Shame, Humiliation, Guilt and Embarrassment

If I am going to love my whole self just the way I am, I am going to have to appreciate the path I took to get here, because I wouldn’t be who I am without having taken that path.


In her book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Brene Brown, a shame and empathy researcher, talks about shame, humiliation, guilt and embarrassment. In a nutshell, shame means I am bad, guilt means I’ve done something bad, humiliation means something bad has happened to me and I didn’t deserve it, and embarrassment means something bad happened to me that often happens to other people. Do you see the common thread running through all of this; the word “bad”? This word is an evaluative word. We have spent our lives assigning evaluation to situations: good, bad or some variation in between. Marshall Rosenberg talks about observing rather than evaluation. For example, if I discover that I’ve been walking around the mall with my skirt stuck in the back of my panty hose, that is an observation. If I tell myself that people have been laughing at me about this, that’s a story; and if my belief is that it’s a bad thing to be laughed at without that being your intention that’s an evaluation.

So what is common about the concepts that Brene Brown has been observing and researching is that they are constructs. In other words, there wouldn’t be shame, humiliation, guilt and embarrassment if we hadn’t decided that certain situations are bad. What’s more important about these concepts is they keep us from being whole. In other words, who would want to believe they are bad? I can’t be happy if I believe I’m bad. I will do everything I can to protect myself from that. That will include not taking responsibility for actions I may have done that have hurt others or myself.

Because we believe we are bad we have broken ourselves. We spend our lives trying to avoid that part of ourselves. How can we be happy? Marshall Rosenberg reminds us we did the best we could with the tools we had in the situation. It has absolutely nothing to do with who we are. We can look back and gain understanding of why we made the choices we did, which anyone else in that same situation would have chosen to do, and we can give ourselves empathy. We can own that part of ourselves again. We can become whole. We can also give that empathy to others.


The Woman at the Well

John 4:1-59


So Jesus left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well to rest. It was about noon.

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus requested from her. “I am in need of a drink, I am very thirsty and am wondering if you would be willing to give me a drink?” The Samaritan woman said to him, “I don’t understand. I am a Samaritan woman and you are a Jewish man, how can you ask me for a drink?”


Jesus said to the woman “I have no enemy image of you, you are valuable and important and I want to contribute to you and this is a request; you may agree and give me a drink or say no and not give me a drink.” Jesus was truly connected and wanted to contribute to this woman, he wanted to offer her clarity and understanding about connection to the Divine. Jesus said to the woman, “I am here to contribute to you, to offer you compassion and empathy, let me give you living water.”


The woman said to Jesus, “I still don’t understand. How can you get any water if you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep? Tell me more about this living water. Are you greater than Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself as did his sons and livestock?”


Jesus said to the woman, “It sounds like you would like some understanding regarding Living Water. Anyone who connects to the Creator as I do, everyone who turns within and realizes what they need, is connected to the Divine; that is a water that never runs out. Would you be willing to tell me what you heard me say?”


The woman said, “Sir I want that water so I will not get thirsty and I don’t want to have to come back to this well again.”


Jesus said, “Thank you for telling me what you heard me say. Let me rephrase for better understanding. I have a need to contribute to you, to be empathic with you, to see you and value you. I believe no one is insignificant. When you understand that and connect to the need to be valued and know that the Divine values you, you are connected. You are at the well that never runs dry.”


Jesus requested, “Would you mind going and getting your husband?” The woman replied, “I have no husband.” Jesus replied, “You have spoken with integrity and authenticity for you have no husband but have had five husbands.”


The woman said, “Sir, you are definitely someone who has experienced the Divine and connects with his feelings and needs.” Then she added, “Sir, you must know that as a Samaritan and a woman I cannot worship in Jerusalem because the Jews are afraid to let us worship there and they let their fear stop them from opening up their worship to all.”


Then Jesus replied, “Let me help you understand our history and how we worship. Please know you don’t have to worship the Divine on this mountain or in Jerusalem. I am a Jew and I am bringing you this spiritual understanding. I want you to understand that worshipping the Creator is done in spirit; this is the truth, and to worship the Divine is done in spirit. Remember, our Divine Creator is spirit and we are invited to worship in that Spirit and in that Truth. That is connection.”


The woman said, “I have heard about Christ consciousness, or the Cosmic Christ, and when I find this awareness of this Cosmic Christ I will be truly enlightened.”


Jesus said to the woman, “I am showing you that consciousness, I am offering you this understanding. When you connect to your needs and feelings you connect to the Divine, this is Christ-likeness; this is the everlasting well of Living Water.”


Just then the disciples, who had been out looking for food, came back and were shocked to see Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman. But his disciple’s were inauthentic and did not ask why Jesus was talking with this woman.


Then leaving behind her water jar the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “I care for you so much and I want to contribute to you; I have a request for you all. Please come with me and see a man who has given me enlightenment, who has shown be how to have Everlasting Water. I believe this man is giving away Christ Consciousness.” They were so interested they went with the woman to see Jesus.


Meanwhile his disciples were speaking with Jesus. They were concerned for him and asked him to eat something.


Jesus then said to them, “I would like to contribute to you. I want to give you understanding about spiritual food, a food where you never get hungry again.”


The disciples wondered, “Who could have given Jesus food to eat?”


Then Jesus said to them, “The food I have for you is Divine Food, it is a food that comes from connection with the Creator of Life. It is a food that comes from connecting with the needs and feelings that you have and finding strategies that meet those needs. It is a food that comes from being connected, authentic and compassionate. The challenge I have for you is to show others how they might connect, how they might find strategies that meet their needs, how you might contribute to others and share the Divine within us all.”


So, the Samaritans came to him; the whole town! The woman told them, “He showed me the Christ Consciousness, he valued me, he saw me, he showed me compassion and empathy.” The Samaritans asked Jesus to stay with them, and he stayed for two days. While he was with them he showed them Everlasting Water. He connected to the Divine, he communicated to them with love and compassion, he showed them the Cosmic Christ and they gained understanding. They wanted what he showed them!


The Samaritans said to the woman, “You spoke to us about this Everlasting Water and now that we have met him, we have clarity and understanding. We know that he has brought us salvation; he has given us the way of connecting, the way of understanding our needs and feelings. He has shown us the Divine and we believe.”






Please like & share:

Speak Your Mind