Shame is as much a theme in my life as is love and loss.
I guess the moment my Mum, a young Irish, Catholic girl, found out she was pregnant she felt shame. I was a result of that shameful act of sex, worse still I was an illegitimate child conceived out of wedlock. That personal, cultural and generational shame has been a feature of my life.
This picture is the end product of a journey of self-acceptance, and unfolding understanding of the layers of shame I have carried to now a point of shameless liberation. It was taken towards the end of a retreat in Corfu where I learnt to love/accept myself in ways I had never expected possible. Naked, vulnerable, liberated.
My painful background starting pre-birth of body, sexual and relational shame was not fully understood until I met a partner who rejected me over and over again. Even my closest friends and colleagues would never have guessed - yet my inner critic created torture, ridicule and pain. I unknowingly had created a version of myself that was not fully the true essence of ME. It was created to fit in, speak in half-truths and to be accepted in all relationships - both personally and professionally, to avoid shame. I was a pleaser so I was not criticised or rejected again as I had been at birth. Abandoned, shamed and left to live in a protective state of being.
The ‘Be Shamelessly You’ theme for ALL my work is inspired by my own journey of self-acceptance through vulnerability and learning how to gently hold onto discomfort with compassion for myself.
I was forced into conversations and learning around sex, pornography, relationships and self-acceptance so that has ended up my therapy focus.
I am grateful I was because now I feel truly LIBERATED. Wherever I go I am very comfortable being 'Shamelessly ME' in my body, actions and conversations. I do still feel shame. That will never go as it is a natural protective strategy. Now I can call it out and bring it into the open to befriend it.
I now love having conversations about taboo subjects as I recognise how liberating it is to fully express yourself. I value discomfort as that is key to growth. Holding onto discomfort is the quickest way to become liberated. No more emotional pass the parcel.
Creating an unauthentic self led to unknowingly creating an enmeshed family due to this invisible emotional pass the parcel around the dreaded DRAMA TRIANGLE. When I realised this, I had to step out of the roles of 'rescuer', 'victim' and 'persecutor' so I could act from my heart. I had to allow others to fall (heck that was painful as I had to be the witness and not the rescuer) and then step back in as a more authentic person with keeping a balance of power as the growth promotor.
Allow family members to fall so they could find their own power (and use it) created family turmoil, lots of fall outs and at points near loss of life. Now we are genuinely the closest and most honest we have been with each other.
Events on this path broke me into pieces yet each piece I have used to reform and create myself.
The aim of my work is to share the short cuts and wisdom as the tools for transformation that have worked for me.
NOTE: I do not refer to being SHAME-FREE as that is not healthy. Shame serves to keep us safe with boundaries and integrity in all situations.