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Releasing Shame

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

“I release the burden I was given, a burden that was never mine to carry”

The burden of childhood trauma can weigh heavy into adulthood and the rest of our lives. Many of us carry trauma and the layers of pain and grief with us in our bodies. We’ve carried this so long that it’s sometimes hard to tell what is ours to carry and what is not. I remember feeling for years that I was destined to a life of struggle because of what happened to me. I couldn’t find a way out or a way through. It felt impossible to stay and impossible to go. I felt trapped underneath the aftereffects of what I endured as a child.

Learning to meet myself with compassion and care has taken years to achieve. Still, some days I feel back where I started. But just like the effects of trauma recorded in my body, I’ve learned to feel my way through and record a new experience. Repetition, support, loving relationships, therapy all have helped me see myself in a new light. It takes courage to step beyond what we know to be true. It takes courage to admit that we were meant for so much more than survival. In this imagining and rebuilding, there have been many layers that I’ve needed to release and let go of. When we face our pain and our grief, these layers come to the light. Then must come a commitment to not abandoning ourselves in this pain. It feels turbulent and unfamiliar. And then, a sliver of light comes through to remind us to keep going.

We eventually learn how to release what is not ours to hold. We eventually learn what weight was never ours to carry. We learn that our bodies, our minds and our spirits want to heal. We learn that our bodies have always kept us safe in the ways they know how. The edges soften, the bracing gently releases and we feel more free.

To release shame is to see our wholeness and worthiness. To release shame is to remember that we never deserved the harm that was done to us. In releasing shame we refuse to stay small any longer. We refuse to stay quiet any longer. We rise.

We remember that…

We are human and deserving of compassion

We are allowed to make mistakes

We are allowed to experience all of our emotions

We are allowed to be disliked

We are allowed to be less than perfect

What happened to us was not our fault and as children we deserved care, support, safety, unconditional love and intentional guidance.

Shame closes us in with walls so high that keep us small. The space of shame is suffocating and devoid of light and truth. Shame was meant to do this. It is designed to keep us small and quiet, especially in the face of injustice and violence. To uproot shame and dissolve it is so courageous and can open us to living a life we can thrive in.

A lightness moves through when we rid ourselves of this burden. It can still be painful and we may still find ourselves attached to this story in our lives but each time we sow seeds of firm advocacy for ourselves, we move closer to a new story. We can tell stories of how we thrive and how we’ve learned to navigate unimaginable pain. We can tell stories that go beyond survival. We can tell the story of our freedom and our power to choose a different outcome than what we one day thought we were destined for.

I’ve released the belief that I am destined for a life of struggle. I’ve practiced loving myself, along with all my flaws and imperfections, and this has allowed me to bloom ways I never thought possible. There is room for so much more. In releasing the burden of shame, I am free from the pain of the past.

Eve is a survivor of childhood incest and has been using expressive arts as a way to tell their stories for nearly 20 years. They are a fierce advocate, parent, sibling, teacher, artist and survivor. You can find more about their work and community offerings on their website

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