Recently I've been thinking about the paradox of shame as its come up in things I've been reading and conversations with friends. Somehow, this made me think of it as it can be brutally dark/harsh/violent, start of healing/peace/good, and somehow loaded with mystery and movement that we cant fully explain or categorize. It seems to be more like a neutral tool with incomprehensible power to create or destroy depending how it's used much like a knife.
We can see the devastation of shame when it destroys as it can fester in ourselves or others as unforgivable accusations that deeply injure/isolate. "I sometimes think that shame, mere awkward, senseless shame, does as much towards preventing good acts and straightforward happiness as any of our vices can do." (C.S. Lewis- A Grief Observed)
Yet it's necessary and even good at times. Brene Brown (Ted Talk/psychologist) says how there can be no human connections without shame. "The only people who dont experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or connection"
"You cant numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness..." It can be a wonderful tool to cause us to grow tremendously in love, courage, and hope. "The willingness to do something where there are no guarantees"-B Brown whole-heartedness, risk of self, risk of kindness. "If you want love, you got to go through the pain"-NF
You must hope in something greater than the shame or pain to receive good.
Shame has the power to most intimately separate or connect, stirring us to be courageous to be seen and loved even when we are undeserving of it. Only one can truly heal shame and turn it into something good. Agape. "Illegitimate shame comes when we have failed to achieve what our heart craves (the longings that reflect our dignity) and we feel we are at fault because if we had not done..., or if we had done..., then we would not be empty, alone, and exposed...Legitimate shame, in other words, always leads to a sense of being lifted up by God to possess what is surprising, unnerving, and undeserved." (Dan Allender-Wounded Heart)