Unconscious Shame

By

I once attended a workshop
that laid out a model of how shame develops.

The model suggested,
that when children feel overwhelmed with emotion,
—pleasant or unpleasant—
their natural instinct
is often to reach out to others
—like their parents—
to process it.

Yet,
for better or for worse,
parents may unintentionally “reject“ such reaching out.
And with repeated “rejection,”
children may start to subconsciously judge themselves
as unworthy of love and attention,
when overwhelmed with emotion.
Thus planting the seed of shame.

In hindsight,
I spent much of my life coping with shame.
I did it by pursuing a self-image
of someone who never felt overwhelmed.
A stoic who could always “figure it out,”
through sheer intellect and will power.

It wasn’t until I began my work on empathy,
that I learned the choice
to empathize with that part of me,
instead of hyper-empathizing with it.

It was perhaps as Carl Jung once said,
“Until you make the unconscious conscious,
it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”