The first chapters of the holy scriptures used by all the abrahamite religions paint a beautiful picture of the first humans who where: “naked and not ashamed”. This is a haunting picture of innocence and pristine undefiled creation, that I think we need to recapture for our modern times.
Shame literally means to hide or to cover up. There are so many ways we do this from the little things (not standing up for ourselves or owning our own desires) to the big things (truly believing there is something wrong with you and that you are a broken person). I have at times been accused of being shameless, maybe because in many instances I do not care what other people think of me and so I might act a bit more freely than many of my fellow swedes. Still that is a far cry from no shame, which I discovered recently I have in spades. Because I have my own things that I cover up, hide and will not own. You won’t know about it, because I am hiding it!
I guess just like you are hiding your shame. And so our closets are brimming with secrets that are in desperate need of airing out the dust and mould of a lifetime of hiding.
Let’s just, as a sidetone, once again make the important distinction between guilt and shame. Shame is believing you are bad, there is something fundamentally wrong with you, while guilt is the conviction that I have done something wrong. Guilt drives us to admit our mistakes and to fix them. Shame drives us further inte the closet, deeper into hiding and fills us with self loathing and self hatred.
So you can rid yourself of guilt by making things right, shame however you can only deal with through grace and radical acceptance, accepting who you are and stop hiding. Coming out of the closet and owning your quirks, your thoughts, your desires and who you are as a person.
Because shame drives us deep into hiding and deep into our ego stories, shame also hinders us from personal and spiritual growth. This leads me to believe that shame actually physically shortens our lives by opening us up to depression and disease and even if that is not true in all cases it hollows out our lives by denying us the chance to fully live, to fully be ourselves and to fully express the glory of the divine manifest in us.