Many of us have a sense of being addicted to something. This could be an addiction to food, alcohol, drugs, sex, relationships, shopping and many other destructive behaviors. We may want to put an end to this addictive cycle and find it hard to understand why we keep repeating the behaviors that hurt us so deeply. As I hold a space for my clients for this suffering and hear their story, as a hypnotherapist I begin to hear another story. A painful unconscious story. I reflect gently upon my own story and remember the path I found to peace.
These behaviors can be recognized as a powerful destructive drive that can't be resisted. Once this drive is satiated, there is a sense of being engulfed by the shame.
The shame comes from a sense of 'wrongness', which is determined by the way we were conditioned to differentiate right from wrong. This means that on a conscious level we have a clear sense of what is 'right' and when we go against this imperative and do something 'wrong', this going against oneself creates a sense of deep shame. This shame does not relate so much to one act but rather to an overarching principle of feeling ashamed of oneself.
Now it is normal for a person to perhaps feel some guilt and remorse after going against a moral imperative which acts as a self correcting mechanism.
Yet a shame pattern is a distinctly different and harmful. When we run this pattern we believe there is something intrinsically wrong with us at our core. Which is verified every time we make a mistake. It is an unconscious force that states, 'You are bad and broken at your core'. It drives us to fulfill this underlying belief system through repeated acts of egregious and harmful behavior.
The roots of shame are hard to determine with clarity. It is often the case that they relate to childhood trauma and negative conditioning. Many people that suffer from a deep and lifelong shame pattern have unresolved pain from some form of emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Others may have grown up in a family in which the emotional climate was hostile and they began to believe that they were to blame for their parents problems or divorce.
For each of us person the root of shame is unique. Yet this root leaves us with a sense of feeling ashamed at our very essence.
A shame pattern can wreak havoc on our lives. This can be seen in abusive and destructive relationship cycles that are underpinned by the belief that, 'I am not lovable.'
Whatever the poison of choice, when we run this pattern we will continue to do so until the underlying prophecy of shame comes true.
There is a second stage to the shame pattern, that is the most insidious. It involves a 'Big Fresh Start', a promise to begin again and never commit these behaviors again.
This means that we engender our own sense of hope and the hope of those that love and support us. People whose opinion we respect. We for a time gleam in the light of this love. Then slowly but certainly the darkness reemerges. We betray ourselves and our loved ones. We return to the old familiar haunt of worthlessness.
For many people that can relate to this painful pattern, there may be a sense of inevitability and hopelessness arising. I have myself after much soul searching discovered this pattern in myself.
I have written this blog to share with you, that there is a beautiful journey of healing ahead of you.
I have dedicated much of my time in private hypnotherapy practice to really understanding and unravelling shame. It pained me to see the suffering many of my clients were going through. It pained me to see it in myself. Eventually we found a way though our equal devotion and courage to healing shame.
These are the ways in which we found a path home. We brought light and awareness to shame. Instead of banishing shame to the shadows we found a way to gently invite it in, through hypnosis and through gentle conversation we met with this unconscious shameful persona.
For many, this was a very revealing process. We found that shame was often a young and abandoned part of ourselves that felt broken and never had the opportunity to be loved and nurtured. Through journaling and some inner child hypnotherapy we found ways to give this part a voice to speak and be heard. We nurtured and loved this part slowly and tenderly.
We worked through layer upon layer of shame and we allowed for it to emerge and we held it patiently and lovingly and it transformed into love.
We created ways to love and accept ourselves in our daily rituals. Ways to discover our unique gifts and passions and to nurture them. Very importantly we changed our association to mistake making. Instead of seeing our missteps as shameful, we saw them as opportunity to grow and realign and love ourselves even more deeply in our humanness.
With this transformation of the outer expressions of shame disappeared and we were left with outer expressions of love instead.
The journey to healing shame is poignant, heartbreaking and profoundly beautiful and transformative.
As we look on now, we recognize our shame as a wise friend. An alchemist of sorts that led us to our inner beauty by showing us what we are not. It is through the realization that we are not broken, that we realize that we were always whole.
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