Is your life controlled by a deep dark secret? Does the fear of being found out terrorize you? Has an event or person from your past convinced you that there's something so wrong with you that you'll never be normal? This is what it's like to wrestle with shame-fear.
Many of us who are instinctively on a shamanic path have experienced this.
Shame and Guilt: What's the Difference?
People often confuse shame and guilt. Although they may have some similarities, they are not the same emotion.
Guilt is a sickening feeling about something you have done wrong. Guilt is what we feel when we have inadvertently or intentionally hurt someone, and later regret it, but can't get past having caused the injury. For the well meaning and psychologically healthy person, feeling guilty leads to asking forgiveness or making amends, and doubling our efforts to be more conscious of our actions, and our impact on others in the future. Shame is the feeling that there is something irrevocably wrong with you. Shame is a perpetual feeling of humiliation, or expectation that others will see what we think / have been taught to believe are our ugly flaws. We feel shame when we've been subjected to others' relentless judgments and cruel criticisms, and accepted those appraisals to be true.
Oddly, shame can also be cultivated in an atmosphere of over-praise that doesn't match our own internal sense of reality. Being repeatedly told you are awesome when you know you weren't performing up to your own standards can skew your sense of reality as well as a desperation to never be found out.
Shame damages the psyche so badly that we reach the conclusion that we can never be good enough, or will never be able to overcome the huge flaw we are burdened with.
Carrying shame robs us of self-esteem and self-confidence. As such, shame is a type of poisoning of a healthy psyche. And worse, it is corrosive agent on one's ability to connect with spirit guides, be a clear-minded spiritual warrior or effective energy healer, and derail attempts to use psychic gifts in ethical ways. It is possible to have both guilt and shame. From my experience and training, I have to say that guilt is much easier to heal than shame.
Healing shame requires:
changing beliefs about your self
expanding your definition of normal
seeing the beauty in imperfection
having lovingkindness for yourself
claiming your power
taking small risks to challenge the fear
getting support from people who encourage you
owning all the ways that you are more than good enough
Being Spiritual Warrior for Yourself
One approach to healing shame is to consider it a spiritual priority, a first essential step on the way to being more fully plugged into the spiritual energies of the Universe.
If you have a spirit guide who assists you in thorny psychospiritual challenges, ask for help in stepping out of the hold that shame has on you. You might even have a spirit ally you consider a sin-eater, which can also be a shame-eater. Or do a shamanic journey with the request that a shame-eater ally come to work with you on this issue.
An especially helpful ritual is to make a point each morning before breakfast for 9 days to smudge yourself and call your guardians of the directions, then ask for the toxic sludge of shame within you to be dissolved, never to return. Ask the guardian of each direction specifically for their assistance in this mission, and remember to thank them for doing this for you. Think no more about it for the rest of each day.
On the 10th day meditate on, or chant, gratefulness for all your blessings. Sing your chant often throughout the day.
Reclaim Your Power
On the 11th day, begin to talk about the very thing you have been too ashamed to reveal. Of course, choose appropriate ways to do this, and proceed with the humility of simple objective honesty. Whether you tell just one person or post it on the world wide web doesn't matter. The intentional act of taking back your power is what is needed. It will be a cleansing act for your inner spiritual warrior.
It is important to distinguish between humility and shame. Shame hides and cowers, living in fear of being exposed, rejected, and publicly humiliated. Humility is open and objective about facts, holds personal accountability, faces reality, and forgives human frailties.
A spiritual warrior practices humility, knowing herself to be a channel for spirit energies, even when her focus is fiercely directed on particular wrongs to be righted.
As you can see, healing shame can be a complex process. It's never to late to start.