Shame is a control tactic used by societies, governments, cultural systems and even friends and family to force or control us into doing things that we more than likely would not otherwise do. It plays the strongest hand in perpetuating our part in dysfunctional relationships and social systems. Shame has such a strong negative, compelling and familiar presence, that we rarely realize we are self-inflicting this powerful and debilitating energy upon ourselves.
Shame makes you feel controlled by some force outside of yourself to dance to a certain tune when you can’t even hear the music. The dance of shame is a dance of never feeling good enough or feeling embarrassed for simply being who you are. It is a dance that can only be overcome by first recognizing the difference between guilt and shame.
Shame is the fear of not being enough and not being accepted for who you are, what you do or how you do it. Shame propels you to feel you must fit into a certain criteria to be approved by others. It creates a spiral of negative emotions that continue to motivate self-defeating behaviors and decisions that in many cases, can and do, lead to self-destructive behavior. Guilt on the other hand is a legitimate feeling of error, of doing something that was not acceptable. When you feel guilty about something, you know there are changes you can and/or must make to adjust your behavior or attitude, whereas when you feel shame you are driven by a fear of not fitting in or being approved of by others for the actions you take.
Western culture is a shame based society. It is a society based on a system of shame that perpetually motivates our behaviors and actions from our religious beliefs, to our commercial and material appetites. In turn, we conform to a societal norm or pattern because we are afraid to be out of sync with the rest of society. We are compelled by shame to shun free thinkers, and are immobilized from thinking freely ourselves for fear of being ostracized by society.
Shame is so powerful that it drives our relationships and forces us to fit into a specific system, designed to keep us moving in a certain predetermined pattern of living. It is shame that creates the haves and the have-nots. It is shame that creates the need to pretend to be a different person than the one that we truly wish to be. It is shame that drives us to settle for certain situations, or propels us to do things that deep down inside we really prefer not to do.
If you feel controlled to make a certain decision that you are not willing to make, shame may be making you dance to its tune. Shame carries a deep sense of embarrassment for simply being the person you are. You can not change who you are, only the things you do. Shame makes you do things to fit in when you were born to stand out.
You do not have to dance with shame. You are purposefully here. Here to live on purpose the L.I.F.E.™ experience that you have the sole authority to design. You do not have to feel shame because you decided to be different from everyone else, or to do things differently. It is OK to accept who you are, including all your faults and flaws, and to know that your past is exactly what you needed to experience to grow into the person you are today.
You were not purposed and crafted to fit in. You were designed perfectly unique. Begin to see yourself in your uniqueness and accept your past, your pain, your problems, and your mistakes. They are what make you the person you are and there is absolutely no shame in being YOU!
You are good enough for God, so you are good enough for L.I.F.E.™. You are designed in a perfectly unique and individually crafted image of the Divine. There is no one that thinks exactly like you. There is no one that will do things exactly the way that you do them. There is no one like YOU!
God does not make one feel shameful to fit into anything… God does not create shame… people do. You refer to Genesis 2:25 where Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed. This means they knew not shame. God did not cause shame, nor does God use shame to teach. Shame can only exist where there is sin, and sin means to miss the mark or to make a mistake. God does not cause one to miss the mark, nor is God using the mistakes you make to teach you a lesson or to work one out in you. As a human BEING, we learn shame in society from our embarrassment and feelings of not fitting into the cultural norm. In some cultures is is shameful for women to show their hair.
Shame has also come to be interpretted as sexuality in the Bible as well as Adam and Eve knew they were naked and covered their shame to hide from God. This is not what they are hiding, this is symbolic for their hiding sin, not their sexuality. (this is a very deep study and we have not enough room to fully expose here)… However, shame is is defined as a painful feeling of having lost the respect of others because of improper behavior. Shame is caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, inadequacy, unworthiness, disgrace and dishonor. The Psychoanalysis Dictionary defines shame as a sense of anxiety about being excluded, unloved and not accepted.
The Bible teaches in Romans 2:4 that it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance; not shame or guilt. God is not using shame to work out anything in us. God wants you to learn how to run to Him when you fail and seek His help to overcome the guilt and the shame that sin brings. He wants you to learn how to seek His presence, not only in the good times, but also in the bad times.
Society had taught us to use the emotions of shame and guilt to motivate and correct the people around us. We tell our children shame on you, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, and you can’t do anything right. By speaking shame into their lives, we have unintentionally built into our children a sense of failure and feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness.
Shame always brings with it thoughts of fear and anxiety. Shame makes us feel like we need to run away and hide from God and from all the other people in our life. It makes us want to conceal our shortcomings and to keep secret the cause of our guilt. Shame cuts us off from the presence of God.
But what you hide from God can never be understood or overcome. Thus, God could not ever use shame to work out anything within us. Shame is not a part of God, nor is it a working of God for any purpose. God is good and send Jesus to share with us the way out of sin and shame…
God does not want you to stay bound to shame and inferiority. He does not want you to feel excluded from His fellowship or rejected by His love. He wants you to know that He can help you understand