Understanding Shame and Getting Your Life Back [Episode #554]
This week’s topic is: Understanding Shame and Getting Your Life Back
There isn’t one of us listening to this that hasn’t felt shame. It’s a very heavy energy, and we want to lighten it and release it because it’s such a damper on our light, on the love and the truth that we really are. We do not have to carry shame.
We’ve been getting a lot of questions around this, which I think means that we’re all starting to really take a deep dive and introspect and go deeper, which is amazing. And I have been doing the same thing. I’ve been actually processing shame that’s coming up for me, and I didn’t even know I was carrying it over the past year or so.
On the positive side, there’s a lot of healing that’s coming out of this quarantine. There’s a lot of introspection, a lot of a deep dive that some of us are taking, that’s been prompted by just being home, having more closeness with loved ones, and yet more quiet in some ways. It’s been a tremendous opportunity to go deeper.
The word shame can bring up a lot of feelings for a lot of us, but it’s such a wonderful thing to take a deep breath and go and explore, because on the other side of shame is tremendous lightness, growth, and freedom.
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Kimberly: 00:01 Hi Beauties, welcome to our Thursday Q&A podcast, where our topic today is Understanding Shame and Getting Your Life Back. This is an amazing topic, first of all. There isn’t one of us listening to this that hasn’t felt shame. It’s a very heavy energy, and we want to lighten it and release it because it’s such a damper on our light, on the love and the truth that we really are. We do not have to carry shame.
Kimberly: 00:30 And we’ve been getting a lot of questions around this, which I think means that we’re all starting to really take a deep dive and introspect and go deeper, which is amazing. And I have been doing the same thing. I have been actually processing shame that’s come up for me, and I didn’t even know I was carrying it over the past year or so. So I think that on the positive side, there’s a lot of healing that’s coming out of this quarantine, a lot of introspection, a lot of a deep dive that some of us are taking, that’s been prompted by just being home and having more closeness with loved ones, and yet more quiet in some ways. So it has been a tremendous opportunity to go deeper.
Kimberly: 01:13 So the word shame, it can bring up a lot of feelings for a lot of us, but it’s such a wonderful, wonderful thing to take a deep breath and go and explore, because on the other side of shame is tremendous lightness, tremendous growth, and tremendous freedom. So I’m really excited about our topic today.
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Question #1 around the topic of: Understanding Shame and Getting Your Life Back: I sometimes feel undeserving and isolated from the rest of the world because of an affair I had a couple of years ago. I’m not sure how to get my life back and feel trusted.
Kimberly: 02:04 All of that being said, let’s go right into our topic today. Let’s dive right into shame. First question comes from Naomi, who lives in Delaware and she writes, “I sometimes feel undeserving and isolated from the rest of the world because of an affair I had a couple of years ago. I’m not sure how to get my life back and feel trusted.” Naomi, my love, I give you a big, huge hug over there in Delaware. A big, warm hug. It’s probably a little bit chilly where you are right now. And I want you to know, first of all, that you are amazing. You’re wonderful. You are a drop of consciousness. You are good. The goodness inside of you does not go away, despite what our behaviors may be.
Kimberly: 02:54 And we have all effed up. We’ve all messed up, and what we do is we clean up the mess and we learn. So cleaning up the mess. I’m not sure exactly what happened in your situation, but it could involve talking about it, discussing it, getting it out in the open, and moving on. Learning the lesson from it and then moving on.
Kimberly: 03:20 So in your question, you said, “I’m not sure how to feel trusted,” and it has to start with trusting yourself and seeing yourself as a trustworthy person. And so the funny thing about the past and all the things that we’ve done is that it only exists as memories. It’s not here anymore. And so we continue to beat ourselves up and we continue to think that we are bad by things that we’ve done that aren’t actually really in existence anymore. So it’s sort of a crazy thing when you start to wrap your head around it.
Kimberly: 04:00 And the other thing is to really separate the behavior from you. Was it the best behavior? No, but it’s behavior. Like I said, the core of you is and will always be light. No matter what you do in this lifetime, the core of you is good. The core of you is part of the divine part of God, whatever word you want to use. Nothing can take that away. So what you need to do, Naomi, is to go back to connecting with the deep you, the real you. Not the behavior you, not the ego, not the surface you that worries what she looks like to other people and struggles with confidence, but the real you.
