The feeling of shame is a complex and multifaceted emotion that is often experienced as a sense of dread in response to a perceived failure or violation of social norms. Shame is closely related to the concept of the shadow, which refers to those aspects of the self that are hidden or repressed due to socialization or other psychological factors.
Shame can be seen as a reaction to shadow considered unacceptable or unworthy by the individual or society. When these aspects are triggered, we may experience a sense of shame as a way of protecting themselves from the negative consequences of revealing them to others. Through compassion, we can learn to approach shame with curiosity and openness, rather than trying to suppress or avoid it.
Collective shame at the level of the group or society can be a response to historical events such as slavery, genocide, or war. Social justice work or activism, participating in cultural or religious practices that promote healing and reconciliation, or engaging in dialogue with others who share similar experiences of shame or trauma may provide relief.
HERE’S THE DREAM WE ANALYZE:
“I was on one side of the Grand Canyon with my graduate school classmates and it was daylight. We all had on our caps and gowns. There was a thin land bridge reaching over to the other side where there stood significant others, homes, and other symbols of a great future. My classmates were running across smiling and throwing their caps up into the air. I let them all go because I wanted some space to run by myself. It started to get dark and I didn’t see anyone I knew on the other side for me. The land bridge turned into a rope ladder with dowels that was strung horizontally across. I had to crawl across in the dark by myself.”
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