If deep down we believe that we're not enough as we are, we do everything we can to prop up our self-esteem and avoid feeling that pain. So instead of doing the inner work to heal the wound, we simply hustle for our worth.
Methadone clinics are places that people with addiction to heroin and other opiates (pain medication) come to take methadone instead of heroin. All in all, it's a pretty darn good trade, and helps thousands of human beings break free of the shackles of heroin addiction and lead meaningful lives.
I often write about the power of shame in the context of recovery. But shame is a human problem, and long-time Christians are in no ways immune. I was a Christian--and a slave to shame--for more than a decade before I became a slave to alcohol.
Most of us want to be appreciated and loved and valued for more than how we look, but are unable to completely expunge all interest in our outward image. If this is where most of us live, shouldn't we be asking for acceptance to be in this middle space?
Children are especially vulnerable to shame. Self-centered and dependent, young humans will easily translate, "You did something bad," into, "You ARE bad." We need to be aware and careful about the messages we send.
Children are a mirror of our own unresolved issues. So if a child bullies, that child's needs are in some way going unmet. No child who feels delightful within themselves -- whose emotional needs are being met because they feel truly "heard" by the parent -- bullies like this.
I found clothes that would make me look impoverished and bought shoes that were uncomfortably small. I made myself up to look unclean and greasy and carried my belongings in a bag. It had snowed the night before, so I intentionally underdressed.
The more my focus is on another person and what their merits and deficits are, the less likely I am to see myself clearly. Moreover, the less we are inclined to compare ourselves with others and judge others, the more likely we are to partake of genuine gratitude.
My recovery from work addiction helped me to see that my issues were not unique to me. I was able to put things into a perspective that enabled me to recognize the cultural, social and institutional factors that contribute to the dysfunction that showed up at home and in the workplace.
The sexual exploitation and abuse of children continues to link the generations, well beyond the edge of official awareness. Children grow up in their own personal hell. Their rage stays at perpetual simmer. They're not listened to until they commit a crime. Violence flourishes.
Mothers are the most important and most powerful people in the world related to solving our childhood obesity epidemic. The only way an obese child can change is if the home and family changes, and that will only happen when mom says it will.
I have so convinced myself that my parents are disappointed in me for being gay that I keep pushing them to confirm my suspicions. I seem unable to accept that they aren't disappointed in me or ashamed of me. You know what that might mean? That I'm disappointed in me.
Shame has been called the "master emotion" because so much of our experience is filtered through this lens. In addition, it warps and confounds our understanding of ourselves and others in a way that makes sustainable resolutions extremely difficult if not impossible.