The Truth About Your Greatest Shame

Do you know what it is in your life that brings you the greatest shame?

  • Is it over sharing?

  • Is it the fear of rejection or abandonment?

  • Is it fear of insecurity?

  • Is it outshining others?

  • Is it your intuition?

  • Is it fear of being foolish?

  • Is it fear of looking stupid?

My greatest shame in my life was over sharing. I would leave every conversation questioning myself: what I said, what I shouldn’t have said, and why, oh why did I say THAT?? I was convinced that the other person thought, “Wow, she is a WEIRDO,” and never want to talk to me again.

Time and again I beat myself up for saying something too personal, for making the other person uncomfortable, for revealing something about myself too early or too much or too deeply.

I worked on this problem for quite some time. I wrote about it in my journal. I told myself, before each encounter began, “Now don’t say anything too emotional!” I combed the Internet for, “How to Make Friends,” and “What to Reveal and When.”

Nothing worked.

After the ten billionth time of coming home and feeling like a complete loser for having over shared yet again, I begged God for help in my journal. I asked him to please, please help me to stop this behavior? I knew that it was bad, that it was wrong, that it was not serving me well. But I felt powerless to stop it from continually happening.

God answered my prayer.

He gave me an insight and it was this: My over sharing was my attempt to connect to the other person. Connection is one of the three facets of love. There is actually nothing wrong with wanting to connect. When a person is vulnerable to me, sharing a negative emotion, say, I have the gift of being able to sit with them in that emotion, for feeling it with them, for not judging them and for not feeling uncomfortable.

I have a gift for responding to that vulnerability with compassion.

I thought that everybody had this gift. I thought that if I was vulnerable to others, this would stir their compassion for me and we would connect.

But this was not true. Not everybody has this gift. In fact, most people do not have it yet.

Once I realized this, the reason that my over sharing (being vulnerable) wasn’t working became obvious. Of course I was making others uncomfortable! Of course I was feeling shame afterward. The other person was causing me shame so that I would not do that again!

The answer was not to stop being vulnerable to others. The answer was to be vulnerable only to those people who were capable of showing me compassion in return. The answer was also that I have a spiritual gift that most people do not share.

This is true of all of us. All of us have spiritual gifts (more than one)! Those gifts are always distorted, misdirected, or hoarded by others. The result is our feeling shame.

Suppose a man has a gift for peace, feeling safe, secure and free. His gift draws another who lives in fear, specifically insecurity. She sees in him a person who makes her feel safe, secure and free. But there is a price to pay. In return for making her feel peace, the gifted man must take on her fears. He must do everything he can to make her feel safe, secure and free. He must have a steady job and forgo his curiosity. He must live in one place and give up his need to explore. He must be responsible with money and forgo his dreams. Now he feels afraid - afraid to do anything that is outside of the “acceptable” - and she feels secure.

Suppose a woman has a gift for seeing patterns and using them to detect Truth. She has the diagnosis of Asperger’s. She does not fit in. She does not socialize well. She is even made fun of. Her “lack of social skills,” or incapability of perceiving illusion, makes her feel like she does not belong. It makes her feel ashamed. But her connection to Truth is actually her greatest spiritual gift. She knows what every person is really up to. She has x-ray vision that can see through their social games, through their false selves. She is capable of showing them mercy because she can see who they really are.

What is it that gives you the greatest shame? What is it that makes you different from others? Is it possible that your greatest spiritual gift has been distorted? Redirected? Hoarded by another? Is it possible that your greatest shame is actually your greatest gift?

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It took me three years to realize that I am a fallen creature. I have been struggling and groping my way back to the Light. Here are a few things that I have learned along the way....

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