Shame is a powerful burden to bear.
It weighs you down, keeps you from engaging with life and from saying yes to it’s opportunities and creates an obsessive, negative self dialogue that keeps you stuck in the cycle of self loathing and limitation.
And as women, we come by shame in many ways. Sometimes it’s self imposed, with us becoming our own worse enemies - but more often than not, it comes as messages said or seen somewhere outside of ourselves, of some way we “should be” that we aren’t, and it becomes something that we internalize and take for truth.
We hear these messages from our parents, or mothers and grandmothers who lived in the same cycle of shame we suffer from, our sisters, our fathers, brothers, family members, places of worship, the mean girls from school, or the harsh messaging from society about how we should look, act and feel.
One of my teachers, Guru Jagat says, that a woman's weakness is in her insecurity. And that once you hit a woman where she is insecure, she is 10 fold more likely to succumb to all of the psychic pressures of society in order to "fix" the source of the insecurity and that once she falls into the cycle of shame, she is likely to stay there.
The shame that many women carry comes from childhood or younger adolescent years, something traumatizing or said off hand or with or without malicious intent, has the power to imprint the psyche, consciously and unconsciously, creating a wound that instead of being able to heal over time, grows into a wider and deeper chasm with each reminder or trigger of the initial cause for shame.
Shaming can come from being too carefree, too sensual, being to explorative, too loud, too opinionated, too big too small, too smart, too stupid, to fat, too thin. And to make matters worse, clearing the imprint of shame isn’t something that is supported. On the contrary, it’s encouraged to continue shaming in order to not only create a submissive, quiet and shamed era of women, but to profit off of it as well.
All one has to do is look at the current state of media affairs to be told how to tame down (or here take this pill and eliminate it all together!) one's menstrual cycle, to see the toxic standards of beauty through the cosmetics we apply without a second thought or the market place that's flooded with fat free frankenfoods there to help you starve yourself into a skinny submission.
We are told that feminists are bad (don't be too loud, or too compassionate or care too much), and that women should show up in the world like men (work like men, think like men, work out like men) and we aren’t taught to honor our bodies, or that we have a menstrual cycle that is in alignment with nature and that HALF of that cycle should be spent inwardly because it has lower physical energy outputs than the rest of the month.
When we DO show up in the world like men, over time we become “emotional or hysterical” because our bodies are freaking out about the face that we aren’t honoring the cycles within ourselves that are saying to SLOW DOWN, to rest and allow ourselves to be receptive and tune into our inner nature.
And through the culture of shaming women and our bodies, we’ve been told over the centuries that our periods are a curse and that we are in fact, crazy. That women who have aligned with the forces of nature as healers, are wicked and not to be trusted - and that pharmaceuticals hold the key to our happiness and health.
When the truth is - women have been shamed out of our innate right to live in alignment with our bodies. We have been told that our bodies are these bad, shameful and sinful creatures that need to be controlled and we've been told that natural healing or living in accordance with nature is bogus witchcraft.
And the saddest part of all, is that as women, most of us have come to believe it.
And when we come believe it, the shame then becomes a part of our identity. Something to deal with and suffer through because we are women and “that's just the way life is”.
But it’s NOT the way life is. Look at nature. Nature lives in cycles. Seasons, lunar cycles and the gestation periods of plants and animals. If we look to nature, the grand mirror for all that we are as living, breathing, beings everything in life has a cycle - yet we are all trying to desperately to deny our own - the cycles that live within the very walls of our womanly skin.
And when we live in denial - every thought, each action silently becomes governed by the shame that says, do this, not that. Eat this, not that. I’ll be happy when. I hate my period. I hate my body. I’m not good enough. I can’t do it.
When we realize it - and we are ready to heal it and reclaim our body's rhythms, the only way to fully resolve and reclaim ourselves is to identify the source of the shame and take conscious steps to heal it. Is it body based shame? Sex based shame? Identity based shame?
It needs to be acknowledged and accepted (with compassion) - and then it needs to be healed with the proper tools so that it can be physically moved out of the body via thorough breath or energy work (hence the power of OYoga).
Because your body feels everything your mind thinks. And when you avoid thinking about your body and numb it out or think these hateful negative things, you start to develop “symptoms” that can range from depression and anxiety to increased PMS to impulsive behaviors to food bingeing, starving and craving, to unhealthy relationships to obsessive tendencies (just to name a few of the delightful symptoms we experience when we seek to dismiss what the problem is without actually acknowledging it).
Your body stores the feeling of shame, just as it would store fat toxins. Just because an emotion is unseen doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry an energy that is detected, felt and stored by the body.
Just like tension is worked out of muscles, so shame needs to be worked out of the psyche and the cells.
Our bodies are these magnificent creatures, that can help us feel better than most of even think is possible (because most of us have no idea how good our bodies are actually designed to feel), but so often because of the burden of shame and resulting pain, we numb it out ... but when we numb out the pain we also numb out the pleasure and all that makes us feel good and juicy and alive within the walls of our bodies.
Shame goes much deeper than what we think. When shame becomes a part of who we are - it has the power to consciously and unconsciously determine the course of our lives for us.
So my question to you is: what shame have you been carrying that you are now ready to release? What has this shame thought you and how can you see it as a source of learning, growth or gratitude instead of judgment and weakness?
This takes vulnerability and courage to answer - but when you can start to identify the shame without judging it - then you can start to heal it.
If you feel so called, please share your answer in the comments below so as a community we can see and support your courageous realizations.
Big love to you sister, keep going, the world needs you.