Kimberly: 04:51 And the only way to really connect in is stillness, silence, meditation. Go underneath the surface. Go find her. Go find the real Naomi. She isn’t the cheater. She labels herself as that. She identifies herself and her self-worth in her behavior, and it’s not right. You are amazing. Like I said, you are part of our community. We love you. We support you. We know that you are far more than your behavior. So start to trust the light inside. Start to trust you. Start to connect back with that. Re-foster that connection.
Kimberly: 05:30 And take the time to forgive yourself. So it sounds like you haven’t done that yet. To forgive ourselves, what we want to do is we want to recall something that we feel shameful about. It could be a cheating incident. It could be we yelled at our mom. It could be a time when we could have been a better friend, and just feel it and recall the incident and feel the sensations that come up in conjunction with it.
Kimberly: 05:55 So it could be heat. It could be hollowness. You don’t have to label it. Just feel it in your body, put your hands on your heart. Think of the lesson you learned. It could be, “I will never do that again,” or it could be, “I have deeper understanding and I would do X instead of Y.” Whatever it is, learn from it, and then say it in your heart. “I now forgive myself and I move on.” And take a deep breath. We are human. We stumble. We do things to each other. And if we held resentment for every time anybody has ever slighted us, can you imagine how heavy that burden would be? And so we forgive others. For the most part, I think mostly we forgive other people. Sometimes we struggle. Sometimes we hold onto resentments again because we’re human, but we do forgive. And so we need to give that to ourselves. This isn’t something that you need to hold on to, Naomi. Forgive yourself, learn, move on, and remember that you are the love.
Kimberly: 07:09 You are the light within, and you are not your behavior. I love you. I send you a big hug. Stay connected and move on, girl. All right. And thank you so much for your question. Right from your heart. I can feel it. And remember to stay in your heart. Stay in that loving heart space and to love yourself for the real you beyond all the things that we do in this crazy daily life. We’re just stumbling along. We’re all just trying to do our best. And yes, we stumble and we mess up, and that’s part of the journey, too. And guess what? We all do.
Question #2 around the topic of: Understanding Shame and Getting Your Life Back: Is there a way to prevent shame to avoid feelings of despair? In my case, it’s how I look, and I’m not happy with what I see in the mirror.
Kimberly: 07:45 The next question comes from Yvette, and she lives in Maryland. She writes, “Is there a way to prevent shame to avoid feelings of despair? In my case, it’s how I look, and I’m not happy with what I see in the mirror.” So thank you so much, Yvette. I think this is something that what women particularly struggle with. And I really know this feeling, because I have struggled so much myself, especially where I grew up. I would say definitely through high school and perhaps through college, I was very uncomfortable with what I saw in the mirror. And it started, I think we’re all insecure as teenagers, but it was heightened by the fact that I am mixed, from ethnically mixed. And I grew up in such a Caucasian place that I stood out, and I didn’t want to stand out. And I didn’t like it, and I was called out a lot, even if it was positive attention sometimes and not so positive.
Kimberly: 08:50 Sometimes I really infected me. And I remember looking in the mirror and hatred, and I hated my body and I thought I was too fat. And I berated myself if I got a pimple and hated my hair. Well, I wished it was straight and blonde. So I understand that. I understand these feelings. And what I will say is that when we fixate on the outside, when we feel shameful about our appearance, it’s really a projection. Our appearance is the physicality. It’s kind of like when we don’t feel good so we want to shift our mood with food, and we rely on food cravings and foods to boost our mood and to feel better. It’s really because that is a projection of inside not liking how we feel.
Kimberly: 09:43 So if we feel despair, if we feel we need to be comforted, we might binge on a pint of ice cream. And if we feel a lot of anger, we might crunch down a bunch of chips because the crunch releases tension in our jaw. And so in this case, when we’re looking at the mirror and we’re beating ourselves up from what we can physically see, it’s because, like I was saying to Naomi, we haven’t yet. You haven’t yet, my love, connected to the beautiful, beautiful soul inside of you, this expression of the divine of spirit, which is unlike any other. And so when you start to connect to that, then it really helps you relax and ease up on what you see physically in the mirror.
