.
Shame also causes a victim mentality and may cause a person to continually blame others for their problems. Though some issues may arise because of the person’s inability to be assertive and stand up for themselves, plenty of issues arise out of the fear of success or the fear of failure.
For example, if a person riddled with shame has a fear of failure when it comes to relationships, or feels they are broken, and feel ashamed about it, may never ask anyone out on a date. They just don’t think anyone would ever want to date them.
It is possible to heal feelings of shame. The first step is to realise that you carry chronic shame. You may not be able to pinpoint the root of that shame, and that’s alright. Or, you may know exactly why you’re feeling shame.
Either way, just identifying that you feel shame is a good step toward dealing and healing it. You can then feel freer to share your story with someone you trust, as sharing this helps the shame lose its power. You will begin to see yourself in a new light – a positive one. You will begin to see yourself portrayed like this:
I am beautiful.
I am loved.
I am worthy of love.
I am successful.
I am perfect just the way I am.
I am happy.
People like me.
Are you dealing with shame under the surface? Do you feel bad? Broken?
You can heal from chronic shame by doing your inner healing work. It takes time and effort.
Heather Prince is Founder of Fearlessly Moving Forwards Method