What Does Shame Have to Do With It?

After 30 years plus of counseling people who wanted to change their lives for the better,and enjoy wellbeing, I find myself face to face with a reoccurring theme verbalized in Kevin Costner's eulogy of Whitney Houston -"shame". In days gone by, at our Long Island counseling center I remember attending a training by a therapist on addiction and shame.

He, as did John Bradshaw, the  author of many books on guilt and shame, defined shame as "not feeling good enough".

So shame seemed intimately connected to who we were not to  what we did.

Later, I  learned in a workshop on healing family roots, how shame can be passed along to us;translating: someone else's "not good enough" can influence the next generation.

While none of this is news to many people, what may be news is that according to Kevin Costner, Whitney grappled with not feeling good enough, and never was it more apparent than when she did her screen test for the movie, Bodyguard.

It seems that she had her hair and makeup ready when she was about to go on stage for that screen test.Kevin had visted her to encourage her and she asked him if she could have time alone before joining him.Later, he discovered when the lights began to melt her makeup, that she had put on additional makeup  like the cake makeup that was used for her singing debuts, hence the melting.When asked why she did that, she is reported to have shared how she really wanted them to like her, and how important it was for her to be "good enough".

He stated something like" the challenge of that fame became the obstacle that claimed her life".

Throughout my years as a counselor and spiritual guide, I witnessed how so many of us grapple with thoughts and feelings of not enoughness, shame.

Many of our 12 step clients referred to their addiction  as "the disease".Many of those were the bravest of the brave, having faced their shame have gone on to enhance lives.Today,  we recognize what the Bishop, who was her producer of the movie Sparkle said, "death has not won, because love conquers death" . We are urged to love ourselves MORE , to think loving thoughts MORE OFTEN, to heal those places within that feel less than NOW.With each of us doing more of that and helping others do the same, we can transform our lives , our families, our community and  ultimately our world.

What is an affirmation you recommend to counter  " not enoughness"  and live a legacy of love in our world?