• Denny Balish

Kicking Shame to the Curb

If I had the power of a superhero, I would erase all evidence of shame from my life. I would obliterate it with a sweep of my hand. Swoosh! Dust! History! I would be free.

But that kind of power is fallacy. As a mere mortal, I can do many things but obliterating shame with the sweep of a hand is not one of them.

Shame lives in the murky darkness of my soul, like a ghastly phantom dwelling within the sinuous folds of my psyche. Evasive, nimble, deadly. It lays in wait for just the right moment to attack. Without warning, it thrusts its ghostly hand into my tender being, and yanks me into its hellhole existence, incapacitating me of all normal senses.

Shame loves the dark. In the shadows where no one can see it, Shame looms large. The more it is ignored, the more cunning it becomes. The more it is kept buried, the bolder it gets.

I’d like to say that letting go of shame is easy but I’d be lying. Somedays, it’s really tough. Like days when my failings or inadequacies smack me in the face; the sting causing tears to fall. When this happens, I feel flooded and paralyzed, unable to speak. I shrink into a small black hole where no one can find me.

On better days, I gain the upper hand, pinning Shame against its wall of deceit, staring it down, calling out its lies. “I am not a looser, I am not unworthy, I am not who you think I am.”

To heal Shame, I must let go of my complicity with it. I must resist the need to keep it in the shadows; to pretend like it doesn’t exist; to quash all ill-fated attempts to banish it from my life.

To let go of Shame, I must hold onto my ability speak truth no matter how hard or scary or unpleasant it may be, and through the telling, find redemption among those daring to do the same thing.

So, here’s to sharing our stories and celebrating our hard-earned victories. Let’s continue to hold space for one another, encouraging each other to speak our truth, no matter how messy or complicated or daunting it may feel. Let’s kick shame to the curb and get on with our amazing, beautiful lives.

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© 2020 by Denny Balish