No! to Shame


Mt. Timponogos by Roger Baker

Shame is society’s largest lie, telling us we are bad or broken for making mistakes, committing sins, having weaknesses. Shame cripples individuals, families, communities, and countries. I felt ashamed of myself for most of my life, feeling deeply defective, unworthy, at fault, but not knowing why. Then I learned the difference between shame (i.e., I am bad for doing that thing) and embarrassment (i.e., I feel bad for doing that thing). I no longer feel ashamed of who I am.

I thank Brene Brown for her work to understand shame and to help people develop resilience to shame. I celebrate people who have the courage to tell their stories of feeling shame, and who have compassion for themselves and empathy for others. I dedicate this post and this poem to my darling mother, to my sweet sisters, to my lovely daughters, and to my dear friend Liddy on the other side of the world, all of whom I love and admire and appreciate. Let shame have no place in your mind and heart.


Many voices
in this world
will tell you
to feel
your shame:
you will.

and his stupid slaves
will whisper,
will scream
to believe in
your shame:
you will.

to my voice
above all:

You are good!
You are whole!

I will roar it
from my rooftop:

You are light!
You are love!

I will shout it
from my lighthouse:

You are virtue!
You are truth!

I will bellow it,
above the million hissing lies:

You are worthy!
You are pure!

I will say it and say it
again, and again,
time upon time,
till this world knows
what I know,
till I have banished
from you,
for shame
has no place in you,
no quarter,
no nook,
no space,
no place.

Shame is ugliness
to your beauty.

Shame is filth
to your purity.

Shame is stench
to your flower’s bloom.

Shame is a leprosy
to your exquisiteness.

Shame is cold, gray ash
to the fusion heat of the stars
living in you.

quash the lying voices,
quell the insipid whispers.

send shame to its devil’s hatchery,
suck it to the center of
a massive black hole.

Listen to my voice
above all.

May 9, 2016

5 thoughts on “No! to Shame

  1. Mithai Mumblezz

    I too believe you know, the worst thing you can do to yourself is feel shame!! Its really detrimental to personal growth……moreover no one should be important/powerful enough to make you feel shame. Its your life, live it unapologetically.
    I absolutely loved your words. It projects the confidence and the rightfulness so strongly. Thank you so much for making me read it!! I hugely appreciate your poems, your skills to be so vivid and strong through your words and I’m so glad I follow your blog 😀

    Liked by 1 person


I would enjoy hearing from you. Please drop me a line.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s