Shame is a feeling we are uncomfortable talking about. But shame is a common feeling for everyone.
If you are something who suffers from persistent pain, shame may be a common experience for you. You may feel shame in interactions with family, friends, and healthcare workers. Commonly, when you are in pain and unable to support yourself and others in the way you would like, you may feel shame...
It is important to differentiate between shame and guilt. Guilt is when you feel bad about something you have done. Shame goes one step further whereby you feel bad about the person you are.
From my lived experience, I have a particularly close relationship with shame from going through my accident and subsequent disability. I was never one to ask for help before the accident but afterwards I had no choice but to ask for help in my day to day life.
Initially, due to my injury and loss of function in my right arm I had to start asking for help for many things. Help to dress myself, help to carry things, help to open jars, help to travel. The feelings of helplessness and shame was ever present.
Shame was a feeling that I couldn't escape from. Combined with the fear of losing my independence, losing confidence in my ability to take care of myself, and the fear of having to rely on others to get through life made me feel ashamed about what was happening.
I felt incredibly angry at myself for getting into the accident and having to put my family through the pain. In the end, the feelings of guilt, shame, and helplessness stunted my ability to grow and become resilient.
I had to stop feeling sorry for myself to move forward in my life. My ability to share my shame and become more vulnerable with myself and loved ones started the process of healing shame.
Now, 6 years after the accident, I have far more awareness and understanding around my relationship with shame. I have realised that shame is a feeling that I cannot avoid but I can certainly respond in much healthier ways.
Mindfulness has helped me sit with feelings of shame when I can't do something due to my injury. I give myself love and kindness in those moments because that's what I know I need.
If you are someone who is feeling ashamed of yourself and your abilities due to pain and injury, let me tell you that you are certainly not alone.
The feeling of shame often creates a barrier between us and healing our pain. We may feel so bad that we don't believe that we can heal. This can be particularly damaging to our ability to recover.
It's ok to feel shame. It's also important to acknowledge that feeling this way does not need to stop you from becoming the person you want to be. Strong, resilient, capable, and unique.
You can certainly live a meaningful life despite of shame. Let's start talking about our shame so we can let go of the stigma that it is a private and secretive emotion. We all struggle with it. Let's learn to appreciate all our emotions because that is what makes us human.
If you are someone who is in pain and feels shame because of it, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
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