There is so much pain in the world today. My heart is still full of sadness over the senseless loss of life that occurred in Orlando a few weeks ago. I went through many different emotions, one of which was powerlessness, and it reminded me of an important truth; there are so many things that we don’t have any control over, but the one thing we always have control over is how we act and what we choose to believe.
The only way we will find a real solution to the madness the world is facing is to understand what is driving it.
What I see as a common denominator and underlying root of these acts of terror and violence is a corrosive, soul-sapping and life depleting issue that robs us of all that is truly joyful and breathtakingly beautiful about life.
This thing is called toxic shame.
Shame at the core, is the underlying belief that one is flawed, damaged, no good, worthless, separate from others and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. Any of the things that tell you there is something fundamentally wrong with you, unworthy or undeserving would fall into the category of shame. Most people are not fully conscious of the shame that they carry within themselves, which is a major part of the issue. It is my desire to raise awareness of this issue which is where the healing can begin.
It hurts to feel that you have no real value, are a freak of nature, or a mistake. Being saddled with shame is a very painful way to go through life. These are people who were typically abused themselves and the unfortunate and undeniable result is this: Hurt people hurt other people.
Left unhealed, shame breeds intolerance, hatred, fear and as we are seeing more often, violence. It will not stop until we understand and heal this core issue.
It is my belief that shame is at the root of all evil, not money or greed (although I think that shame is most likely the culprit behind this as well). For that matter I do not actually believe in “evil” existing as a force outside of ourselves – lurking out there somewhere having the potential to attack us, I believe it is merely our own darkness, the unhealed parts of ourselves that create a great deal of havoc, suffering and pain.
It is so important that we understand this. When we stop assigning blame in all the wrong places and work on the real issue, I believe we will see a profound change in the world, in our individual and collective consciousness. I would go so far to say that healing shame is the most important thing we can ever do for ourselves and for our planet.
When we don’t feel good about or value who we are, just about everything we do and experience is challenging. At one time in my life I lived with a great deal of shame and self loathing, and it made the experience of being on this planet uncomfortable, painful and un-necessarily difficult. I found many different ways to dis-associate, wore a lot of masks and became an expert at pretense. On the outside I appeared very well put together, which was a just a compensation to hide the very real pain I felt on the inside. My outsides definitely did not match my insides.
I think we all experience shame on some level from time to time, but for some, the degree of self loathing is literally unbearable. This pain causes them to go about meeting their needs in ways that violate, hurt, inflict pain upon and even take the lives of other human beings. This is the insidious nature of toxic shame and where it can lead.
On the other hand, when we know, value and respect who we are it would never occur to us to hurt another human being. When we come from genuine self love, we have a natural desire to connect with others and see how we can be of service.
It is essential that we raise our awareness on this this issue. Unhealed shame has the power to completely destroy us or at the very least rob us of all that is good and wonderful about being alive.
People have forgotten the truth of who they are, they are sleepwalking through their lives, believing in illusions about themselves and what will make them happy. They have created a false self (ego) in order to compensate for feelings of inadequacy and they are holding strong to this version of themselves for fear of being found out. People will go to great lengths to defend this false self. Because of this, they are finding more and more ways to dis-associate from their true selves and their lives because they are afraid of what they will find.
They won’t let people get too close because they fear that if people really knew who they were they would be rejected. This is so far from the truth. As a therapist, I have heard some pretty horrible stories and circumstances but I have not met one single person who, a the core, wasn’t a decent human being doing the best they could with the circumstances they were dealt.
We have to love ourselves before we can love others. I suggest that we start by making a commitment to loving and respecting ourselves for exactly who we are. As I shared, at one time I was full of shame but now I am happy to say (and frankly, a little astonished) that I genuinely love who I am (imperfections included!).
When we all come together committed and on purpose to love who we are and then love one another we will not only survive, we will thrive. Together, we can do this. Real change occurs one person at a time.
We need to join forces.
With the most powerful force there is – LOVE.
What the world needs now, is Love, sweet love.. (remember that uplifting song?.. it is now my ringtone as a reminder of what is most important…)
Love IS the answer. But it MUST begin from within.
So how do we go about loving ourselves?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Get clear on what your needs are. Then be sure to give yourself what you need in a way that does not harm anyone else (including yourself!).
2. Focus on all the things that you do right. We can do 99 things well, make a mistake and what do we focus on? Yep, just that one thing. Focus on ALL that you do well (I will bet you it’s a whole lot more than you realize) and make a list to remind yourself.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone is at a different place and has come from different circumstances. We are all unique human beings (and thank god for that, this world would be incredibly dull if we were all the same). Instead of comparing, use the concept of personal excellence to propel yourself forward, try to always be better than you were, not better than, or, for that matter, less than, another.
4. Refrain from judgement. Remember that judging others is really just a projection of yourself. When you are criticizing another it is saying a lot more about you than it is about them. It is what YOU see, and the fact that you’re seeing it is an opportunity for you to take a look at what you might want or need to change in yourself.
5. Stop beating the crap out of yourself for making a mistake. (I still struggle with this one). Give yourself a break. We all make mistakes, it is human, I would even say necessary, because it’s how we learn and grow.
6. Let go of people that drain and deplete you. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and remind you of who you really are. You deserve to be around people who make you feel good. This is an important aspect of self love. We are heavily influenced by who we spend the most time with.
7. Set boundaries. Be mindful about your choices, what you say yes to, and by all means, learn to say no. You always have a choice. You may be uncomfortable with the circumstances, but if you want to change you have to be willing to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. That is how change occurs. You become willing to be temporarily uncomfortable in order to get that “certain something” that you want even more.
8. Be aware of your self talk. What you are saying to yourself about yourself is so important. Replace the self-shaming with statements of appreciation, support and encouragement. Create realistic affirmations that feel good for you. Affirmations are like push-ups for healthy self esteem.
The world is desperately crying out for love but we can’t give away what we don’t have, so let us begin with what we can change; OURSELVES. Become the best possible version of who you are. If we are going to survive, the best shot we have is getting everyone to commit to being the person they know they can be. Let’s stop pretending that we don’t know right from wrong. You know what that is and you know who you are.. it’s the “you” that you’ve always wanted to be (and deep inside you’ve always known this).
We cannot do this alone. We need one another. I suggest that you find an accountability partner in someone you trust and together, commit to being the highest and best version of yourself. Yes, it takes work, commitment, discipline and patience but you will receive tremendous rewards, and so will the world.
Ghandi told us to “Be the change we wish to see in the world”. Be that person, step into who you really are.
You matter; the world desperately needs your love.
Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with YOU.
I realize that this is a big issue I am addressing. It is complex and overwhelming, but after hearing of the recent events I felt an urgency to share this message in the boldest way I could. Shame thrives on silence, secrecy and isolation. It proliferates in the darkness. When we bring shame into the light of day, it loses its power. I have much more to share with you on this issue and I will use every resource I can to share this message of love, hope and healing.
I have dedicated my entire practice, business, time and really, my life to raising awareness of, educating and healing this issue because when we address this, I believe that many of our other problems will simply fall away. I can say this with conviction because this has been my personal experience. In healing my core issues and shame, so many of the things that were once a horrific struggle are now behind me for good. This opened me up to a newfound freedom and joy that I didn’t even know was possible. I don’t want you to miss out on knowing what it feels like to be truly free….to live with real joy and purpose.
If my message resonates with you, I strongly encourage you to join me and my community on this inspired journey of healing, love and truth. I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment below and then head over to my website:
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I thank you in advance for believing in me. I am honored and privileged to walk this journey with you.
With much love,