Though shame is more pertinent in some cultures than others, it plays a role in the formation and state-of-being of all of us.
It occurs, for example, when people who love us notice when we’re not getting a fair run. They make a fuss, insisting on justice in these situations, particularly if it relates to a relationship. And whenever we justify unfairness as it occurs to us, making concessions for others, perhaps a partner who’s neglectful, we give expression to our shame. We don’t like it when such issues are exposed. Of course, we feel shame when we’re rejected by others, particularly loved ones, too. These are universal responses.
This is common to our human condition; to feel shame in the presence of inadequacy we can do nothing about.
Owning Up Is The Only Way
That which we cannot bear we will only be able to bear when we own it; and the earlier the better.
We’re never beyond this; the state-of-being that cobbles us in our pride. And these characteristics of pride are not overtly sinful—we are, after all, only providing for the dominion that God has given us. We rightly, and necessarily, defend that dominion. God has made us these ways.
But we must also honour the truth. Feelings of shame, common to everybody, are vanquished as we learn to courageously and truthfully challenge such onerous feelings.
These feelings are just a clue. God uses them to pique our awareness. It’s a prompt to honour the truth, at least before the Lord.
Honouring The Negative As A Platform To The Positive
Is this not the way God works? We’re tested by the truncheon of truth. We’re honed in the habitation of humility. And we’re moulded from the melting pot of mercy for ourselves and others.
The truth about life is the negative—in so many manners of fashion—is the very reason generating the positive. We wouldn’t stand to win if we weren’t put into the pit of competition for losing. And whether we’re winning or losing is inconsequential; tomorrow we may win—that’s the point; not losing.
Redressing our origins of shame, our negative states-of-being, requires that we negate the negative by being honestly positive; it’s being truthful, at least with God, about how we feel, remembering that our feelings are never intentional. Feelings are those things we feel. We don’t invent them, and we would surely change many of them if we could.
Instead of denying them, and feeling ashamed of them, we own them.
Power for living, looking life in the face, even surviving, is made easier when we redress our origins of shame. Everyone has them. When we present an honest response in the face of our shame, that shame begins to melt away.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.