Another definition of "ignominy" is, "Public contempt." Now we're getting somewhere! Our group members who deal with lots of shame all talk about feeling judged by the public, of constant humiliation. But it's not just the public. They also feel judgment and contempt coming from their friends, family, and intimate partners. Yet they admit that mostly these are imagined persecutions. How else to describe these imaginings as remnants of corrupt, nonsensical teachings from our most powerful historical teachers. The ones closest to us when we were most vulnerable.
You may have heard of Brené Brown, the social worker turned researcher/storyteller whose books and TED Talks have made her the Queen of Vulnerability (a strange and dangerous land, where our courage is tested). Her career focus has most recently been on shame; what it is, who has it, how we get it, how to confront it. She discovered that people with a strong sense of love and connection have one thing in common: they feel they are worthy of love and connection. She reminds me of Carl Jung when she talks about the necessity of letting go of who we think we should to be in order to become who we are.
If you think checking out Dr. Brown's other work will help you, then please check it out. You can listen to her audio book, The Power of Vulnerability, by clicking on this picture. If you think coming back to group will help you, then please come back. In future get-togethers, we'll continue to create a safe place to be our real selves. Little by little, we'll strengthen each of our "usnesses" and gradually escort our false selves out the door. If you're worried that these things are too hard or won't help, then please do them anyway. And do anything else that gets you in touch with that vulnerability we've been so misled into believing is our weak side showing. Let that vulnerability still left inside you, after all you've been through, guide you to a hopeful place on your journey's path, just there at the crossroads.