“Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong, shame is the feeling of being something wrong.” Marilyn J. Sorensen
Guilt * Shame * Fear
If you were looking to pick three super happy and uplifting emotions these probably wouldn’t be the ones you’d choose. However, these emotions run rampant in our society and they affect our lives more than we think.
I said I wasn’t going to talk about same-sex marriage anymore because it’s really not my thing to talk about controversial topics. But, as you know, I talk about lessons I’ve learned each week and this happens to be a biggie.
I didn’t realize just how much of these negative emotions still ran through me. It’s my job to experiment with my life and to do the inner work that helps me experience and practice more joyful ones on a regular basis. Truth be told, I really felt that I had these emotions licked.
When I heard about the Supreme Court’s ruling I got very emotional and the best I can describe it is that a weight was lifted. A weight I didn’t know was still really so heavy. I literally felt lighter and when I went out that day to get groceries my smile was brighter and my walk was taller. I felt validated. I felt equal. I felt proud and I felt free!
When I reflected on this positive ‘shift’ later I realized that, up until this point, I was still harboring some guilt, shame, and fear (about being in a same-sex relationship) in the depths of my soul. Damn. I hate when that happens.
These are ugly emotions people. They run deep and often times we have carried them around for so long we become immune to their weight, how they make us feel ‘less than’, and constrictive. We identify with them as who we are and that’s B.S.
I loved this post from my dear friend. Knowing this guy, I know this was a huge step. I know he keeps a lot in and it’s not his practice to show vulnerability. (His famous dry-humor saying is, ‘you hurt my feeling.’ ;0) I also know that after he wrote this a big weight was lifted and he felt free.
“For a year and a half almost to the day I have withheld changing my Facebook status to “married” in fear that some Facebook friend (customer, prospect, trade partner, business partner) wouldn’t do business with me. Today I realize I must be insane. I am too old and have enough good customers and business to worry about losing a few thousand dollars here or there. If people dislike my marital status, I guess they aren’t really “friends” at all. Being married is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Everyone deserves to love and have the legal benefits of marriage. This week I am so proud to be an American and be a part of something that will be taught to children in school as a major historical event in US equality. More importantly, I am proud to say I am married to Paul Barnett and love him dearly. Now, how do I accept his 1.5 year request to be Facebook married???”
What have you been afraid to do? What keeps you guilt and shame ridden? I promise when you allow yourself to let them go your life will take off. Promise.
Experiment this week with not only identifying but moving through or letting go of these icky, keep-you-from-living, emotions:
- Slow down. It’s not until you slow down and quiet your mind that you’re going to hear anything. Go for a walk, sit quietly and breath, take a longer than normal bath or shower, get out in nature and be still and quiet.
- Recognize what comes up for you after you’ve slowed down. Bring those nasty emotions into the light and ask yourself some meaningful questions: Why have you been harboring them? What are the benefits of holding tight to them? Is there someone you need to forgive, including yourself? What action(s) can you take to either make peace with them or propagate more productive emotions?
- Commit to taking some type of action. Some examples:
- Forgive yourself for not being perfect, good enough, supportive enough, etc
- Speak up and ask clearly for something you want
- Let go of guilt or shame from your past and commit to learning from the experience and implementing something that moves you forward (and out of) those emotions
- Do something courageous that makes you feel vulnerable. This also makes you come alive!
Keeping these emotions in and making them a part of who you are will never allow you to be free, to walk tall, and to really live! They’re bullshit emotions and you have the power to let them go.
Speak up! Share something in the comments below that you’re fearful of or that’s keeping you guilt or shame ridden. Even if you’re the only one who does (courage). When we bring these not so great emotions into the light they diminish in importance and diminish in weight. It really is the first step in moving forward to your authentic freedom!