Shame & Gratitude

Shame is one of the most powerful weapons in this universe. It has the ability to shut people up, to close in on themselves, to fester in it, to think about those things over and over, and continue to feel that shame over and over again. After reading about the negative effects of shame in Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are,  I came to a sudden clarifying conclusion that quite honestly, overwhelmed me. Shame is something that controls many aspects of my life.

Shame thrives when it is not shared, when it is hidden and closed off. There are a number things I can feel ashamed of, feel bad, but it is time that I take the first step to loving myself again, to sharing that shame so that it cannot survive. My actions and behavior have no doubt brought shame, and guilt, but the power of forgiveness is infinite, and it takes courage to share that shame and ask for forgiveness. I will use this blog to continue to speak about the things in my life that I find gratitude in, but I will also share the things that keep me from getting out of bed, for fighting for things I believe him. This is not a how-to, or a post that says “this is how I overcame it”. I am using this as a tool to resist, release, and transcend.

2016 has been a rough year. I have made more mistakes than I would care to count, I have hurt people unintentionally and well as intentionally. I have pushed down so much stress that it often feels like I am drowning, and it has caused me to direct my pain toward others who didn’t deserve it. This year has also brought pain, and injustice, in personal and societal ways that felt unfair. I often pray, but it felt like I was asking God “why?” rather than thanking them.

I try my best to be optimistic. But today, I cannot. Today, it feels impossible to look on the bright side. And, in remembering a book, called Just Mercy, I came across this quote:

“I am more than broken. In fact, there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy”

Embracing my brokenness means that I am giving myself mercy, rather than continuing to punish. I cannot be good for others, unless I am good to myself. I cannot heal unless I feel the pain associated. I cannot forgive myself until I acknowledge the mistakes I have made. I cannot stop being angry until I acknowledge that every person’s decision is not as a result of me.

Until then, embrace the brokenness.