I have been thinking a lot about shame lately. It seems to be popping up. That roller coaster ride again. Things can be going along smoothly and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, I feel that shame.
I found an online retreat this week given by a priest and it was about confronting the shame that many of us suffer from. I posted about it on my Catholic blog because I was blown away by something the priest had said in his 2nd talk. He said that each one of us needs to thank God for ourselves. That we each need to say - Thank you, Lord, for ME. I had certainly never even thought of that.
Then yesterday I decided to open up that meditation book I have used off and on for years (Daybreak, Meditations for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Maureen Brady). And what was the subject for October 1? Shame. Of course.
Maureen wrote about how she reacted to traumatic events in her childhood with shame and fear. And that she protected herself by "silence, stuffing my feelings and keeping out of the way."
Uh huh. I do that.
In another section on shame, the meditation for July 11, Ms. Brady wrote about how she took on the abuser's shame. She felt bad about herself when she was unsuccessful. She turned to perfectionism.
Yup. Me, too.
I have been feeling that shame lately. Whenever I think someone doesn't like what I have done or said, or any time I am not feeling good about myself, shame rears its ugly head.
I am still struggling with the fact that my father and I are not speaking and my stepmother is very upset with me. Makes me think I am doing something wrong, though I know I am not. But see, I am not being a good little girl. I can almost hear the words, Shame on you.
In the intro to October 1st's entry, Ms. Brady wrote: "I am filled with truth at the center where I once held shame."
Well, I certainly know what the truth is. Whether other people see it or not has nothing to do with me. It is their failing, their blindness, their refusal to see.
And so, once again, I know I need to let go of the shame. It does not belong to me. I do not need to hold onto it. I can let it go.
I can let go and hold onto truth. My inner truth.
And Jesus, who is Truth with a capital T. I will hold onto Him, too.