Shame is a powerful tool and millions of people use it to control others. It’s oppressive, and it exploits our desperate need to avoid embarrassment or social retaliation. It can hold us captive in a state of fear of humiliation and distress with no hope or belief in our ability to recover.
I’ve been on the receiving end of shame used to control and manipulate me to do what they wanted me to do. If you’ve been caught in the vice grips of applied pressure and manipulation by someone, needless to say, it’s paralyzing.
Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedomMarilyn Ferguson
I used to feel helpless in setting healthy boundaries, like who was I to flex my freedom of choice? I’d think, “If I do what they “ask”, which, in truth was a thinly disguised demand or command, I’ll save myself from criticism or injured reputation, or, I’ll run the risk of being called names with words like selfish, self-absorbed or plain-old mean, and the target of gossip.”
In reality, applying shame is a low blow. It’s an opportunistic ploy of someone else’s agenda to do what makes their life easier, empowers their plan or vision, or feeds a power-hungry appetite. It’s a tactic used by people desperate to control everyone around them because they’re terrified of failure and disappointment, and they lack the coping skills to access, adjust and move on. They control others to avoid self-growth.
My Achilles heel? I love people. I want to help people. I am a genuine team player and as such, I seek peace and progress for everyone around me. I value cooperation and participation from able-bodied individuals and come from a place of hope that the others I’m involved with value this team mentality, too.
Let me tell you, I’ve bent to the will of others, trying to do the “right thing” but ultimately paying the price. Being unable to maintain my boundaries and say “no” to things that I’m unable, unwilling or uninterested to do, took a tool on my mental, physical and emotional well-being. I was exhausted by all the “extras” put on my plate handling the chaos and disruption it created in my personal life to satisfy the priorities of others.
I finally realized I had to let go of blaming others and casting shame on them for their intentional, or unintentional, pressure, and ultimately stop shaming myself when saying “no”. I took time to look inward and upward to understand and address my inability to say “no” and learned to protect my time and energy. What was so delicate that caused me fear in saying “no”? My reputation? My self-image? My guilt? My fear of unworthiness? I realized I was putting value on everything that was dependent on the opinions of others, over what nourished my spirit. So, I put all my energy and focus on choosing what nourished my well-being and growth. The relief is priceless.
The truth is, either we intimately know our life values so we can prioritize our goals and dreams, and make plans and take action that guides our “yes” or “no”, or we fall dependent to the values and perception of people who simply don’t matter to the genuine satisfaction for our life. We create our reality by the choices we make. Take time to find your compass and follow it with unyielding faith. It’s a commitment and takes effort, and guess what? You’re worth it ❤
Keep it Simple,