Know of anyone who is scared of dying? What can be equally fearful for some is the thought of living. Shame is the primary ingredient for people to be scared to live. Shame is the disease that steals life from you while you’re living it.
I know it must be confusing for people to try to understand the trauma behind self-mutilation; people who cut, scrape, or burn themselves. I hear that it’s like equating pain with feeling alive. There is a self-loathing that seeps deep into a person’s soul and so some cut as a cry for help as they hurt themselves where others can see. But some people cut where it can’t be seen, because somehow they’ve convinced themselves that they either deserve the pain, or the pain is the only time they feel anything at all.
Self-rejection, self-loathing, and shame constitute a belief that a person is not worthy of love. They think that they are a failure or a disappointment.
Have you ever noticed someone demonstrating “sacred, holy self-loathing”? Have you ever complimented someone and they gave in return false humility? They reply, “Oh, no that wasn’t me, that was all God. I mean you really don’t know who you are until you identify yourself as a lowly, filthy worm.” Somehow they feel humbled by demeaning themselves.
If people are rejecting and shaming themselves, they really haven’t learned that they are worthy of love. The only reason a person would ever choose to identify themselves by their worst traits is because they do not believe they will ever become well, worthy, or loveable. They can’t fathom that they will ever be good enough.
Everyone has some form of shame in their thinking. So, how do we explain people who suffer and yet are not broken? Because it’s not the cut that keeps a person bleeding, it’s the refusal to receive the scar and instead keep the wound open. The way a person keeps the wound open is by the lies they believe about themselves.
People are still bleeding today and the wound happened years ago. They might have been victims when the wound happened, but continuing to believe the lies that they are worthless, invaluable, and unlovable keeps the wound open.
It’s not the fact that someone that you gave your heart to left you, rejected you, betrayed you, and said that they don’t love you anymore.
That’s not what keeps you bleeding and feeling so hurt. It’s the thought that you are not worthy to be loved at all.
Shame keeps the wound open.
It’s not that you lost your job or the loss of financial security that devastates you. The devastation comes when losing your job has convinced you more than ever that you will never amount to anything. The voice that states, “You are a failure.” Shame keeps your wound open.
Shame is the problem.
It is the disease that is killing you while you live. And until we go all out and defeat the real enemy, we will often fight with the people closest to us, thinking they’re the enemy. When in reality, the invader is inside us. Have you ever fought a battle with someone and later lamented and said, “Why are we fighting?”
I would suggest that you both were fighting the wrong conflict. For most of us, the battle that needs to be fought is the one raging inside us
Next week we will begin exploring how to create enough scar tissue to stop the bleeding and how to win the battle over shame.