Posted on Friday, September 28, 2012
in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values
Dating difficulties drag us down. Whether it’s crying our way through a painful breakup, dealing with being dumped, or coping with the obvious sense that we’ve blundered, blown it and need to move on, they all drag us down.
Maybe you don’t have dating drama. Maybe you’re jealous of the cute girl in the next cubicle, the muscular guy in the seat next to you, or the smart girl who always has the right answer.
Maybe you’re an unemployed NFL referee whose mistakes were played over and over on national TV.
Most likely your mistakes are like most of ours, hidden.
Hidden, but they drag us down. Far down.
Most people — filled with guilt and shame — choose the “fake it until you make it” principle. They pretend nothing is wrong.
We hide. Why do we hide? We feel a sense of shame.
Shame, my friend Tonya Toutge reminded me, is a deep belief that we are defective.
So, we hide to cover up any defects. Shame “solves” problems.
How Do We Hide?
Are you filled with anger? Don’t want anyone to know? Smile.
Feeling afraid? Act tough.
Feeling hurt? Hide it.
Feeling like a mess? Cover it up.
Feeling weak? Tough it out.
Feeling worried? Don’t worry. Be happy.
Just got “caught’? Deny it.
Why Do We Hide?
Shame makes us want to hide. Shame minimizes, justifies and ultimately destroys.
At its worse shame convinces us that, “I am what I am. I cannot change. It’s hopeless.” 1 I’ve been there. In the depth of my pain and loneliness, I’ve been there.
I hate when I let down my guard.
I hate when I lower my standards.
I hate when I make excuses.
I hate when I hide my failures.
I hate when I fear exposure.
I hate when I fear rejection.
I hate when I doubt your compassion.
I hate when I wonder if you’ll talk about me.
I hate when I choose to ignore Scripture.
I hate when shut off my self-control.
Perhaps most of all, I hate when I let those hatreds keep me trapped in my guilt and shame.
Guilt = is healthy. Guilt reminds us we need to turn to God and make changes.
False Guilt = an unhealthy sense of guilt based on lies about our choices.
Shame = an unhealthy destructive set of lies about our nature.
How Is Shame Affecting You?
If you’d like to know, you might want to take this short quiz.
Read the statement, then choose how true this statement is for you.
Put the number in the blank beside the statement.
Always (6); Very Often (5); Often (4); Sometimes (3); Seldom (2); Very Seldom (1); Never
___ I often think about past failures or experiences of rejection.
___ There are certain things about my past which I cannot remember without experiencing strong, painful emotions (i.e., guilt, anger, shame, fear).
___ I seem to make the same mistakes over and over again.
___ There are certain aspects of my character I want to change, but don’t believe I can ever successfully do so.
___ I feel inferior.
___ There are parts of how I look I cannot accept..
___ I am generally disgusted with myself.
___ I feel certain experiences have basically ruined my life.
___ I think of myself as an immoral person.
___ I feel I have lost the opportunity to experience a complete and wonderful life.
Regardless how low, or how high that total is, don’t stay stuck.
Shame robs us of who we are.
God wants to bring us peace.
We want to protect our reputation. Jesus wants to be real. ‘Whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.” 2
This is mysilentscream, “Don’t settle for shame!”
1 – This quote and the shame test originated in Robert McGee’s excellent book, The Search For Significance.
2 – Hebrews 4:14-16, [CEV]