What Shame is Behind the Mask You Wear?

Welcome to our weekly explainer series inspired by the indigenous wisdom of the Dagara Medicine Wheel. Each week we show you how one of its five distinct energies, called Elements, can transform, clear, amp up, or balance the energies in your own life.

This week This week’s #Nature Medicine brings in: Magic, Transformation, Creativity, Play, and can help you remove your masks.

One of the images associated with Nature, is the mask. When we call in Nature energy, we are calling in the ability to remove a mask that is covering but not curing a hurt or state of being.

If we go on covered, but not cured; the damaging effects continue unchecked.

Shame is one of the most pernicious states-of being- that we attempt to cover, or mask, believing we are hiding it from the world.

Shame is often confused with guilt--an emotion you might experience as a result of a wrongdoing…it is much less likely that you will broadcast your shame. In fact, you'll most likely conceal what you feel because shame does not make a distinction between an action and the self. Therefore, with shame, "bad" behavior is not separate from a "bad" self.

Shame informs you of an internal state of inadequacy. Robert D. Caldwell says guilt is believing one has done something bad; shame is believing that one is bad.

Shame is believing that one is not loved because one is not lovable. And shame always carries with it the sense that there is nothing one can do to purge its burdensome and toxic presence. Robert D. Caldwell

The unchecked effects of shame:

  •  makes you want to withdraw or hide yourself
  •  can deteriorate into addiction
  • to escape shame's self-diminishing effects, a person might instead denigrate others or express contempt toward them
  • can trigger anger, rage, incite envy, stir up comparisons, evoke fear 
The anger experienced by a person who is shamed is like an all-consuming poison and it occupies a great deal of conscious thought.

Shame then, can often require us to doff larger, or more complicated masks when we try to hide it from ourselves, blaming others, or transferring our shame onto partners, colleagues, even our children.

What shame is behind the mask you are wearing? Think of a circumstance you are dealing with that makes you want the world to believe you have it all together. 

Here’s Your Medicine

Find a friend you trust and talk to them about that mask you put on.

Be present

The shame is likely triggered from something that happened in your past.  You need to be present, and acting consciously, not from your unconscious, in order to remove the mask.

Rip off the Band-Aid

Talking about what is making you feel shameful, requires honesty with yourself. If you are honest, you put that shame right into the sunlight, and there’s no better disinfectant for your wound, than sunshine.

Find the Silver Lining

That experience, however shameful brought you to this moment. What possibility lies within it? Nature is also about transformation. Where is the magic in this moment? What can you create out of it?

Is your shame from a failed relationship? Or a ‘screw-up’ at work? Make sure you are judging the situation clearly in stead of through your mask. Have your friend help you discover this.

Maybe you didn’t get enough support for that project, and it was never going to get done right in the first place, and it didn’t even have to do that much with you.

Create a New Way of Being

Next time, speak up. Say, ‘If you want me to complete that, I’m going to need more time, or resources from another department.’ This can also help you separate the act from the player. Meaning, like we said before, where Guilt is believing that one has done something bad and  shame is believing that one is bad. You can reframe what happened, because of what actually happened. And you can begin to trust and learn from your experiences, not your shame.

There’s no shame in that!


Keep getting inspired and energized by the #Elements. Learn more here, join us on Facebook, and sign up below (…you get a free GIFT for joining us!) Ashe!

© 2016 Living Your Gifts, LLC | All Rights Reserved