On Shame

I used to say, “I have anxiety.” Over time and with the support of some wonderful people, podcasts, and books and moments spent in sometimes very uncomfortable silence and meditation, I came to a deeper way to understand my difficult emotions: by recognizing that behind anxiety is most often shame. And everyone experiences shame, it’s so very human. But sometimes that shame feels really powerful. Sometimes it’s just so damn loud and its voice drowns out the voices of self-compassion, self-love, and kindness. What happens when instead of having a shouting match with our shame, instead of getting all teacher on our shame, we just sit with it and listen? What if we let shame scream its totally well-thought out, fact-driven ideas at us and then smile back, seeing shame as the sad, hurt little person it is – because our shame is us, but only one part of us – and then we say, “I hear you. That really sucks. I love you?” What would happen then? I don’t know for sure but on this long, quiet subway ride home, I’ll listen, and maybe later I’ll let you know.

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