Cringing with Shame

Sometimes I find myself falling back into really old patterns. Patterns that I thought I had let go and that I wasn’t ever going to use again. Sometimes what can happen, when I’ve noticed that I’m operating out of an old pattern, is I can just beat myself up with anger.  

It sounds something like, “Oh, you are so stupid! I can’t believe you are doing that again!” 

Then, inside I have this cringing with shame experience, “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe that! I’m so horrible.” 

And the, I can fall even lower in the spectrum of energies. Into self-loathing, “Eeew, yuck.” Some disgust can come up. 

Well, I’m really grateful that on my journey in this life, I’ve discovered that it’s possible to recognize these aspects of myself with compassion. In those moments I can acknowledge how it feels to be me. I can speak to myself, “Gloria, are you just feeling such frustration because you really like it when you make strides in the direction that’s in alignment with your passion?” 

It’s like, “Yeah.” 

Then, for the other part that cringes in shame, just gently sitting beside her with an open heart and warmth and say, “Gloria, does it feel like you are just crumpled in a ball and there is a pit in your stomach that will never go away? It feels empty?” 

I can notice a difference in my stomach as I ask that.  

With the self-loathing piece I want to be really gentle. I want to welcome this part of myself with warmth and resonance. I ask, “Gloria, are you so afraid that no one will like you? Do you need acknowledgement that has been your lived experience a lot when you were little?” 

Oh, there’s a deeper breath and an easing up. 

So, a skillset that I’ve developed in my life, which really saves my life repeatedly because these patterns they can loop back around, yet it doesn’t mean that I’m now going to go back and relive my past. No. What it does mean is that my current version of me is able to step through time to be with that original contraction. A felt sense in my body. 

So, I can practice noticing my body sensations, noticing how that feels and where that is in my body. I can shine the warmth, a kind, gentle eye-gaze on a younger version of me. With no pressure for that part to be different but to actually catch right there where it’s at, and to sit with it. As I sit with it, I notice what happens.  

That accompaniment. Developing the capacity to accompany one’s self, requires being accompanied by others, to begin to trust that it’s possible for others to hold that space for us. It does require a little trust, and that trust can grow. 


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