Kimberly: 10:27 If we project all that on the outside, we’re always going to find flaws. We’re always going to be, “Oh, my gosh, look at that. Look at that little wrinkle. And oh, are my arm’s getting more flabby? And what is happening with my hair? It’s so frizzy today.” We’ll just keep projecting and projecting. The difference is when we start to connect, we start to put our identity not on the outside. We put our identity on the inside. We put our identity in something completely different. So we start to just relax. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t care how we look, because let’s face it. We all want to have the best skin possible. We all want to be fit. We all want to feel beautiful externally to the extent that for some of us it matters more than others, but that’s a natural human desire, I think, is to feel attractive on the outside, too.
Kimberly: 11:23 But it doesn’t feel so serious when we have this much deeper connection to the inside, to the real us, to the soul, to the part of us that doesn’t change. The older we get, or as we eat a bunch of sugar or we gain some pounds, it actually doesn’t actually shift and it doesn’t actually change. So that’s the part of us that we want to foster a deeper and deeper connection with. That’s the part of us that we really want to put effort into.
Kimberly: 11:54 We meet people, and I’m sure you’ve met them as well, that are endlessly fixating on their looks, endlessly doing or getting new makeup, working out, doing more procedures, highlighting their hair. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except when it becomes this never ending struggle and that’s your means to fulfill this hole inside of us versus it will never be filled.
Kimberly: 12:18 It’s sort of like our Four Cornerstones: food, body, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual growth. It can’t just be food. It can’t just be, “I eat this perfect diet. I perfectly food combine. I only eat organic food.” That’s amazing, but food is still not the only aspect of your wellness and your beauty and who you are. We have to look at the holistic aspects. We have to look at the inside. We have to look at our emotional mental wellbeing. We have to look at our spiritual growth, i.e. our spiritual connection to ourselves, to our soul. That’s what I mean when I talk about that.
Kimberly: 12:55 So in your case, Yvette, the thing to do here is to create a meditation practice, to make it the most important part of your morning routine, to sit and to breathe and to start to get to know yourself for the first time. There’s this TS Eliot quote. I’m paraphrasing it here. It’s at the end of a long poem, but it’s something like, “We end the journey where we started, but we know ourselves for the first time,” something like that. I’m paraphrasing, but it’s this idea that even though we’ve been walking around in this temple and in this body for our lifetimes, we may not really know ourselves. I didn’t really get to start to know myself until I started doing a meditation practice and a full yoga practice. And I do follow the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, who’s my guru. So I do the whole Kriya yoga practice. And it wasn’t until I started going down that path in introspection and, again, meditation that I started to see, oh, my gosh, what I thought I was isn’t who I really was. I’m not this outer shell. I’m this inner being.
Kimberly: 14:11 So when I started to connect, Yvette, I didn’t not care about how I looked. I mean, listen, Solluna manufactures high-performance skincare. I love skincare. I want to have good skin. I care about how I look, but I also know that it’s not all that I am. It’s a small part of who I am. Who I really am is this inner space. And so that strengthens over time. It can start like a theoretical idea, but it plants a seed. So as you hear me say this, it’s starting to plant a seed of, “Oh, what do I identify with? If I’m not happy with what I see in the mirror, is it really about that? Or is it really about a deeper disconnection within myself?” And I can almost guarantee it’s the latter. It’s the deeper disconnection with our true self.
Kimberly: 15:02 So what we want to do, I say get into the meditation. We have meditations every month in our Solluna circle, which is over in our free Solluna app. There’s a membership section. We have meditations over on our actual website and the app that are free. So if you’re looking for some guidance, we have it for you or any other ones that resonate, but I encourage you to really take that as seriously as whatever else, your practices. You have to eat breakfast every day. You eat lunch. You go to sleep at night. Your meditation becomes one of those things that is so critical and so crucial, and you will start to see the benefit. You will start to see this despair and the shame as you’re describing it start to melt away bit by bit.
