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  • Writer's pictureDeirdre Maloney


Shame and secrecy go hand in hand. The things we are most ashamed of lie deep in our minds, hidden away from the world and our relationships. Most people believe that if we can keep our shameful experiences locked away, then it’s almost as though they don’t exist. I know I did. Sharing my shame was a no-fly zone. There was no way in hell I was going to open myself up like that and risk rejection. I spent decades hiding parts of my past self, and it weighed me down. It became so heavy that I started disconnecting from my friends because the shame and fear were becoming paralyzing. If I couldn’t accept and forgive myself for my past, how could anyone else?

Shame and secrecy co-exist together. Shame cannot survive without secrecy. Sharing my personal life story in a private, supportive environment really helped me start to unlock the way fear and shame work and thrive. As soon as I began to open up about my poor life choices as a teenager, my shame started to decrease. The more I began to accept and forgive myself for an unsavoury past, the lighter I felt and, more importantly, I felt so much more connected. My friendships strengthened, and I could see how my vulnerability was contagious and gave others the courage to share their shameful experiences too.

No matter how much I share and reap the benefits, there is always a small part of me that wonders if it was a bad idea or if it’s going to backfire. That is the ego trying to drag me down. Our thinking minds are always trying to disconnect us from our spirit. Living with fear and shame for my entire life has given me strong feelings of not belonging and low self-worth. I have gotten a good handle on this during the past two years and can generally catch it quickly and turn it around. I do still get triggered on occasion, though, and it happened a few weeks ago.

Here’s what went down. I belong to a parenting group on Facebook that is for families who live in my area. I made a post about an upcoming event that I had attended in the past and absolutely loved. I couldn’t make it to this event as I already had plans but decided to share it in this group, knowing that this was a like-minded community, and someone would surely want to attend.

A few days later, someone commented on my post. They asked if this type of post was allowed, and the group needed to be careful about it becoming a place where people would start promoting their business, and that many people in the group sold similar products. She tagged the facilitator of the group. I was furious. I had genuinely posted this event because I had a great time at one and wanted others to have the same opportunity. I realized that she thought I must have been a rep of the company or that it was my workshop. I couldn’t believe that she was calling me out publicly and telling on me by involving the facilitator.

I knew that this was a time for self-reflection. She was triggering my fears of not belonging to a group, which my shame and secrecy had created. I wanted to private message her to tell her to go F herself and used all of my restraint not to, knowing that I only wanted to make her feel as small as I had felt. No one deserves that, including me. So why was I giving her words that kind of power over me? I decided to sit in meditation and ask the Universe for guidance on moving through this anger and shame trigger. Sharing my pain was the answer. Secrecy is where a lot of our negative emotions hide, and I knew I had to get honest to move through this issue.

I contacted the facilitator who, coincidently, is a good friend and told her how I wasn’t selling anything and had no connection to the event. I checked out the person’s profile that had commented on my post and saw that she was a rep of the same brand that was being offered at the workshop. I then understood that her fear of not selling or doing well made her react in this way. She was projecting her own feelings of fear onto me. I told my friend I had wanted to message the woman and tell her what a nasty person she was, but that I was choosing instead to share with my friend my own insecurities of not belonging and of people not liking me.

Being vulnerable is scary, and it sucks to tell people that you sometimes don’t feel like you are good enough. What it does do though, is help you grow. I’m telling you that I felt like a new person afterwards, and my energy became realigned with how I want to feel when I chose to own my feelings of inadequacy instead of trying to make someone else feel the same way.

Being vulnerable is scary, and it sucks to tell people that you sometimes don’t feel like you are good enough.

What do you think, do you believe that secrets can make you sick?

Be Well.

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