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As I’ve been attending individual counseling therapy and a church class about the clinical side of emotional hurt, I’ve learned that I have layers of shame wrapped around me. More importantly, I am learning from where they stem and how I can start removing those layers so I am no longer trapped underneath them.

Some of this involves forgiveness, including myself as well as family members and people in my past. The main root of these layers comes from some painful childhood experiences as well as generally chaotic and sometimes unsafe environments in the past. Those events extended into loss of innocence and shame of having been harmed (and from not sharing) and thoughts of how life could have been or could be different “if only…”. My first main step is opening the door where I have locked away all the pain so I can finally let some of it go and become free. Then as I uncover specific details and wounds, I can break their hold of me. 

Ultimately, I will reach a point where I don’t believe the doubting voices in my head and will feel like I can confidently pursue my goals and feel worthy of myself, my efforts, my contributions to the world. I can also break the unconscious vows I made to myself in attempts of protecting myself from further pain. I have vowed not to make children experience what I did as a child, thus making it impossible for me to know if I even want children. Once I let that go, I can see that I can still have a fulfilling family and create a safe and happy home environment (the latter of which I have accomplished as I made my own home in college but have later realized it also includes self imposed isolation as a family of one). In turn, allowing myself to have what I block in the interest of protection gives me an opportunity to lead a more fulfilling and connected life, built up by being plugged in. 

Hopelessness may lead to more despair and self-pity, even self-hatred. Yet I have hope that as I unwrap those layers and leave them somewhere that’s not a shadowy party of my heart (as seemingly comforting as they can trick my mind into feeling with their familiarity), I can wrap myself in more positive life experiences and be better equipped to weather the difficult ones.