A concept that can stand alone.
For it carries enough power to.
It is the terrifying force many of us have to fight every day. Overpower. Show who is actually in charge.
The force that implies that what happened to us was our fault. When it was not. That we deserved it. When we did not. That we let it happen. Which we did not.
We were victims. And we survived.
Shame tells us not to do things. Or that we’ve done them wrong. It is that voice in our head telling us we aren’t worth it. Aren’t worthy. And that we should punish ourselves. Deprive ourselves. Hurt ourselves. And in the worst cases, that we don’t deserve to live.
Causing us to structure our lives around feeding our shame. Because it has a big appetite. It’s always hungry.
So we feed it. With food. Alcohol. Tobacco. Drugs. Sex. Self-harm.
Or we starve it. Deprive it. Of nourishment. Of celebrating ourselves. Of loving ourselves. Of enjoying life.
Inviting back old thoughts. Dark ones. Disturbing ones. Unhealthy ones. The ones we’ve fought hard to put to bed.
But then they show up in our dreams.
Forcing us to put rules into place that keep us so regimented that we can’t even take a breath without following one. Falling into a pattern. A compulsion. Taking away our quality of life.
Shame shows up when we are at our weakest. When life is testing us the most. Especially when our triggers are at the surface. For that’s when it fights the hardest to take us over.
Because it knows that we can’t see it coming. That we’ll fall into familiar habits. Allowing it to rule over us once again.
But we can fight it.
And we do. For each person who carries shame is a survivor.
We fight it with self-awareness. By journaling. Meditating. Doing yoga. Going to therapy. Sharing what happened to us. Dealing with our anger. With our pain. And learning to let it go.
With self-care. By bathing. Exercising. Being in nature. Eating whole, healthy foods. Drinking enough water. Having hobbies. And laughing.
With self-love. By forgiving ourselves for the things that happened to us that were not our fault. By engaging in healthy behaviors. By being around people who love us. And mostly, by loving ourselves: honoring our strengths, forgiving our weaknesses and taking care of ourselves. Every day. One day at a time.
To all of you survivors, my heart goes out to you. You aren’t alone in your fight. And I wish you light and love each day on your journey. May you heal completely.