Savannah Hanson: Integrating toxic shame |

Savannah Hanson: Integrating toxic shame

Savannah Hanson

Turns out lurking below the unconscious guilt that keeps so many trapped in the ego thought system is an even more insidious pitfall, shame.

Guilt says I did something wrong, shame says I am something wrong. We will often hear in people’s speech this self abnegation.

So many view themselves as defective, as worthy of self hatred. We may feel guilty if we scream at our children or kick the dog in a fit of anger.

Yet the sense of unworthiness, unlovability, a sense of being defective at the core lies beneath even this prevalent, if often unconscious, guilt.

Check inside. Do you question your basic value, your inherent innocence, your core goodness? Or does a pervasive sense of shame rob you of energy and confidence?

We live in a shame culture that passes from one generation to the next, using shame as a parenting tool.

Parent’s may even say, “You should be ashamed of yourself!” because we were too loud, spilled our milk, or received a “D” on our report card.

A shame culture is defined as a culture in which conformity of behavior is maintained through the individual’s fear of being shamed.

Shame as a weapon

Certain religions will use shunning to threaten to totally reject a person to try to force compliance with its rules and command members’ behavior. The Amish, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Church of Scientology uses such drastic measures to keep members in line.

A child is terrified of being rejected from the family, so learns inner self control and begins to see themselves as inherently wrong if the child feels unable to comply with the parents’ needs or rules. This inner shame may feel like a way to keep oneself safe from parental rejection yet ultimately it keeps us looping in an endless round of self abandonment.

Shame will assure us we are lazy, stupid, ugly, a failure, worthless, unlovable. We then scramble to become an endless self improvement project geared towards finally being able to access our own love and approval as well as trying to entice others to love us by being, in one form or another, good.

If we lose weight, graduate from college, make a certain amount of money, get a promotion, get married then we will feel good about ourself.

Yet when we reach one target, we simply move the goalpost, playing an endless game of seek but do not find.

No wonder so many are discouraged and exhausted!

Fighting back

So what is the antidote?

Think about it.

Can you see that to believe we have to shape shift to earn love and approval from ourself or others to feel at peace within is a rigged nightmare?

Instead we need to exit the whole game. We must begin to see and know our inherent, incorruptible innocence.

To do so counters eons of false beliefs and conditioning to restore ourself to the knowing of our true identity.

We must learn that the entire ego thought system is a game of smoke and mirrors to keep us linked to misery.

Our five senses do not report the truth, they merely report what our minds believe to be true. Knowing this beyond the level of conceptual awareness is the great game changer.

Many will need support to make such a monumental change in understanding. Joining with others of like mind and heart is one of the most vital ways we can reclaim direct awareness of our own unlimited natures.

Various spiritual teachers and books will also support this knowing. I have been glued to “A Course in Miracles,” “The Way of Mastery,” and “A Course of Love” to support me in waking up from the dream of illusion.

The ultimate answer is forgiveness. We forgive ourselves for forgetting who we are. Every time we drop into judgment of self or other, we offer a prayer for forgiveness to restore our own hearts back to the kingdom.

The most effective process I have ever discovered is from Nouk Sanchez.

By forgiving ourselves repeatedly, over time the old conditioning and false beliefs begin to drop away.

Initially, it often requires we dive in to the visceral feelings of shame, fear, doubt, rage. We feel it to heal it.

As the body becomes less dense, we may have miraculous healings simply unfold. Huge previous triggers may now not even be a blip on the radar screen.

Ultimately shame, guilt and fear are subsumed by an irrevocable peace that truly does pass all understanding.

For information on private sessions, classes or the TTC Course, or to schedule a free 20-minute consultation, contact Savannah Hanson, M.A., MFT #40422 at 530-575-5052 or

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