The Death of Shame

“Shame dies when stories are told in safe places.” – Ann Voskamp

We all know what it feels like to struggle with shame. Just hearing the word “shame”, can start to conjure up the feelings.

But how to free ourselves from this burden that we bear?

What often helps the most is to share with someone safe, with someone understanding, who truly cares for you.

But how do we decipher who a safe person is? He or she should possess the following attributes:     

1. They listen. Really listen. Carefully, and with compassion. They are also non-judgmental in the way they listen to you. You can sense that they are trying to get behind your eyes, and understand the feelings and events from your standpoint. 

2. They validate your feelings. They ‘get’ the way you feel, and why you feel the way you do. Also, they tell you that your feelings and reactions are all normal.

Thus, they don’t correct your feelings, tell you how you ought to feel, or communicate your feelings are dysfunctional or wrong.

4. They communicate understanding. They don’t utter platitudes, resort to giving you advice, or suggest trite, easy answers to a complex situation.   

5. They are patient and accepting. They allow you to take things at a pace that works for you. Thus, you don’t feel under pressure to make some kind of progress. They let you change you mind, be inconsistent, or stand still.

For their goal is not to fix you; it’s to go through this with you.

6. They are comfortable with silence.  Sometimes, we want to sit silence – for there’s nothing to be said. No words can ease the heartache, and the facts cannot be changed.

 A safe person knows this. They are simply there with you. They offer you their presence so you don’t feel so alone.

7. They are completely trustworthy. You know this person talks to no-one. What you share will stay with them. You know they’ll never gossip. They will take this to the grave.  

For them … a confidence … is a confidence … is a confidence. Period.

22 thoughts on “The Death of Shame

  1. Your suggestions are needed all the more these days. This pandemic has brought trauma to so many. Much of it isn’t high grade—but it’s still trauma.
    People who feel isolated, exhausted or afraid don’t need advice or admonishment, they need to be heard, understood and encouraged.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Having safe people to confide in was so critical to helping me through my trauma. Too many people in my church judged and gossiped instead of validating and listening. Sadly, my church proved not to be a safe place to seek help. Fortunately, God placed a couple people in my life who I could confide in with strong prayer support. Your post provides good advice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m really sorry this was your experience. When our world has fallen apart, we really people who will be safe burden bearers. It’s tragic that so often the last place we can turn is the church – because people judge and gossip. I have experienced something similar. It’s truly heartbreaking as your need is so raw and desperate at the time. The one person who was really there for me was my pastor. However most of the support came from those outside the church. I’m so glad you were able to share with the couple you mentioned. I imagine they made a tremendous difference in your life. Thanks for your honest sharing. Blessings 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Being able to sit in my deepest shame gave me complete freedom from it. I was lucky enough to have an open and caring witness help me fully delve into all aspects of it. Peace to you. Thank you for your article.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Yes! Great post. Having someone who can sit with you and just be with you in the midst of shame can create a moment more powerful than any words expressed.

    Liked by 1 person

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