Breaking the Shame Barrier

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The Antidote to Shame is Empathy

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

Inside of each of us is a Light so bright it has the power to create a new world.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson (bold and italics mine)

From Ephesians, in The Message: "Long before he laid down earthly' foundations, he had us in mind… Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we're a free people… And not just barely free either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making."

From 1 Peter, in The Message: "Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner."

It's time to become childlike again. To dare, to risk, to take in huge gulps of the wild, free life! 

Here's how it began, for me: Life in those days was pitch dark and I felt lost in a raging sea of stormy nightmares. A series of traumatic events rolled in like a tsunami, crashing in one wave after another. Each trauma was worse than the last. With almost no time in between crises, the waves were winning and I was going under. All around me other lives were likewise in distress and deep suffering. All systems had failed and there was no refuge in sight.

Church, government, the legal system, and the medical field – all the places survivors typically seek rescue and restoration – all of these systems aided the abusers, even if only by silencing and blaming the victims. Some of us were murdered, some committed suicide, and others lived quiet lives of desperation.

There is no darkness on earth as horror-filled as living with a sociopath. It's a black void, but into that void are people who are daring to tell their stories. They SHINE as they tell their Truth, piercing the darkness and like lighthouses, guiding us into safe harbor.

Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. – Philippians 2:16

I have listened to stories of people from all the nooks and crannies of society. From people living in the "golden" places of America… from seaside resort villages to busy boulevards in Los Angeles and New York City. They are principals of private schools, doctors, single mothers, artists, and opera singers.

Pain does not distinguish between rich and poor, between religious and non-religious.

In one way or another, we are all living the same story on planet earth, just different versions and degrees of desperation.

It's become normal to be nearly broke, to file bankruptcy, to divorce, to be foreclosed, to have more month at the end of your money. It's become normal to be sick in our bodies. We put our names on as many prayer lists as we can, and we wait.

We are to wait on God, very true. We are to give all our needs to God and ask Him for help, true. And patience is a virtue, agreed.

But in the waiting we must be active. We must be about our Father's business of impacting the world; not by letting the world and its failing systems traumatize us!

Our passivity empowers the darkness in our own lives and it curses the next generation.

HOW YOU TELL YOUR STORY WILL SHAPE YOUR FUTURE!

We each have a blueprint imprinted in the DNA of every cell of our being. This genetic code operating in us contains our past, present, and future. In it is written our destiny, our dreams, our hopes, and the reason we are here on earth. This is our inheritance as children of God. Inside this genetic foundation everything we need is located to create income, to build inventions, to live heaven on earth.

Never be afraid to tell your story. It may save a life! The right story at the right time can change a person' destiny.

Christiana Rasmussen, of Second Firsts, asked 30 of us to video record our stories, in a series called "30 Days of Hope" and it really is amazing to hear stories of God shining even in the deepest darkness. The video above was a story I shared in October 2013. 

What if each one of us showed up, unarmed, in the arena? What if we were honest about our fears, our failures, and our mistakes? What if we let the world see us as we really are–broken, imperfect, human. Beautiful.

I see chains falling off, armor laid down, hands held palms up. I feel the wind on my face. Freedom. Hope. Love.

You are not the only one. Show up. Be vulnerable. Be you.

The antidote to shame is empathy. So step out of the dark and into the light. Let it expose and disarm you. — Katie Rutledge

Writing prompt: TELL YOUR STORY TO SOMEONE! It doesn't have to be the whole story. But try to make it your "hardest" story. You may want to share it anonymously. You may want to share it with a good friend or therapist. It doesn't have to be "picture perfect" or edited.

"Raw" and "real" are the new beautiful!

If you are ready, write it down. Video record it. Turn it into an MP3. Whatever works for you. Email it to me, if you want me to be your witness. I won't share it unless you give permission, but share one of your stories with at least one person today!

My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

With all my love,

Sue

Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  

Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.
 

Copyright © 2010 to 2015 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela May 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Yes, Yes, YES to these words of LIFE and hope!!
You are story teller down to your bones, Susan. What a gift that you are championing others to tell their stories too. We've all become too accustomed to living in crisis and accepted it as "just the way things are."  It takes people like who are willing to shake off the blankets and rise out of slumber to point to a better way. Thank you, friend.

Reply

Susan McKenzie May 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Angela, now I know why you have been so encouraging and empowering to me… I discovered your blog at http://imagineangie.blogspot.com and what a gifted writer you are! You are what I call a “heart scribe” for you speak from your heart, and you touch our hearts with every word! It’s all about relationships, and in the sharing of our stories, especially the tough ones, we meet in a place called ‘now’ through a force called ‘love’ and we are forever changed! I love how you love words, for words can indeed change our world! Thanks so much for sharing, Angela… and for being such a source of encouragement!

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