(An excerpt from Cultivating Love: Growing Character by Dr Ken McGill)
I call this handout CHOICES, and in reading it I hope that you are simply reminded that you do have the ability to make healthy choices for yourself regarding the destination, the quality of life and to a large degree, the outcomes that you will create for yourself (which could be better if your Higher Power is invited into your choices/decision making processes – see below). I know that the complexity of your life experience is not to be simplified into a few brief pages, however, I do think the points below reveal that Shame, and how you choose to deal with the Shame in your life, usually determines where you will “find yourself” at the end of your choices.
It has been said that Toxic Shame is the fuel that drives addictive behavior. I agree with this; you will see in the rows below that Shame is a huge factor in most, if not all of our behavior as human beings, especially when it comes to our engagement in maladaptive and destructive behaviors to avoid the Shame experience. Toxic shame is an emotion and a behavior that serves to dehumanize our self and others. However, I also know that the experience of healthy shame reminds me of my limits as a human being and is an ever-present reminder that I need a merciful God to help me integrate and convert the shame experience into what could be a necessary and wonderful learning opportunity. Where do you find yourself? What choices, just for today do you make?
The “SHAME-LESS” Air above Ground (“You will be like God…”) – In this area…
Self-Deception and Entitlement fuel our choice to enter into this “shame-less” and falsely empowered stance to be “A Power Greater than ourselves.” In this area, we…
…Feel entitled to live life as if I’m the only one who matters. …Live like the rules don’t apply to Me, after all I’m God – and God makes the rules. …Feed my flesh to satisfy my desires. …Live with the false belief that we have “successfully” conquered our shame-filled experiences. …Act Angrily, Live Resentfully, Shame Willingly, Think Insensitively, Practice Hypocrisy and Traumatize others Thoughtlessly. …Wound others, Blame others, Prey upon others, Demean others, Lie to others, Screw others and remember, since I’m above all, I SHAME others! …Character assassinate. …Revel in Victimhood. …Live Self-Centeredly, Live Self-Righteously, Live Self-Indulgently and Live Self-Destructively. …Dismiss the Reality of others as unimportant. …Listen Defensively. …Deceive, because this is what the Father of Lies taught us. …Create Chaos, Conflict and Confusion to fuel Sarcasm, Schisms and Calamity. …Harbor Grudges, Reek Impatience, Breed Resentments and Justify Condescension. …Escape Pain and Enhance Pleasure. …Never think there is an end to “This is MY Life.” Don’t want to get it (The Truth), Don’t want to hear it (Your Truth), Don’t want to see it (God’s Truth), and Don’t want to give up (Your Surrender). …Develop a nasty and boorish habit of being critical, cynical, and condemning of others. Breakfast with the Narcissisms, Lunch with the Criticisms, Sup with the Hedonisms. …Sucker Punch others. …Develop a keen taste and diet for Fantasy-Flavored Cotton Candy (behaviors), not realizing it’ll “hit and run” through us like bricks momentarily. …Never see the stiletto of the Enemy until it cuts us, on his way to steal, kill and destroy us; our narcissistic and magical thinking prohibited us from integrating this reality.
Know that God loves us too much than to let us live in our grandiosity. Our self-imposed reign of “shamelessness” ends, usually with cost and consequence and always with humility. These moments of clarity reveal and remind us that we are not God, nor do we have to live a life ruled and fueled by inflicting or escaping our shame (Romans 8:1-2).
The Healthy Middle Ground of Life: OUR HUMANITY – In this area…
In this area, we…Remember we are not God. …Realize a mark of our maturity is to admit our spiritual imperfection. …Seek help from others. …Come to our own assistance. …Embrace reality at all costs in light of our knowledge and experiences with Shame. …Learn to share our reality with others via clear and direct communication. …Own our actions, make appropriate amends and live in consultation with others, our conscience and with our God. …Live Self-Contained, Grow in Self-Knowledge, we Self-Regulate and practice Self-Control. …Learn to value Family and Friends and find ways to repair and grow these relationships. …Consider how our words and actions will impact the Heart and Spirit of Others. …Realize that even the smallest incongruity with our behavior could trigger a trauma reaction in my loved ones. …Follow through on our commitments. …Learn to become a “Wounded Healer” versus an “Unhealed Wounder.” …Realize that rebuilding Trust occurs when my behaviors are consistent, predictable, reliable and are dependable. …Allow Healthy Shame to be a Welcome Teacher. …Become consistent in delivering the Therapeutic ingredients of Healing: Care, Attention, Help, and Service. …Live within our limits and become comfortable with this. …Work with our Therapist, Pastor, Sponsor, Spiritual Guide to identify the unhealthy Rules and Roles we need to revise for our own good. …Compose our “Bill Of Writes,” which is the new, inclusive and functional constitution that we will live by. …Co-Create with God a hope and a future, because this kneeling position facilitates creativity and opportunity. …Learn to Forgive, because God has forgiven us; Learn to patient with others, because God has been patient with us; Learn to Love, because God first loved us and because it is the best expression of our Humanity. …Avoid Shaming Karpman Triangle behaviors and engage in Equality and Empowerment behaviors.
Unfortunately for some of us, Humility, Humanity, Hearing from God and appropriately Helping our self could be hurriedly cast aside in our quest to rapidly escape (and sadly, not integrate) our shame, which leads to moments where we squander opportune moments to deal with our Spiritual Bankruptcy. These Un-Integrated Life Lessons, leads us back to the shame-filled world that at one time we wished to avoid.
The “SHAME-FILLED” Toxic Dump below Ground – In this area…
In this area we… Stand accused by Satan for attempting to be God. …Feel incredible shame from self-/other condemnation. …Feel worthless, hopeless, useless, stupid, damaged, inadequate, not good enough and maybe suicidal. …Replay condemning messages to assassinate our own character and progress. …Isolate, Self-Medicate, Commiserate and just plain Hate! …Experience shame attacks due to our recent involvement in traumatic encounters (with the Enemy and/or Ourselves). …Live in Self-Loathe, nurse Self-Pity, engage in Self-Recrimination but may hopefully Self-Reflect. …Burn our maps to the seemingly distant land right above this one: Our Humanity. …Hear the amplified voice of the Enemy demean us mercilessly, devalue any ray of hope, deflate any attempt to learn from our actions and deny that he even had a hand in any of this mess. … Breakfast with Dishonor, Lunch with Disgrace, Sup with Dis-Ease. …Allow our Hurt to churn into Resentment (“re+sentir” or “re-feeling the pain”). …Allow our Resentment (Self Pity + Anger) to crystallize into Bitterness (“bittar” or to “bite” others). …Allow our bitterness to metastasize into Entitlement which, if gone unchecked by all things human (the healthy middle ground) is usually when we elevate to the self-righteous and falsely empowered position to be a Higher Power (again, where we dump/act out our hurt and shame onto others by dehumanizing them and complete the Vicious Shame-Filled to Shame-Less Cycle, just like the Enemy wants us to do. …Plot our next acting out experience, due to not digging this scene (pun intended). …With this dramatic exit we begin our rapid, unnatural, compulsive, impulsive, illogical and shame-induced assent to escape our shame and humanity.
The Enemy wants you to bypass your humanity and go directly from being “shame-filled” to being a God of your own creation, who is above all and of course “shame-less.” This Shameless to Shame-filled cycle will repeat unless we make choices to live in the middle ground of Our Humanity.
As time permits, please take some time to read “Choices…Find Yourself…in God.”
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