When I started second grade, I went to a new public school. I spent two years at a private school after I badgered my mother into sending me to school when I was five years old. She found a neat private school with two teachers for a class of around 20 kids. I loved it.
I spent kindergarten and first grade there and then switched to the public school for second grade. When I got to my new school, all the other kids were a year older than me and there were over 28 kids in the class with one teacher. No one really took the time to orient me to the school not knowing that I had just arrived that year. I really missed my old school.
On the very first day I was sitting in the back of the class nervous and self-conscious. As time passed, I really had to go to the bathroom, and had no idea what the rules were or where the bathroom was. I was frozen in the same shock I experienced in my drugged birth (see my previous post, “I’m not worthy…). Before I knew what was happening I felt warm liquid pooling in my seat that quickly turning into a soaking wet cold stain all over my pants.
My whole body went limp with shame. My stomach tied into knots, my hands flew up to cover my eyes and mouth. I didn’t want anyone to see me, and I didn’t want to see anyone else. I wanted to become invisible; to drop out of existence. I left my body so ashamed of how it had betrayed me.
I didn’t hear these words come out of my mouth, but here are the beloofs I must have said to myself:
“I can’t believe I’m so stupid”
“I must be broken”
“I am totally unlovable”
“I am not even likeable”
And although I never heard these beloofs said to me out loud by others, I was sure I could read their minds and know what they were thinking:
“Shame on you”
“I can’t believe you did that!”
“How could you have done such a thing”
“What is wrong with you
“You should be ashamed”
“I can’t believe you’re so stupid”
Thank God my new teacher saw my distress and came back to my seat. She immediately saw what had happened and grabbed a towel to put on my seat. She whisked me off to the boys restroom and then off to the office to wait for my mother to pick me up. She tried to reassure me that I had done nothing wrong and should have alerted her to needing to go to the restroom.
But her words fell on a deaf spirit. My beloofs of shame had already been installed when I had accidents as a little kid. For little ones, beloofs of shame are inevitable.
Shame is the physical and emotional manifestation of wrong thinking; what I call “beloofs”. However, even though they are based in wrong thinking, beloofs “feel” just the same, and can be overwhelming. For those who have pets, we can see this automatic response in our animals – even the beautiful Polar Bear in the picture living out in the wild.
If I just look at my dog Reggie with a feeling of anger or frustration inside of me, his tail droops and his eyes drop to the floor. I can feel the shame he feels, and it’s heartbreaking. His total reason for being is to please me, and he has failed at his core.
Shame is a built in response, but is totally counterproductive if its only result is to cause us to feel badly about ourselves. In this case it has transformed from guilt, which helps us to improve, to shame which causes us to give up.
Shame feelings are a result of learned ideas and they are wrong, but the feelings are real and devastating. We have to heal on a physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological plane. I won’t pretend to heal anyone’s shame in a blog article – only to say that shame is a false feeling and does not have to control our lives.
It is healable.
Here are my mantras for healing shame:
“I am a child of the Creator
I am a child of the Creator
I am a child of the Creator”
“I am whole and pure
I am whole and pure
I am whole and pure”
“I love myself unconditionally
I love myself unconditionally
I love myself unconditionally”
“I forgive myself for my flaws and mistakes, and take responsibility when I’ve acted without of integrity
I forgive myself for my flaws and mistakes, and take responsibility when I’ve acted without of integrity
I forgive myself for my flaws and mistakes, and take responsibility when I’ve acted without of integrity”
Let’s all become teachers of peace, and healers of shame.
I love you,