Kimberly: 15:49 I know, because I speak from experience, and it was the way I got through eating disorders. It was the way I stopped hating myself, I mean, in general, but definitely how I looked was I started to really put effort and energy into connecting into my inner, into my soul, into the real me. And so it’s work, but it’s not really more work than what you’re doing. It’s just shifting your focus to that.
Kimberly: 16:21 So I love you, Yvette. I am rooting for you. Thank you so much for being part of our community. And again, check out those free meditations. We’ll link to them in the show notes, and sending you a huge hug.
Kimberly: 16:36 All right, my loves. This has been amazing so far. We all share these experiences and we think, “Oh my God, it’s me. I’m so bad. I’m alone. I hate how I look,” or da da da. And then we realize you know what? This is part of the female experience and the human experience, and just we’ve all been through this. And so we support each other, and guess what? We work through it and we are strong and we are so much more than the surface. And again, we are so much stronger than we think.
Kimberly: 17:10 So we’re going to take a quick break and I’ll be right back to answer two more questions on shame.
Question #3 around the topic of: Understanding Shame and Getting Your Life Back: How can I move through shame instead of trying to numb it? I feel like it’s taking over every part of my body.
Kimberly: 17:24 All right, my loves. We are back from our short break and we have two more questions for you on understanding shame and getting your life back. So the first question comes from Heidi and she lives in Arizona. She writes, “How can I move through shame instead of trying to numb it? I feel like it’s taking over every part of my body.” Wow. This is a really interesting question, Heidi, and you contain some of the answer here in your question. You say, “How do I move through it instead of numbing it?” And that is the answer. We go through instead of around or avoidance or being paralyzed.
Kimberly: 18:09 What I mean by that is numbness is we feel so paralyzed that we don’t want to feel, so we can just close something off. The problem with closing something off that we don’t want to face is that it stays in our life. It persists. The saying, “What we resist persists.” So when we do something we talked about earlier with Naomi, if there’s a behavior in something that we’ve done and we feel bad, we start to feel guilt. We want to process that, because otherwise it starts to turn into shame, which is what we attach to ourselves. Guilt is related to the actual behavior, but shame means that we think we are bad. We are evil. We are unlovable.
Kimberly: 18:56 And so we want to really feel the guilt, feel the feelings that come up. Whatever’s happened or whatever it is, we want to feel it. And that’s what you say here. Moving through is actually, and we’re not really taught this, especially as Westerners, but we want to feel it. We’re taught to take aspirin, emotional aspirin, so to speak. Go watch Netflix, go call a friend, go do this and this, but we aren’t actually shown or encouraged to face it and to go through that fire. Because and the other side of it is learning the lessons and then letting it go.
Kimberly: 19:42 So numbing means that we are not letting something through, my love. Heidi, it means that something is stuck and it’s blocked. And it becomes so painful for you to imagine. Maybe you feel so bad about something you did. Let’s say you lie to somebody, and it feels so terrible you don’t want to associate yourself with it that you lock it out. But some part of your consciousness does still register it. So it starts to require a tremendous amount of energy to keep suppressing it, to keep pushing it down, because your body will say, “Oh, but I know that it’s in here,” and it keeps rising it up to let it be healed. It’s just like digestion. We need to digest it. But then you keep using more energy to push down. And it becomes so much energy that you start to numb it out, because you just don’t want to feel anything.
Kimberly: 20:31 So what I’d say, Heidi, is to sit with this and to say what is shameful here? What am I trying to push down? And instead do the opposite. Let it come up, girl. Just let it rise up. You can write in your journal about it. You can just sit there and let it come to the surface. If you feel that you need some support, you can also do this with a therapist. You can enlist some professional support if you feel that you need to. And just, oh, like you can make noises. You can lean into it. Feel it. Don’t think too much, but feel. And then you will be able to really just breathe and then start to relax.
