Guilt vs Shame

Today I want to discuss a topic which has been stirring in me for a long time, the destructive power of shame. You may or may not realise but because of shame – you have already forfeited more potential than the world will ever take from you. Shame has the power, if you allow it, to drive you into an eating disorder, depression, suicide, into a life that you hate. All of us who carry shame are forced to walk around in chains unable to find happiness or joy. This is not how anyone wants to live.

Shame is very different to guilt. Guilt is a healthy positive emotion which allows us to realise we have done something wrong. A world without guilt would be a cold harsh world. Guilt helps us establish healthy relationships with ourselves, others and with God. As humans we are all imperfect and we all do things we regret, however guilt allows us to express “I am sorry for what I did” and in the process acknowledge behaviours we feel are wrong. It is a gift used for the restoration of relationships, an acknowledgement of failure and a desire to not repeat this behaviour again. It is an opportunity for repentance and it allows opportunity for forgiveness*. Guilt is the only way we can grow into better people, and into stronger relationships.

*Forgiveness is not always possible or given freely. This is not a reflection of you and it does not mean that you need to stay in that place of guilt. Sometimes you must forgive yourself.

Where guilt expresses “I am sorry for what I did”, shame expresses “I am sorry for who I am”. Guilt acknowledges a bad choice, shame indicts a bad person. Shame ignores your good choices, your human imperfection and your willingness to change. At first it whispers in your ear telling you “it’s not a big deal, there’s no need to acknowledge it”, “if you do acknowledge it, it will define you, and so it’s best to lock it away and ignore it”. However, what started out as a whisper is now shouting so loudly you can’t hear anything else. You can’t hear the compliments your partner gives you, the promotion at work, the new friend you made, and most sad thing you can’t even hear the grace of God.  You can’t hear that you’ve already been forgiven. You can’t hear that you are his child, his creation and he loves you so much despite the mistakes you have made, the bad choices are making and those that you are inevitably going to make.

The only way to abolish shame is to open those closed doors. To admit to those things that you don’t want anyone to see, your lies, your mental health, your sugar addiction, your porn addiction, your anger, whatever it is you have tried to ignore and disregard as “no big deal”. This revelation doesn’t have to be done for the entire world to see, but it is important that you acknowledge these things to someone you love and trust, or even a counsellor.

I have been through some counselling recently and found that the shame of some of the things I have been carrying around were so big I found myself lying/withholding information from my counsellor. How ridiculous is that? I couldn’t even open up to someone whom I was paying to help me process my emotions in a judgement-free, safe space. This showed me how powerful and destructive shame can be.

No more will I allow shame to prevent me from living my best life. No more will I allow this closed door to deny me my destiny, my potential and my happiness. I have already begun the process of opening the various doors I have had locked tight for several years and wow – there is so much freedom in opening up. This is not an over-night process. There might be different people you will need to speak to about various different things and it might not be appropriate to have this conversation over the phone. Don’t wait too long, the longer you wait, the louder the voice gets and the more potential and happiness you miss out on.

Have you struggled with shame? Are you “ashamed” of the person you are or the things you have done? Message me privately via bethlaxton@live.co.uk or comment below and I will do everything in my power to help you overcome this soul-destroying emotion.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M4rxBbock4

Advertisements

FOCUS

With one week left to my half marathon and only three weeks left of term (when writing this post), today was a day of refocusing, recentering.

Its been good to reflect on what has gone well over the last few weeks and the things that I’ve let slip which need to be picked back up again. The three main catogories being: diet, dating and doing revision.

DIET
At the beggining of January I decided to make the scary decision of coming off all my perscribed medications. Turns out the medication was making me more ill than my actual illness & it wasn’t even working anyway… so best. decision. ever.
I worked with a nutritionist to use my diet as my new form of medication. At first it went really well and I even managed to keep to the strict supplement schedule, but as the weeks went on I slowly started re-introducing forbidden food groups (mainly beans and the occasional dose of gluten). I realised that these slip-ups have been mostly due to a lack of preperation rather than a lack of self-control. SO to counter balance this, I have created a meal plan! The plan is to avoid all white/unhealthy carbs and eats lots of protein/fat. This is to help me become a fat processing running machine!

MEAL PLAN.jpg

DATING
I have also set up some really healthy boundaries with this new guy I have just started dating. We both really like each other so it’s been a really fun but rather intense couple of weeks, and obviously that is just not sustainable. I noticed within 2 weeks that the amount of contact we had was beginning to feel addictive but draining at the same time.

He makes me laugh out loud at some of the awful jokes he produces and hilarious stories he tells. I guess its just nice being able to talk to someone you click with. But because we enjoyed the conversation so much we got lost in it and kinda overdosed on it. Turns out you CAN have too much of a good thing. 

After talking about it (communication is key) we both agreed that we wanted to keep seeing each other at the same level but decided to cool off the texting element. Which really gives us the best of both worlds. It also means that the quality of conversation we have when we are toegther will be better and it gives us the chance to miss each other a little during the day.

DOING REVISION

I learnt last term that I need to revise a topic as soon as its taught. However, that requires time and effort and determination. Once i’m in the revision mind set – nothing can stop me. HOWEVER getting into that frame of mind is so hard.

Does anyone have any revision tips? If so… please share in the comments below!

Thank you

Thank you for your patience, with upsets, with anger, with hormones and with tears;
with dreams, with immaturity, with illlness and with fears.

Thank you for your kindness, through cups of tea, cuddles and thoughful gifts;
through laughter, through encouragement and endless lifts.

Thank you for your love; for inviting me into your home, your family and life;
for telling me that someday, I’m going to be an amazing wife.

Thank you for your support, for never giving up on me even when I had myself;
for holding my hand through this shit storm, never once thinking of yourself.

Thank you for your attention, for the compliments, the adventures and the cinema dates;
for the netflix sessions, the holidays, and the M&C steaks.

Thank you for being the best boyfriend, right from the very start;
Thank you for who you are and everything you’ve done, thank you from the very bottom of my heart.