By Eileen Martin, See the Triumph Contributor
“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
~ Hans Christian Andersen
“You are crazy;” “You cannot make it on your own;” “You are not smart enough.” I could add endlessly to this list of my inner voice haunting me. Shame held power and control over me and followed me like a dark shadow. Add my abuser’s demeaning words and society’s very own victim shaming, and I languished in a deep sea of self-hate and doubt. I was a prisoner of my shame. This was definitely not living a life in bloom, but merely existing.
Unfortunately, shame does not automatically disappear when we finally escape our abusive relationships. Well after we have found our physical freedom, a sense of unworthiness can linger and can hold power over our emotions and ultimately our behaviors and decisions. Shame gaslights our perception of who we are and blinds us to our innate goodness. Shame keeps us hiding in the shadows.
Learning to bloom begins by first recognizing our harsh inner voice and challenging it with truth and a little sunshine. Write down what you say to yourself and then question if the statement is true. Look for contradictory examples in your every day living. A good counselor can help you with this task. Ask yourself if you would ever speak to anyone else like you speak to yourself? You deserve the same love, forgiveness, and kindness you afford to others.
Real freedom comes from within. We have the ability to choose sunshine over shadow, and we have the power to overcome shame in all its darkness. Be patient as you move through the process toward self-love and acceptance. The reward is well worth the effort.