Kimberly: 21:28 And then as you put in your own words, let it move through you. And feeling is never going to be numb. It’s going to bring up some big stuff, but it does move. Remember that emotions are energy in motion. So if we let them move, they will keep moving. But if we don’t, then it becomes numbness, stagnancy, repression, and then it doesn’t move. And it just gets more and more trapped in our bodies. So feel your feelings, Heidi. Connect with what it is that you try to disconnect from. Remember, as we’ve been saying all along, it is not you. It is a behavior, something that’s happened. The real you is love, is light, is divine universal consciousness. It is and will always be good at the core. So there’s nothing you can do behavior wise to take that away. Just remind yourself of that. So you can move through whatever you’ve been holding on to so you can give yourself back that connection to light and love that you so deserve.
Kimberly: 22:30 I love you. Thank you for being in our community. I send you lots and lots and lots and lots of love, big hug. Hope to see you over more here, the app, which is where I’ve been connecting the most with people on social media. I love you. Take good care, and let me know how you do.
Question #4 around the topic of: Understanding Shame and Getting Your Life Back: Can you share what the differences are between shame versus guilt and how to move past these feelings?
Kimberly: 22:53 Okay. Our last question comes from Ruth and she lives in West Virginia, and she writes, “Can you share what the differences are between shame versus guilt and how to move past these feelings?” Ah. So Ruth, thank you so much for being in our community and for your question.
Kimberly: 23:09 So we just covered this a bit, but basically guilt is where you still have a distance between the behavior and you, so you feel guilty. “Oh, I feel guilty that I ate that entire box of cookies. I feel guilty that I wasn’t so nice to Melanie the other day,” or whatever, right? So there’s a distance. You can see it. And you say, “I feel guilty about that.”
Kimberly: 23:39 But shame is different. Shame is when it all collapses into one. So you actually identify with it. So it’s not, “Oh, I’m guilty about that thing. I’m shameful for being me. I am bad. I am not a good person. I am the problem.” Whatever it is. Whatever stories you start to construct, you start to identify with it as part of your power, part of your worth. I mean, it really does. It’s a very deep, heavy cross to bear and we put it on ourselves.
Kimberly: 24:15 So first of all, what we want to do is connect in past the behaviors, past the ego, past the feelings, and we have to go right to the core. And this takes some effort, as far as creating the right environment for this. This does require some space. So if you are a busy mom like me, you’re going to want to do it after the kids are in bed or during that time or wherever you can carve out space. You want to feel. First of all, I think journaling is a good way to loosen things up so you can write down, “Here are the things I feel guilty for,” or, “I feel shame because,” and just start writing and start to loosen things. Start to bring things up. I find journaling very helpful for this, because sometimes our head starts going in circles and circles and circles, and we don’t really move past a certain thought, whereas in a journal, we can see the thought or write down a statement. We’re not going to write down the same statement 50 times.
Kimberly: 25:25 So then we can probe a little bit deeper. We can just look at it. It’s like a brainstorm. Maybe it prompts other things to come to the surface. But either way, it’s a very powerful practice to write things down. And remember it’s safe. No one else is going to see your journal. You can hide it away. You can even rip up the piece of paper afterwards, if you really don’t want anyone to see it.
Kimberly: 25:44 Let’s say you feel shame related to someone in your house, whatever. Do what you need to do. You can throw it in the garbage afterwards, but the act of writing with your own hand is going to help to uncover some hidden things, some shadow work. So write it down.
Kimberly: 26:01 And then I want you to look at your list. And you can say, “Okay, I’ve actually identified with this and I need to put my identity back where it belongs, which is with my true self.” It is not influenced by these behaviors. The behaviors still remain on the surface. It doesn’t mean we should do whatever we want to do and hurt people. But it does mean that we learn. We need to learn from our mistakes. We learn from our behaviors and we let go.
Kimberly: 26:29 So what I would do is to, again, write things down and then process them one by one. Feel it, just like we were talking about with Heidi. The only way through guilt and shame is to feel and let go, digest and digest and digest. Digestion does not just count when it comes to food. Everything’s energy. Food is energy and it’s more dense so therefore feels more tangible. But feelings and emotions are energy, too. It’s just that we can’t witness them with our physical eyes.
