Sleepless nights.

Aching heart.

Nightmares.

Paralyzing fear.

Nausea.

Hot burning tears.

Agony.

Pain.

Sorrow.

Disappointment.

Reading those words I am sure something or someone comes to mind. Your heart feels that  familiar sense of ache and the negative memories are now at the forefront of your mind.

Take a moment, let that pain stay. Feel it. Introduce yourself. Ask what it is that it’s trying to teach you.

Once you become familiar with your pain, you’ll start to be able to breathe normally and think with clarity during the moments that used to rid you with anxiety.

The special kind of pain that I am referring to is shame.

And shame can be unbearable.  

It raises questions like:

“Why did I feel the need to stay with him for so long?”

“Why didn’t I stick up for myself sooner?”

“How did I get so far from who I am?”

“Why wasn’t I honest with anyone about just how depressed I was?”

These questions haunted me to the point where I refused to talk about my pain. My shame was just something I hid under my clothes, and I was the only person who saw it exposed.

The difference between “guilt” and “shame,” is GUILT says “I did bad,” while SHAME says, “I am bad.”

And this is what makes me so sad. Because most of us DID bad and are only experiencing the consequences for our actions, but we are not bad people for experiencing life.

Hear me when i say this,

You are NOT a bad woman for giving him a third chance.

You are NOT a bad person  for giving them the benefit of the doubt.

You are NOT a bad mother because you chose to parent differently than your mother did.

You are NOT a bad daughter for making grown up choices, even if your parents disagree.

It is very difficult to be honest about our shame when we are constantly watching people’s highlight reels on social media, while we just spent all day in the fetal position crying over our “shame attack.” (Very similar to an anxiety attack, except shame comes knocking on our door, making it hard to breathe.)

One of my most used phrases this past year was, “I am so ashamed of what I did.”

However, if you are suffering through shame right now, that only means you are free from whatever caused you shame in the first place.

The scary thing about shame is one day you will feel as though the healing is finally beginning, while other days you will hit a wall. But bottom line is this, you should be proud of yourself for leaving that relationship, for choosing to ignore those who weren’t nurturing your soul anymore or standing up to your family even if you feel ashamed that you took their bullying for so long.

For me, my shame comes from the loss of my self-worth. I was told horrible things in a relationship, but I stayed, and worse, I lied to everyone about just how bad it really was. But for what? To prove I could fix him? And to prove that to who?

It is a hard pill to swallow knowing I lost so much of my dignity in such a little amount of time, however I believe I gained it all back when I packed up and closed the door on the abuse. And that I can be proud about.

Shame is a monster, but like anything negative, there is always a positive. Shame dies when it is spoken in safe places.

When you hide your truth from people, you are hiding yourself.

Our shame does not define us, and our self worth is not based on the choices we have made in the past. We will be stronger and better for the pain we have endured, and I promise the shame that haunts you won’t be there forever.

Everyday you will acknowledge it, come to the terms with the choices that you made, and be okay that you are right where you are supposed to be. Once shame can’t fight against you anymore, it will leave. It may pop in your life like the annoying neighbor, reminding you they still live there, but you’ll be able to look at in the eye and continue with your day.

For anyone reading this who is carrying their own guilt and shame, you can be healed. Drop the load. Pain can be an amazing teacher, but it can also be a painful reminder of our unhealed areas.

One of my favorite verses comes from John 19:30, and it says, “It is finished.” A line that’s so simple but holds so much relief.

The pain, the guilt, the shame, the burdens you may be carrying—-let them go.

Your time to carry the weight is over.

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