Thursday, January 10, 2013

Perfect Antidote to Shame

A recovery friend shared a prayer that her priest taught her yesterday.  She prays this prayer when she finds herself engaged in passing judgement or criticizing another.
You see me,
You know me,
You love me.

Such a simple prayer.  So easy to remember.  It is the perfect antidote to shame.  Because when I engage in criticizing another or judging them as less than, I am doing so out of an intense need to give them my shame.  When I feel less than, not enough, I desperately look for someone who I can judge as even more less than, than I.  Shame is way too intense to keep--it must be given away.

Reminding myself that God sees and knows me--that He knows my deepest secrets and darkest fears-- anchors me in the reality that I am loved just as I am.  In His eyes, I am enough.  He loves me in spite of my flaws and imperfections.  He sees me and loves me still; He knows me and loves me still.  This is powerful!

Living with or having lived with an individual with sexual compulsions or addictions creates tons of toxic shame for the partner.  When your significant other is looking at other women, men or children to satisfy their sexual desires rather than at you, you feel so diminished and so not enough.  And the nature of addiction demands that they pass their shame on to you.  So they blame the partner for their sexual acting out.  And so many of us just take their shame and carry it as our own.  It is a vicious cycle; it destroys connections and isolates us even further from one another and from our Higher Power.

But this simple prayer speaks truth and connection.  I am seen--for the amazing, creative, loving individual that I truly am.  I am known--fully and completely without any mask or covering.  And I am loved--just as I am.  I do not need to clean myself up in order to be loved, I already am.  I can lay down the demands of perfectionism and bask in the light of pure love.  Living loved means that I can love others as I am loved.  Simple but perfect.  I have a hunch this prayer will be on my lips much in the days ahead.

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