As a child I was taught to (do things that) please God and fear the Devil. By the age of 12, I allowed a cleric’s sermon to make me feel ashamed for all the ‘wrong’ things I did, thought and felt – like most young folk do, think and feel as they reach puberty. Much later I realised that guilt or shame is half of the ‘carrot and stick’ deal that parents, governments and some religions use to ‘control’ children, the populace and followers respectively.
Illustration by Andrea Kurucz
When you allow someone else to make you feel not good about yourself, you accede to their first step in mind control. Their intent is that you do their bidding, not your own.
To avoid mind control, you need to understand the nature of your own shame; you need to venture into your own ‘underworld’ to find the sources of that shame. Especially those things your parents did that made you feel ashamed as a child and perhaps hid away deep within you unknowingly.
You may not know consciously all the sources of shame you possess and may need some form of ‘plutonic’ awakening to unearth them. Shame is a gap between how you perceive you are and how you’d like to be. In my life I’ve been ashamed of being overweight, of hurting people but the deepest and most profound shame (that I’ve only recently discovered) was that I was not worthy of my parents’ love. And if I was not worthy of their love, I was not worthy of self-love. And if I was not worthy of self-love then I was worthy to love someone else – because I can’t give what I don’t possess. My shame stultified my capacity to love and be loved in return.
When you do something out of shame you may allay feeling that shame, but you never rid yourself of it. You can’t atone shame – but you can release it. You release shame by practicing self-forgiveness.
I’ve shared how my understanding of forgiveness has evolved in two previous blogs (Replace Forgiveness with Accountability and Client:-”I Can’t Forgive Myself.” – “You Don’t Need To.”).
In a nutshell: