The Silent Punisher
This is the third in a series of newsletters looking at how our feelings affect our lives and bodies. It is powerful knowledge that can help eliminate pain in all areas of your life. If you are struggling with something, send me an email or call.
The Silent Punisher
We’ve been talking about the effects of feelings and emotions on our health. An emotion is a message from your brain, sent to your body as a sensation. It starts as a thought. Whenever emotions are denied, belittled or dismissed, they end up running the show. We’ve been focusing on how they affect our bodies.
Guilt and shame are natural, healthy emotions. Imagine, if we didn’t feel guilty over hurtful or destructive things we’ve done. Or if we didn’t feel shame when we are caught sneaking something that isn’t ours. Our lives, our world would be on destructive autopilot.
Shame says: I am bad
Guilt says: I did something bad
Everything has to be in moderation, everything has to have balance. Ideally, we feel the emotion, make amends and move on. However, sometimes the scales tip a little too far on the shame and guilt side and the cells in out bodies take it on. This occurs when we feel guilty over things that happened years ago. When we hold on and let them define us, when we don’t release those punishing feelings.
We all have things that haunt us for years, often a lifetime.
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.” Brene’ Brown PhD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEBjNv5M784
A client of mine recalls how he was caught playing with matches as a young boy. He was maybe 5 or 6, a normal curious little boy. When his mom caught him, she was naturally upset, screamed at him and lectured him. Then, with magic marker she wrote on his t-shirt FIREBUG and had him stand outside in public. To this day, the memory of the shame causes him to shrink, feel guilty and defensive. Over the years this has added to the numerous other things he feels ashamed of and has caused his body to stiffen in defense of possible attacks. When walking around he also balls his hands into fists.
Another married client ended up in the hospital with a severe cut on his hand and near fatal blood-poisoning. He is an excellent carpenter, always cautious and meticulous. However, he had been carrying on an affair over an extended period of time and the guilt was eating him up. When he was repairing a piece of furniture in his home, he nearly cut his thumb off. His subconscious helped him punish himself.
Survivors of childhood abuse often blame themselves for what has happened, many have been feeling guilty and punishing themselves their whole lives for the mistakes of the adults that they trusted.
Shame and guilt cause a constriction in our bodies. Like the ripple a pebble causes when thrown in a lake, so do consistent shameful and guilty thoughts affect our bodies and finally our health.
These habitual thoughts, over time, are emotions. They create a neuro-pathway in our nervous system and affect everything from new thoughts, to self-esteem to physical well-being.
These emotions thrive in silence, secrecy and judgment.
This happens whether you think about it or not.
We reap what we sow. Literally, and in many more ways than we typically think.
It’s the law of cause and effect. It operates in all areas of our lives.
If you’ve been reading the previous articles on how our feelings affect our lives, then you already know what you have to do if you want to heal yourself from excessive guilt and shame.
“Health is inner peace.” Course in Miracles. There can be no peace when we allow shame and guilt to run the show.
“Every thought you have makes up some segment of the world you see. It is with your thoughts then, that we must work, if your perception of the world is to be changed.” Course in Miracles.
Here is what I say: Love yourself enough, pretend if you have to. You are a child of God. In your meditation be willing to let those old self-punishing thoughts go. Lovingly! Always with love. Never in anger or hatred!
Shine a light on it. It cannot continue to thrive when you acknowledge it.
There is nothing you did that cannot be forgiven.
If you can’t sit still long enough, do something that causes some stillness in you. Go for a walk in nature, run, dance….anything that works for you. In that inner space of silence, go to your bags of stored up guilt and shame, open them up, let the light shine in and be willing to accept the love God has for you. Be kind to yourself.
Willingness is powerful! Doors open, miracles happen when you are willing.
If you are struggling with understanding something in your life or need help, send me an email or call. You don’t have to go it alone.