|The death of shame is the birth of life. Shame will keep you from showing
yourself to the sun. Shame will keep you indoors. Shame will keep you in long slacks
during the hot summer. Shame will keep you off the beach. Shame will keep you from letting
me in. Shame will keep you from trying something new. Fear of shame rules your life, so
you have no life. The death of shame is the beginning of life.
But here is a secret: NO
ONE CAN FORCE YOU TO FEEL SHAME!
Just for an experiment, recall a situation in which you felt intense shame. Do not run
from the feeling of shame. Feel it. Does this shame makes the area around the sides of
your ribs tingle and burn? Does it feel like your skin is crawling off of you?. What does
your shame feel like? Like a big hole in your stomach? Like your skin is burning? Feel it,
get acquainted with it. realize that nothing is really happening to you--there is no real
danger. Just feel the feeling. Soon you will be saying to yourself, "Oh, is that all?
I can handle this. This will not kill me--even if I accidentally allow someone to invoke
this feeling in me, I am not afraid of it. It's just a strange, uncomfortable
It will become amusing to you when you realize that you don't have to feel
ashamed. You have a choice, now, now that you know the truth. No one can make you feel
ashamed. This is YOUR body, not theirs! These are YOUR feelings, not theirs. And you can
choose what you feel by choosing what you think.
When someone attempts to shame you, a strange thing will begin to happen. You will step
outside of the situation and see it for what it is. And it will no longer have power over
Neither will you have to run or avoid situations which used to shame you. Trying
something new will not be a traumatic, shaming experience. Losing a job or a relationship
may be painful, but it will not continue to contain the pain and suffering of shame long
after the initial shock has struck you.
Realizing that only YOU can make yourself feel shame is one of the keys to the Kingdom.