Shame

Have you ever had anyone ask you if you’ve ever done something that you’re really ashamed of? If you ever hurt another person emotionally, physically, and so on? When I was asked about shame a few years ago, I had no response. I couldn’t think of anything I’d ever done that I was ashamed of.

And yet.

It’s weird. I’m not even going to go into detail, but just thinking about this post is difficult to me. And the weird thing? My shame has nothing to do with real life impact on other people. At all. My shame is rooted in a couple of dreams and what happened in those dreams and how I reacted while still asleep. I had no control over my reaction or my dreams. But the shame is so strong it almost makes me cry. My other shame is rooted in an action that only impacted myself, an action I took when I was depressed and starting to slip into apathy. No one was hurt. No one was even around.

I’m not going to tell you what it is.

And that’s okay.

But what I realized yesterday, in therapy, was that having someone to confide in that you know will not judge you is so important. I trust my therapist completely. She is honest with me and I am honest with her. I’ve never felt judged by her and so yesterday I opened up about it. I have no idea how we arrived at the topic of shame – it was so far removed from what we have been working on. But it was really bothering me. I didn’t realize how much it bothered me until I got it out. I was hard-core avoiding eye contact, holding a pillow and my blanket, fidgeting with my necklace, and tearing up. But after I revealed these feelings to her we talked. We addressed shame as an emotion, dreams, and what we can and can not control. And when I left?

I felt a bit better. The cliché metaphor of a weight being lifted from my shoulders (in my case my very being) was no longer a cliché. It was a reality.

I write this post because while it’s not important for anyone else to know what I feel shame over, it is important to convey that finding someone you can trust, that you know will not judge you, to confide in can be so helpful. Keeping these things locked inside fosters misery about life and about ourselves. Opening up can be helpful in itself, and just sometimes we gain a little perspective.

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