“Not surprisingly, therefore, our patterns of attachment deeply influence the way we experience our relationship with God. For he has to deal with the same brain that we do; he engages the same proclivities we have for avoiding or being anxious about the intimacy of relationships. It is not as if we get to put our brains, which are wired in a particular way through our attachment patterns, on the shelf and somehow draw on a separate one when it comes to dealing with God. He comes to the same set of neural networks that our friends, parents, spouse, children or enemies do.”
― Curt Thompson, The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves
No Hint of Shame: A Conversation with Dr. Curt Thompson
When I first started my podcast, I dreamed of guests I’d like to have on the show.
Dr. Curt Thompson was at the top of the list. About a month before my new book came out, I took a leap of faith and sent an email inviting him to be a guest.
When his assistant replied with a “YES,” I was shocked, actually. But, it spoke highly of his humility and desire to teach and lead others. I was over the moon and scared all at the same time.
It is Time to Shift from Shaming to Gracing
Shame is not just a consequence of something our parents first did in the Garden of Eden. It is the emotional weapon that evil uses to (1) corrupt our relationships with God and each other, and (2) disintegrate any and all gifts of vocational vision and creativity. These gifts include any area of endeavor that promotes goodness, beauty, and joy in and for the lives of others, whether that be teaching our first graders, loving our spouse well, managing forests, conducting healing prayer services, creating new medical technology, offering psychotherapy or composing symphonies. Shame is a primary means to prevent us from using the gifts we have been given.Dr. Curt Thompson, The Soul of Shame
I need you to hear me today as I stand on the shoulders of Dr. Curt Thompson:
Shame is a primary means to prevent us from using the gifts we have been given.
When I was writing my new book, Stronger Every Day: 9 Tools for an Emotionally Healthy You, I did not plan or expect to open the closet door of my past. I did not expect to let shame skeletons I had kept locked away for decades walk out into the light of day.
Yet, that is what happened. As I developed Tool 4: Shift from Shaming to Gracing, I couldn’t bypass the real truth of my own emotional health journey. I knew I had to share the part of my story that felt most shaming. There were many “shame skeletons” hiding, but the one that impacted me most, I felt led to share.
In his classic book, Toward a Psychology of Awakening, which was one of my textbooks during my doctoral program, he defined spiritual bypassing as using “spiritual ideas and practices to sidestep personal, emotional ‘unfinished business,’ to shore up a shaky sense of self, or to belittle basic needs, feelings, and developmental tasks.”Diana Raab, Ph.D., https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201901/what-is-spiritual-bypassing
We’ll talk way more about this in our upcoming deep dive into Stronger Every Day, but for today, I primarily want you to take this one, highly valuable, truth to heart: It is time to wholeheartedly embrace grace and self-compassion.
We must shake off shame (scroll to the bottom of the page to listen to the audio meditation, The Shame Shake Off Prayer.)
We must recognize and realize that we all make mistakes. Yes, some are really bad mistakes, yet God’s grace and love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8).
We must take a really big breath of bravery and open the closet door of our pasts.
Shame thrives in secrecy and isolation and as long as it is hidden away in the recesses of our neural pathways, it keeps us from using the gifts we’ve been given.
It keeps us from our God-breathed capacity and purpose.
It keeps us from bringing our beautiful stories to those who need to hear them.
It keeps us feeling small and insignificant and always, insecure.
It is Time to Teach Our Shame Skeletons to Dance
If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”George Bernard Shaw
I know what I am asking is not easy.
I really didn’t want to share this part of my story. To some, it might not seem like a big deal. Plenty of people have far worse stories, right? But, to me, the shame it caused in my psyche was highly damaging. It was a period of time in my life when I was really, really lost. I looked like I had it all together on the outside, but I was completely lost and broken on the inside. I did many, many things I am not proud of. Some things were done to me, which deepened the shame even more.
Today, I ask you to join me on the first step on the journey of shifting from shaming to gracing.
Begin by listening to my conversation with Dr. Curt Thompson:
Listen, take notes, write down any and all questions you might have for me. You can leave a comment/question right here on the blog or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.