This week we explored the theme of Blooming Acceptance to Heal Shame in our daily sessions. Bloom Pause is a community offering that meets remotely using Zoom. Each week we explore a new theme through discussion, sharing, meditation, and practices to improve daily life. If you'd like to join Bloom Pause, please email [email protected].
"Shame is about fear, blame, and disconnection. The story is about worthiness and embracing the imperfections that bring us courage, compassion, and connection. If we want to live fully, without the constant fear of not being enough, we have to own our story. We also have to respond to shame in a way that doesn't exacerbate our shame." Brene' Brown from her book, The Gifts of Imperfection.
People tend to respond to shame being triggered in 4 primary ways that are all informed by the nervous system:
1. Freeze: this is a shutdown, submission, collapse, going numb, or dissociation response.
2. Fight: this is a move against which is an aggressive attempt to gain power over. It can be against others or oneself.
3. Flight/Flee: this is a move away, run away, or escape from a threat, perceived and/or real.
4. Fawn: this is a response to appease, please, placate the perceived threat.
Recognizing that the emotion of shame is a normal part of the human experience is critical to being able to accept it. Shame is an essential emotion to inform our conscience about right versus wrong. And, learning to discern our unique experiences of shame so that when it's occurring we can be as present as possible for ourselves and others while going through it is critical for care. This presence can allow for a conscious response to shame which allows for what we're calling the capacity to feel into FLOW.
Acceptance of shame does not mean you like or dislike it - it does not mean you have a judgment of it. It simply means you are present for what is which allows a conscious response to this human emotion, honoring what you're feeling and allowing this to be and flow as it needs to. This conscious caring response can allow the nervous system to calm, balance, and heal.
A wonderful book on the topic of acceptance is Radical Acceptance: Embracing your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, by Tara Brach. She writes, "The way out of our cage begins with accepting absolutely everything about ourselves and our lives, by embracing with wakefulness our moment to moment experiences. By accepting absolutely everything, what I mean is that we are aware of what is happening within our body and mind at any given moment, without trying to control or judge or pull away. I do not mean that we are putting up with harmful behavior - our own or another's. This is an inner process of accepting our actual, present-moment experiences... without judging ourselves for the feeling."
Group perspectives on acceptance and its role in healing shame:
Ways to accept ourselves in order to heal shame:
In spite of my shame,
It is the will of my heart to be open,
It is the will of my heart to accept myself,
It is the will of my heart to love myself,
And, I offer the Light of my Awareness for whatever is called for,
for the optimal outcome.
And, so it is.
Questions and Suggestions for Reflection:
We hope you find this information of value. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us or join us at one of our Bloom offerings for support and community.
In bloom we grow,