The voices of shame



You’re a bright shining star–ten times as bright as the sun!

You’re a constellation of love, a song of eternity, a beacon of Oneness disguised as diversity!

Yet what keeps us from realizing this completely, totally, absolutely?

Quite often it’s the voices of shame, of guilt, of non-enoughness.

We all have them, those tricky inner voices declaring we’re somehow flawed, somehow wrong.

If we just did this, this, or this–we could make ourselves into the Proper Person and then–only then–would we be enough.  So the voices say.

If we didn’t do THAT–well, then, we’d be enough.

If we did do THIS–well, then, we’d perhaps glimpse that bright shining star.

Shame often spreads pervasive through our persona like an unspoken disease.  It rides a wave through our culture, so often unacknowledged, pushed underground.  It remains almost unconscious working its poison, whispering, whispering, “You’re bad.  You’re not enough.  You’re flawed.  You just didn’t try hard enough.  You didn’t control yourself enough.  You don’t get it right. There’s something broken in you.”

None of us are immune.  If we’re not shaming ourselves, we’re shaming others.  They get it wrong.  They’re not right.  They’re bad.  They’re evil.  They’re missing the point.

The constellation of love within seemingly corrodes.  We can’t even see it beneath the voices of shame.

What’s the difference between regret and shame?  Regret says perhaps we “missed the mark”.  We did something not exactly skillful.  We made a mistake.  We acted from a less-than-stellar motive.

Shame skulks even deeper.  It says–no, not only did you miss the mark–YOU are bad.

See the difference?

Regret may open doors toward more skillful choices.  It says, “Hey, buddy, look again.  Is there a better way to handle the situation?”

Shame is an Ebola that devastates.  We’re lucky if we survive.  It insists upon a self-definition of despair.  It divides the world into an agonizing denial of the positive sprouts of our former choices.

So often the choice that “misses the mark” comes out of a desire for the love that we are.  It comes out of a frustration that we seemingly couldn’t find the love.  Seeds of goodness lie sprinkled around that choice that didn’t feel so good.

Look at the seeds.

Look deeper than the seeds.

Keep looking.

You’re a bright shining star–ten times as bright as the sun!

You’re a constellation of love, a song of eternity, a beacon of Oneness disguised as diversity!

Do you see it now, hidden in the empty/fullness at your core?

I see You now, this very moment, and I fall on my knees at your beauty.

At the core all words fall away.  The mask of shame dissolves.  Why pick it up again?




9 thoughts on “The voices of shame

  1. Usually I read but do not comment. I think without judgement, without opinion, just thoughts for me to ponder. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I may decide that I have a different opinion; rarely do I see anyone challenging your beautifully written composition. Who am I to present a different view? It is enough to have my thoughts look at something differently.

    • That is beautiful–“It is enough to have my thoughts look at something differently”. You are a bright shining star. It has taken me many years to realize this and I don’t remember it every day. Thank you.

        • Except when the voices of shame arise and obscure the “real thing” in me, Linda. That’s why I write these little essays. They help me to remember what’s really important and to slow down enough to be able to see the real me and the real you. I do think you are a bright shining star, truly. I remember one of our first exchanges about the Trenary Toast. Your bright delight and humor was so delightful.

  2. Kathy,

    Beginning this blog, a few lines down, I said to myself, “I don’t want to read this, why am I going there?” I pushed on. I read because I respect you, you have or had a reason to write this.
    Shame is not a word or emotion, I would expect from you, ever. Maybe because It is an experience I don’t think I have ever had, if I did I moved on from it.

    What I read here is what I believe every person who checks in with themselves experiences. Self inventory is a good way to check how we are doing. I we living up to our own ideals and beliefs? Where do I need to improve or change? Etc.

    Yes you are a “bright shining star” ! We have moments when the clouds drift in or by. The star still shines even when we can’t see it ourselves, others do.



    • Oh my goodness, I can see why you may have thought my next blog was addressed partially to you! (Actually I had written most of it before you sent this comment.) How interesting that you wouldn’t have expected shame coming from me. I think almost all emotions come up through me at different times. Some feel personal; others don’t. I am not even sure when it’s personal and when it’s an experience of the larger awareness. (Am pondering writing another blog about this today.) Anger is one that doesn’t come up too frequently and I wonder how much I have repressed it. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Pingback: Walktober (3) | Elisa's Spot

  4. Pingback: More on shame and vulnerability and authenticity | Simply here

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