The Many Faces of Grief: S - U
Shame, Suicide, Shattered, Substance abuse, Stuck, Separate, Shock, Sexual abuse, Self-loathing, Secrets
Based on my research, I believe that there is a profound difference between shame and guilt. I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful—it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort.
I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging—something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.
I don’t believe shame is helpful or productive. In fact, I think shame is much more likely to be the source of destructive, hurtful behavior than the solution or cure. I think the fear of disconnection can make us dangerous.
~ Brene Brown
On being stuck:
She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear.
She let go of the judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go.
She let go of all of the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…
On being shattered:
I’d always considered the word surrender to be blasphemous. Surrender was never a possibility to consider; it wasn’t something self-respecting, self-reliant folk like me do—we scheme around and bulldoze through whatever stands in our way. That all changed, abruptly, on that day in 2012 when I finally ran out of options and did the thing I thought I could never do—concede.
In A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson says,
“Until your knees finally hit the floor, you’re just playing at life, and on some level, you’re scared because you know you’re just playing. The moment of surrender is not when life is over. It’s when it begins.”
It is entirely cliché, but this was exactly my experience. The moment I finally let my knees hit the floor was when I finally stopped playing at life, and every bit of good that’s come to me since then stems from this reversal of opinion on surrender.
Surrender is the strongest, most subversive thing you can do in this world. It takes strength to admit you are weak, bravery to show you are vulnerable, courage to ask for help. It’s also not a one-time gig; you don’t just do it once and move on. It’s a way of existing, a balancing act. For me, it looks like this: I pick up the baton and I run as far as I can, and I hand it over when I’m out of breath. Or actually maybe it’s like: I’m running with the baton, but the Universe is holding on to the other half of it, and we have an agreement that I’ll figure out the parts I can and hand over the parts I can’t.
Until you move to the sense of being able to trust there is a Higher Power who is guiding you, who loves you more than you love yourself—that's when you've made the transfer. That's when you know you're a part of a bigger flow, a bigger system—if you want to use that word—and you are not doing it, it is being done unto you.
Life no longer feels precarious, or about to crumble—even when it is, in fact, crumbling. By surrendering to whatever is unfolding and by accepting what is, by giving up on the outcome and allowing life to flow the way it’s meant to, by stepping out of your own way and letting the natural order take the lead, you not only get a break from the exhaustion of having to control everything, but you also get to experience life, instead of what you think life owes you. (Hint: What life wants to give us is infinitely better than what we think it owes us.)
~ Holly Whitaker
Trauma, Transition, Terrorism, Trafficking
“Trauma is the most avoided, ignored, denied, misunderstood, and untreated cause of human suffering.”
~ Peter Levin
“Trauma can become a kind of alchemical vessel through which the next stage of life is born. Where fate is concerned, there is no rejecting it, no getting rid of it. You have to go through it and find what is hidden in it.”
~ Michael Meade
On human trafficking:
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is a global problem and one of the world's most shameful crimes, affecting the lives of millions of people around the world and robbing them of their dignity.
According to the United Nations, human trafficking is defined as "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at the minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of other or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs".
Why a Blue Heart?
The Blue Heart represents the sadness of those who are trafficked while reminding us of the cold-heartedness of those who buy and sell fellow human beings. The use of the blue UN color also demonstrates the commitment of the United Nations to combating this crime against human dignity.
In the same way that the red ribbon has become the international symbol of HIV/AIDS awareness, this campaign aims to make the Blue Heart into an international symbol against human trafficking. By "wearing" the Blue Heart, you will raise awareness of human trafficking, increase the visibility of victims and join the campaign to fight this crime.
Unmet expectations, Unworthiness, Useless, Unloved, Unfinished business
On feeling unworthy:
If you’re sitting around feeling like you really don’t measure up, know that it’s not all that uncommon to experience a feeling of unworthiness on occasion.
For some, this occurs when trying to measure up to the unrealistic expectations others have for us. For many of us, however, we most feel unworthy when we are overwhelmed by an intense emotional feeling for one person and, due to a variety of reasons, feel that we just aren’t worthy of that person’s love and affection, if not respect or admiration.
The truth is that holding onto such negative emotion is completely counter-productive. Not only does it do nothing in the moment to change anything, it also has a cumulative negative effect on the body and the mind. The more you believe you are unworthy, the less you think of yourself. Consequently, you fail to take actions you might otherwise engage in, neglect relationships because of fear, shame or guilt, and internalize all this negativity to the point where your body suffers real medical as well as psychological consequences.
Consider the fact that everyone experiences unworthiness at one point or another. So, it isn’t the feeling of being unworthy that should cause concern but the inability to deal with such feelings when they do occur.
No one is perfect. No matter who you are or what you’ve achieved in life in terms of financial gain, prestige, fame, celebrity, number of friends, or material possessions, sometime you’re going to feel inadequate. What can you do to get past this decidedly uncomfortable and potentially debilitating feeling?
Acknowledge the emotion you feel
Before you can attack the problem of unworthiness, you need to give it a name. Acknowledge that what you feel, this sometimes-crippling emotion, is unworthiness. Remember, though, that acknowledging an emotion isn’t giving in to it. On the contrary, once you identify and acknowledge the emotion, you can then take steps to move beyond it. Furthermore, when you acknowledge unworthiness or feeling unworthy, it no longer has any power over you.
Have a plan
Give yourself a leg up by doing a little preparation. Figure out ahead of time what steps you can take to move past the fear and the negative emotion and onto doing something constructive and proactive. This may feel awkward at first. You might be tempted to forget your resolve or distract yourself with other activities. Don’t. To be successful in any endeavor takes planning — and a workable plan.
Get help from your friends
Another proactive approach is to enlist the help of your friends, loved ones and allies. Listen to the suggestions of others and mull them over with what you know you’re capable of. Construct a plan of action, along with contingency approaches, identify your resources, lay out a timetable, and get to work. Be sure to circle back to your network of friends, loved ones and allies from time to time to check in with your progress, receive additional emotional support and encouragement, and share any success stories resulting from your efforts.
Vow to do your best at everything you do
Instead of wallowing in the feeling of being unworthy, show yourself your worth by working to the best of your ability at something, anything. Put all you have into the effort and you will be surprised and pleased by the results. Gradually working to chip away at the negativity caused by feeling unworthy, you’ll find that you no longer feel this way after all.
Be justifiably proud of your talents and strengths
Everyone has things they’re good at and confident doing. When thoughts of unworthiness creep into the mix, however, all that competence and proficiency tend to disappear. It’s important to remind yourself, and take justifiable pride in, your talents and strengths. These will go a long way toward helping you restore and rebuild your self-worth.
Let go of feeling unworthy to feel worthy again — first and foremost to yourself and then to others.