By its very nature, shame is something we tend to hide. We assume others won’t see it if we can hide it well, and perhaps we can forget about it ourselves. But the more we hide the more it grows. Overcoming our shame requires us to expose it and bring it into the light of our loving relationships with others.
Certainly, shame is not something we can just ignore without significant consequences.
It speaks the lie that we’re not worthy of love and belonging. And if others only knew what we had done and who we are they wouldn’t want anything to do with us. It’s best then to hide and just pretend we don’t have any skeletons in our closet.
But, without realizing it, this hiding is the very thing that feeds the shame and keeps it around. The more we hide the more we have to pretend and wear our various masks. And this ultimately blocks our chances of truly being known by each other.
The path to overcoming our shame is bringing it into the light.
Shame starts to lose its power as we allow meaningful others to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of who we are and choose to love us anyway.
To be sure, this feels risky. And the fear of being shamed farther often sends us back into hiding again. But as we live in God, our love grows more perfect, and perfect love expels all fear.
As such, we grow in confidence – courageously sharing our stories with each other because of God’s love for us and our love for each other.
And together we can confront the lies of shame and experience the truth of being loved and accepted for who we are.
In the end, don’t let shame keep you in hiding. Find your trusted others – exposing the shame, receiving love, and living in freedom.