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shame as a guard dog

Posted Oct 05 2013 11:26pm

Now, that's a title, right?? Yeah, I'm pretty pleased about this one :)

Everyone knows shame is terrible to experience. Totally awful. And anyone would want to get rid of shame as fast as possible.

Here's something to consider about shame. As usual, it's important to ask what the shame's function is- in effect, to ask the shame what it's doing or trying to do.

Because, sometimes, shame can be trying to help. Weird, huh? But, yeah, as rotten as shame can feel, it can be trying to serve a purpose. 

Someone once told me that shame acted as a way to keep herself under control. She worried that if she didn't feel shame about taking up space in the world she might become out of control and take up even more space- maybe an infinite amount of space. Shame was like a guard dog that sat on her and kept her from "behaving badly"

So, while the pretty much constant shame she felt was truly horrible, and it for sure kept her from having fun, being spontaneous or curious, and kept her stifled in her life- all of which saddened her, she also felt that shame kept her "safe" by keeping her "in line"

Before we try to get rid of things we feel, we've got to investigate them, understand them... and often respect them for what they're trying to do. Sometimes shame isn't trying to do anything; sometimes it's just there as a relic of past experience. But other times it is indeed serving a purpose.

It's not that I want this person to live with shame all the time; not at all. Simply hating the shame and trying to kill it off, through, was never going to be useful. Only in understanding the shame's function for her is she able to change it.


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