I’ve encountered many women who carry around a tremendous amount of shame and guilt over past experiences that they are still trying to come to terms with in their present day life.
Their feelings of shame and guilt are consuming their thoughts and fueling anxiety with the fear of possible and unlikely repercussions or backlash in the future. It’s also fueling depression because they’re replaying the experience in their mind and trying to figure out how to fix it.
“ Anxiety starts when we worry about the future. Depression starts when we worry about the past”
You are an intelligent person. You know intellectually that you can’t bend time to fix what has happened in your past but your ego works diligently to protect you. It doesn’t try to solve problems, that’s not the job of the ego. Its job is to keep you safe even though safe is anxiety and depression inducing. You have no way to change the experiences, choice and decisions from the past.
What does it really mean when you are feeling shame and guilt?
Shame and guilt exists when you are judging yourself. It’s like you put yourself into court to be judged everyday, except there is no jury or defense and you are the judge and jury. There is only you in your inner court. And the verdict is the same. You deem yourself as being wrong, unworthy, not good enough and somehow bad.
This is simply not true.
If you give yourself a moment to ponder your own inner court to notice the things you say to yourself and the judgment you have about yourself, you can feel there is no love there for yourself. Only condemnation for yourself and I don’t want you to feel this way! You also don’t want to feel that way!
A few words of encouragement that I hope will help you.
Everyone has made mistakes in their life. Some mistakes come with a heavier consequence but all mistakes made serve to help you understand yourself better and they also highlight the potential to change the things about yourself that need more love so the shadow (or fear) can be brought to light.
There is love and everything else is rooted in fear. So when you have negative experiences and go through tough life situations it’s an opportunity to shed love (light) to the parts of yourself that need healing. That’s big. It’s shadow work and sometimes it’s an awful experience to go through but but when you allow yourself this time you will be much stronger and happier on the other side.
It would be easy for me or anyone to say ‘Just let it go!” If it were that easy you would have already done it. You just haven’t learned the tools to help you with that yet. I’m going to help you with that in this post.
Something you may not be aware of.
It is really hard to just let go because humans like to have attachments to the past because subconsciously we create an identity around the experiences and what those experiences mean to us.
Letting it go means we need to let go of who we thought we were. If you aren’t that, then who are you? That is scary because it’s a loss of your identity even when that old identity caused you a great deal of discomfort and pain.
Part of the problem then is that you have given your experience a meaning and with the low vibration associated with shame and guilt, the meaning you have most likely given it is something like,
- I’m not good enough,
- I don’t deserve …,
- I’ll never amount to anything,
- They were right, I am ……
When these are the thoughts you think about yourself, these become your beliefs about who you are and you start to align your thoughts, feelings and emotions to match. It becomes who you are and an identity is formed that includes a story about you.
The first part to healing the shame and guilt.
Consider what was happening in your life at the time.
I know of one young woman who was in a highly emotionally and verbally abusive relationship and she was continually told how stupid she was, how she didn’t deserve to be in the professional career that she had gone to school for, how she wasn’t good at her job, that she had nothing of value to bring to the relationship, that she had nothing to contribute to conversations, and her partner at the time constantly threatened to say things about her that she thought would threaten her ability to make money, to make new friends and live a joyful life.
She was under so much mental and emotional distress that she became confused and she started experiencing high levels of anxiety.
No one can be their true self when they are under such extreme distress and we also don’t make good decisions for ourselves. We react rather than take time to respond and our nervous system is in a constant state of heightened emotion.
Although the experiences this young woman had during this relationship, which ultimately caused her to look for ways to maintain her sanity, weren’t catastrophic with extreme consequences, the meaning she gave to the experiences she had in the relationship created a tremendous amount of shame and guilt.
I am happy to say that she is no longer in this abusive relationship and is on her healing journey now.
I believe that if we don’t take time to reconnect to ourselves and heal (learn) from the experiences we had in our relationships that we will take the luggage from that relationship into our next relationship. And we repeat karmic cycles to learn the lessons.
It doesn’t have to take years to heal. It can be as short or as long as needed but I believe it helps you to have a healthier, stronger relationship with yourself which creates happier healthier relationships with other.
Have compassion for what was going on in your life. You are always doing the best you can with where you are and the skills and tools you have available and are willing to use at the time. Sometimes we know things but we aren’t ready to act on them and that’s okay too.
The second part to healing shame and guilt.
Nothing has any meaning other than the meaning you give it.
Now let’s talk about the meaning you have given an experience and how to change the story and identity you have created around it.
Giving a meaning to your past experiences keeps you anchored in your past and it prevents you from moving forward. You don’t necessarily have to be feeling guilt and shame to change the meaning either.
This same tool works with:
- releasing things that happened to you in the past that have become a subconscious belief about who you are, what you deserve and what you are capable of manifesting. These would be things from past relationships and childhood experiences.
- it also works with letting go of a relationship because it gave you perceived security, stability or comfort or something else.
That experience means something to you and you have created an identity about who you are because of it.
Step 1. What was the experience and what story do you tell yourself about who you are now?
Using the young women’s story above, the story she tells herself is that she is not good at her job, that she has nothing good to contribute in conversations and to a relationship and that she has no life purpose anymore.
Sometimes we just need to take a moment and make the connection between the experience and what we tell ourselves about who are because of the experience. This requires being out of your comfort zone … it’s inner work.
Step 2. Decide that you want to create a new identity and story about who you are and what you want.
This part takes your will and inner strength to no longer want to live in the old identity and that pain.
Who do you want to be?
Do you want to be that woman who knows who she is, is able to express herself, has love for herself even though she isn’t perfect, knows her value and her worth?
Start to declare who you want to be and look for ways to help you become her. It could be taking a course, leaving an unhealthy relationship and friendships, getting a mentor or a coach to help you, moving, getting rid of things that no longer add value to your life.
I believe that everyone wants to be that powerful and I believe you are that person.
Sending you love,
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