“The difference between grace and shame is very clear-in theory. We feel guilty for what we have done and shame for what we are. A person feels guilt because he did something wrong. A person feels shame because he is something wrong. Psychologist Lewis Smedes
Shame tells us we should hide who we are. Shame is the root of our physical insecurities and is sown by seeds of doubt. Shame makes us hungry for praise and desire to get affirmation for our body. Shame has one enemy: it’s called grace. Grace is the unmerited love and favor from God. It’s an unearned gift. If shame say’s I’m defective, grace tells me I’m valuable. Shame’s greatest weapon is the fear of judgment. Grace’s even bigger weapon is the relief of unconditional love. Shame says that because I am flawed I am unacceptable. Grace says that though I am flawed, I am cherished. Shame believes that the opinion of others is what matters. Grace believes that the opinion of God is what matters. Shame claims I must be perfect to earn the approval of others. Grace claims I am accepted regardless of seeming imperfections. Shame makes us hide. Grace makes us frolic. –from Michelle Graham‘s “WANTING TO BE HER”
>>>We are accepted right where we are at this moment. Our bodies are loved and cherished and important. One way I’ve learned to remove shame from my life is to identify the voices and messages of shame that I’ve listened to. We are constantly bombarded with messages that tell us our value, our acceptance and our success in life depends on how we match up to ideal beauty standards. We are constantly being slammed with commercials, magazines, blog posts and advertisements telling us what to look like, how to dress and what size we should be. Consciously noticing and recognizing the source of these messages will make the shift from being full of shame to being full of grace that much easier. Questions to consider asking yourself:
- What messages did I hear about my body as a young child? As a teen?
- What recent experiences have communicated shameful messages about my body?
- How did these messages affect the way I view my body? What are my feelings about the source of these messages?
- How has shame influenced my life? My relationships? The way I view my body?
- How would my body image be altered if I lived by a standard of grace rather than a standard of shame?
- What people in my life are influencing me to care and obsess about my body? In contrast, who is influencing me with messages of truth and love?
Writing down your thoughts and feelings about the messages you listen to, the amount of power you give each message, the source of each message. YOU have the choice here: Do you listen to the messages you hear and give them power over your emotions and wellbeing? Do you live a life of shame or a life of grace? You are more than what you look like, what you wear, what size jeans you wear. You were meant to sparkle and shine and live a life full of grace and joy. Like I mentioned a blog post previously, it’s not too late to change, it’s not too late to take enough path or choose another mindset, it’s not too late to wholeheartedly accept grace. Happy positive Thursday! xo