As I have grown in awareness, certain truths have become self-evident. As a person with a disability, I allowed a culprit to bully me for many years. This “bully”, shame, — Should Have Already Mastered Everything — controlled and manipulated my every move until I began my healing process.
I now realize that I allowed this bully to reek emotional and spiritual havoc. I believe you also will be able to identify with my awareness.
In my duress, I felt like a man adrift on the high seas, desperately attempting to tread water so that I would not fall beneath the swelling waves. In these attempts, I was battered and bruised. Living became a struggle to survive, as I attempted to swim against the tide of low self-esteem, a faltering self-worth, and a myriad of insecurities. In my attempts to make it past the tide of discouragement, I over-compensated in an attempt to protect my fragile self-image. Although I was able to make it past a series of waves, doubt would again sweep over my heart.
My best efforts to make it to shore were often met with chiding. Chiding came in the form of criticism. Criticism perpetuated the God- awful lie that I was a mistake.
Shame is the culprit. Shame is different than guilt. If you make a mistake, you can correct that mistake through making an amends. On the other hand, if you believe that you don’t just make mistakes, but that you are a mistake you feel helpless. For many years I believed I was a mistake. Shame told me that I could never do enough.
Perfectionism demanded more, but more was never good enough.
Through my process, I have come to understand that shame is at the root of all that seeks to undermine who I am. Shame seeks to act as a “cancer” upon the creative energy that resides within my heart. Shame’s goal is to discourage, dishearten and destroy. Through my experience, I have found shame to be at the root of all my distress. I have come to regard shame’s message as my arch nemesis.
Therefore, I avoid interacting with people, organizations, and even churches that use shame to control. I believe that people who use shame to control and manipulate have hidden agendas. I do not believe they have my best interest at heart. Consequently, I avoid the tentacles of shame like the plague.
I have come to believe that perfection is the offspring of shame who married disillusionment.
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