If shame and guilt had a form and a color what would it be? Shame would be an ugly bruise you try to cover up, but no matter how hard you try, it always peeks out and never fades. Guilt would be the dark blue at the centre of the bruise. The part that hurts the most.
Shame has a way of corroding the best parts of us that believe we are capable, and worthy, of change and forgiveness. We hold onto our guilt and our shame like a badge of worthlessness. We shroud ourself in the belief that what we experienced, or did, makes us a bad person, a fraud, a failure, not worthy. And, this has a way of permeating every facet of our lives. Keeping us from the life and love we deserve.
So, what is the antidote to shame and guilt? Empathy and forgiveness for self, others and the past. Cultivating an essence of grace which allows the mistakes, fumbles, experiences to serve a purpose rather than to fertilize the shame and the guilt. Our energy flows to where our attention goes.
Permission to move forward and to use the experience as a guide post rather than a hitching post is the first step in forgiving. To understand where responsibility starts and ends and, what actions are required to take the next step. Sometimes, the action is not to DO anything except make peace with the past. It might not be a conversation or a confrontation with anyone other than self.
What is possible if we forgive and let go? Grace. Empathy. Peace. Love. Freedom. Joy.
What shame are you holding onto and what is the first step for you to let go?