Kimberly: 27:05 So what we want to do, though, is digest them, process them. Don’t push them down. Don’t nom, don’t store them away for a rainy day, which is what happens when we don’t process. Feel that one by one. Let them rise up in your body. Sit with them. Sometimes all we can handle is one a day, especially if it’s a bigger incident or something we’re trying to move through. So really go the pace of your body. There’s some deeper things that I felt shameful about. So shame, so much rooted in the way that I looked. I felt shame. Sometimes I would let Tagalog words slip in when I was little and then I would get made fun of. Tagalog is the language of the Philippines, my mother’s native language. And I remember, “Oh, God, I’m such an idiot.” It’s so deep. These childhood wounds are really, really deep.
Kimberly: 27:59 And then I felt shame when I got divorced and have gone through breakups. Sometimes in our society, we label divorce as failure, and that’s a strong word. We’re all doing our best. And sometimes we’re in a place in our life and we go into a relationship for a certain reason or that’s what feels good to us at that moment. But then we learn and we grow and sometimes it doesn’t. We grow in a direction where it doesn’t fit anymore. And it’s not a failure. It’s part of the journey of life. But I have felt shame from that.
Kimberly: 28:38 And so again, the way through it is to not pretend that I didn’t get divorced or not deal with it, because it comes up sometimes. And I’m going to feel shame. I’ll wear a big D on my head. I’m a divorcee. No, it’s to say, “I don’t identify with that behavior.” I mean, that’s something that happened, but that’s not who I am. Who I am is so much more than that. Who I am is not even in the same stratosphere as that. Who I am is this soul inside. Who I am is this unique expression of the divine. I identify with that. I choose to identify with that.
Kimberly: 29:20 So we make a conscious decision to identify with something else. And then we see the shame for what it is, false truth. We need hold on to nothing, assuming we’ve learned the lessons. So this isn’t about being a narcissist and saying, “I don’t give a F if I hurt people.” This is saying, “No, no, no. I’ve learned as much as I can learn. I don’t need to hold on anymore. I let it go.”
Kimberly: 29:47 Same thing with guilt. So we process, we identify inside. We keep meditating morning and evening because we need it, guys. If we just meditate here and there, it’s not going to help us. But if we keep connecting in work, fourth cornerstone of Solluna spiritual growth, deepen that connection, deepen that connection, and I promise you, your entire life is going to change.
Kimberly: 30:11 My life has changed profoundly and it continues to. And it’s changed a lot in the last year. Let me tell you guys. I’ve been on this journey for a while, but the meditations, the practices that we do, it keeps getting deeper and deeper. That’s why it’s so important to have regular, consistent practices. We drink GGS regularly. We take our SBO probiotics regularly. It’s part of our practice. We meditate regularly, just the rhythms, the way that we sleep every night, the way that the sun sets. These are part of our life. And over time, the more we do our practices, we start to go deeper and we will create more of a reliance, stability on this inner self-connection, and it becomes much harder for guilt and shame to take hold. And I know that from personal experience. It gives us a much stronger foundation from being able to look at something and still process it, but keep it separate. We don’t place it in the innermost place of our identity. We place it as part of our humanness, part of the lesson that we’re going through and learning at that moment.
Kimberly: 31:23 Woo. Big one, guys. Shame. There’s a lot here. I hope that you have enjoyed our show today. Please keep the questions coming about any topic that you want us to talk about here. And I love the questions that have been coming in. Our community is so amazing. You guys are amazing, and I love you so much.
Thought of the Week
Kimberly: 31:44 I want to end with our quote of the week. This one comes from Rumi. “By God, when you see your beauty, you will be the idol of yourself.” Tune in to the true beauty that is you. The true beauty that will never be altered by any behavior, anything you’ve ever done. So don’t identify with that. Identify with that true beauty inside of you, and then the guilt and the shame will start to peel away. You take those lessons. It inspires future actions. You keep on going and going, but you keep connecting to the beauty, the true beauty that is you, that is you right now. You don’t need to think, “Oh, I’ve got to fix all this stuff before I have true beauty, before I am that goodness.” No, it’s there. We’re just uncovering the layers to get to there. We’re uncovering the layers to let that part of you shine out into the world. “By God, when you see your beauty, you will be the idol of yourself.”
Kimberly: 32:57 And on that note, I love you so much. I will see you back here Monday for our next interview podcast. Till then, take care. So much love.