Grace is my gift of self kindness, darkness clouds of thoughts, reach down, reach out Grace stands here where she always stoodEvelyn M Wayde
Have you ever thought about why it can often be easy for us to get stuck in feelings of shame self loathing or self blame? Have you ever noticed how these emotional states can become like an emotional and mental loop? Have you ever wondered why we so easily believe the voice of shame, believing we are wrong naughty or bad? I want to begin this topic with a sense of curiosity, because let’s face it no one wants to dive in to discuss or feel into these difficult and sometimes very sticky and dark emotions.
Shame used to be a very familiar place for me to sit to stay to wallow to sink into, to drown in, to mourn to doubt myself, to suck up and to swallow down. Some might even say heavy emotions became like a knee-jerk reaction in response to anything I became remorseful for or judgmental of. Back then I was not equipped with the tools I have today, so if I sunk far enough into heavy emotions it would be difficult for me to get back out.
Often I would go into a depressed state or ‘depression’ sometimes lasting for days sometimes months at a time.
Looking back and observing it wasn’t the events themselves necessarily that was causing me to drop down into these emotions. It was my own thoughts feelings and perceptions around what took place that brought them on. To explain further they would begin with an emotion washing over me such as shame and as my thoughts lead one into the other they would feed into the emotion increasing the emotional intensity in my body.
As the emotional intensity increased I recall feeling physiological changes beginning to occur, especially in the onset of the feeling or emotion. As these changes intensified they began altering my ability to think or move. If I wasn’t aware of what was happening in the moment it was like quicksand.
It was much like a feeling of being taken over, as my body was flooded with emotions fuelled by my thoughts. My thoughts followed an emotion feeding and compounding it until I no longer felt like myself.
I became the heaviness the blackness, and the blackness and heaviness became me.
When we begin to do work around understanding our emotions we start to get a better picture of what is going on for us holistically and even energetically. From doing my own inner work I can now fully accept, and understand it wasn’t the experience or situation causing me to feel bad, it was my own judgements perception and thoughts that brought them on.
This was debilitating for me as with the guilt shame and blame comes more and more of the same making it difficult to ever see the light. It can be very isolating to sit in judgement of ourselves. We convince ourselves whatever took place was somehow our fault therefore, there must be something about ‘us’ that is innately ‘bad’. We buy into the belief that we ‘deserve’ to feel these extremely heavy emotions and the more we buy into this belief the more alone and twisted we feel and the more and more separated we become from the people we love and the world around us.
Question? What if we are not innately bad? What if the situation or event was not a reflection of us or even a part of us, but rather completely separate from us? What if we could choose or reach for a different emotion?
What if it was the stories in our mind and our own judgement of ourselves that was leading us to shame, blame and self loathing? What if we could choose to accept what happened without the need to change it? What if instead of self blame we were to seek to see things differently? What if instead of shame we allowed ourselves to feel disappointment anger or rage?
The key to breaking free of the perpetual pool of shame is to stop feeding it.
What if we could allow the event or experience to be as it was without placing blame or attaching meaning to it? How could this change the relationship we have with ourselves? Is it possible we could see ourselves differently?
How would this change the way we see and perceive our life? How would it change our interpretation of the event? Could we then offer ourselves some understanding or grant ourselves some compassion?
When we are able to be a witness to a feeling or situation without placing meaning or judgement on it, it allows us to gain our footing through a new perspective and approach the situation in a proactive positive and impactful way.
This is what giving ourselves grace looks like.
This is an act of self kindness and gives us permission to be human. This is how we learn to make new choices by allowing ourselves to move forward instead of being weighted down and feeling stuck in dark heavy emotions.
When we don’t allow ourselves grace we will often seek to blame ourselves. However, self blame is not helpful or constructive nor is it useful as a learning tool. Rather it perpetuates more shame. If we allow it we can build up the shame so much we end up making it so catastrophically big that it almost annihilates us. This is what I did.
Moreover, by making ourselves responsible for things that we could not of changed, we assign ourselves blame that was never ours to take on. Taking responsibility is healthy and necessary in life to flourish and to grow, but not when it causes us harm and not when it is not ours to take on.
We are all human beings having a human experience, we are going to make choices that sometimes are not in our best interest or that hurt others. However, when we find ourselves stuck blaming or rejecting ourselves for a decision or choice we have made this is not helpful. This will not move us into a whole state of being nor will it heal us.
We have the power to cut ourselves some slack, we can practice self forgiveness. We need to accept we are going to continue to make mistake and even ‘FUCK UP’ sometimes, but we can choose to learn from our choices and we can allow ourselves to be okay with them.
On a side note ponder this for a moment.
When we feel any emotion positive or otherwise it alters the bio chemistry in the body. When we get hooked into self loathing blame or shame these bio chemicals begin to flood our body with toxic chemicals leaving us more susceptible to sickness and disease. Not only are we putting our health and well-being at risk we are also strengthening the neural pathways in the brain that activate our shame response. Which means we are strengthening the very thing we don’t want to experience.
Just like strengthening the connection in the brain to shame guilt and self-loathing we can also strengthen the connection to move towards grace, and as we do we begin to move forward. This is how we go from surviving to thriving. This is especially important while we may be unpacking trauma and traumatic events. Self kindness is more powerful and less fluff speak than we realise and if we can just for today allow ourselves a moment of grace maybe we can find another moment tomorrow.
With love Evelyn xx
©All Words Written By ~ Evelyn M Wayde 2020.