Edit Content




Freedom from Shame
by Kelly Asahi
Feelings of shame and guilt are human nature when we make mistakes or fall short of our visions but embracing vulnerability and attitude of gratitude can help us overcome these negative feelings and fears to move forward with confidence and satisfaction. Let’s start off by taking a few moments to think about 5 things that we are grateful for – things that money cannot buy. I’d like for you to write these 5 things down. For me, I am truly grateful that I was able to wake up and go to work today. I am grateful that I was able to hug and kiss my dog. I am also grateful that I was able to text my significant other “good morning” and receive a response from him! When we stop to really reflect, we have a lot to be grateful for in our lives.
As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, I sometimes lose sight of this when situations or circumstances don’t turn out the way that I had hoped or when there’s a feeling of disconnect in a relationship. Striving for perfection isn’t wrong, but it’s not always realistic. Rather than striving for perfection, we should strive for excellence! In our efforts to strive for excellence, there will be times when we miss the mark and don’t meet our expectations or the expectations of others. As a result, we may feel feelings of shame and vulnerability. What can we do about this?
Dr. Brene Brown calls shame “the swamp land of the soul”
Growing up, we are told things such as ‘failure is not an option’, ‘second place is first place loser’, and that making mistakes is a bad thing. Shame comes from the belief that we are not worthy, not good enough, and unqualified. It is the perception of what we and others think of ourselves. This can lead us to shy away from putting ourselves out there, hinder us from pursing an opportunity, or cripple us from taking a chance.
Shame diminishes our courage, our independence, and our freedom to be who we want to be and were created to be
Many of us tend to correlate vulnerability with weakness. Having the courage to open up and be vulnerable is one of the bravest things one can do! Allowing yourself to be vulnerable may feel risky, scary, and uncertain at times, but not all vulnerable moments are negative. Vulnerability is also the birthplace of creativity and innovation for positive change. Did you know that when we give ourselves permission to imagine, dream, and create, we are allowing ourselves to be vulnerable? When we allow ourselves to be creative and adaptable to change, we are practicing positive vulnerability!
Most of us have, at one point or another, experienced a broken heart. Maybe it was a relationship, friendship, or missed opportunity. However, as we move on and have the courage to open our hearts again, we all deserve congratulations for our courage and strength. If you have ever been in this state or are currently walking through this season, know that the broken hearted are extremely brave. Philosopher-poet Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, “For everything you have missed, you have gained something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something.” Challenges in life are the catalysts that steer us in a different direction.
Do you know what the hardest emotion for us to handle is? It’s joy! Have you ever self-sabotaged a happy moment? I have, and for most of my life I didn’t realize that I was even doing it! For example, when I’m at home relaxing on the couch, watching tv and hugging my dog, I start to think about how sad I will be when she isn’t here anymore. Or when I am finally on the plane about to take off on my well-deserved vacation, I start worrying about the stability of the plane and whether we are going to safely make it to our destination. I now realize that by thinking these things, I am stealing my own joy from these happy moments in my life. So how do we add more fully enjoyed moments of joy to our lives? The answer is quite simple, we practice having a heart of gratitude.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful and having the readiness to show appreciation for and to someone or something. Gratitude is vitally important in living a joyful life. Even during the valleys in life, gratitude still exists. Holding onto a heart of gratitude, especially in these moments, helps us to get through those tough moments, situations, and conversations. As we continue to fill our hearts with gratitude, it doesn’t leave any room for fear. Gratitude doesn’t mean that we deny what’s happening, but rather it helps us to never lose sight of the horizon, even if at that moment we are not able to see it. As we continue to push through with our God given strengths and the support of those around us, we will begin to rise up out of that valley.
So, today I challenge you to fight feelings of inadequacy and shame by being vulnerable and focusing on the things you are grateful for and that bring you joy, and in this mindset, you will be met with new discovered self-bravery and resilience.
© 2022, HAWAII PACIFIC NEUROSCIENCE. All Rights Reserved.