Shame. Brene Brown is an expert researcher on the subject, but we are all experts in feeling it. Shame in how we’ve failed at something, shame at how we’ve treated others at one point or another in our life, shame for our desires, shame about how someone else has treated us. What happens when we actually talk about that thing we feel so much shame around? Magic.
Shame is not an individual’s emotion - shame is a collective emotion that we feel on an individual level. We are taught that things that happen to us, things we do, things we experience, things we desire are us and therefore mean we are bad or good. We all have the capacity for good and bad in us and at one point or another we act on both. We are not our thoughts, actions or beliefs - we are more than all of that. However, the collective of our thoughts, actions and beliefs overtime are what we and others use to define us. It doesn’t mean they’re true or right.
A client shared with me that he likes to crossdress for pleasure. There’s something sensual, sexy and flattering about the attire that turns him on and makes him feel good. He was a bit reluctant to tell me because he was afraid of being rejected or abandoned. He felt shame.
Honestly, I feel proud of him and respect him for trying to embrace this part of himself in a new light. There was no judgement on my part, I was actually honored that he was able to share this with me. His ability to get vulnerable and expose a part of himself that even he feels judgment towards, is brave. Although there are some people that might not accept him after hearing this, those people aren’t meant to be in his life. The people that ARE meant to be in his life might feel unclear, unsure, or uncomfortable with this new information at first, but ultimately will be willing to work through their original definitions of who they think he should be in order to accept who he is willing to be.
If someone cannot accept you, they might be struggling with holding onto their own secret. I truly believe that anyone who loves you for you will accept whatever you have to offer. I believe that if they do judge you, they will do the work to get through it recognizing that it is their internal struggle causing them discomfort - maybe they have a secret they aren’t willing to share and expose, maybe they were raised with notions that they are having difficulty moving past.
There is no shame in what he shared. It’s a part of who he is and he is a wonderful, brilliant, caring individual who happens to enjoy dressing in sexy women’s clothing. It is not something that harms anyone else, takes away from their power, or is potentially dangerous, so there is nothing to be shamed about. It’s ok for him to be who he is because he is uniquely him. What is also not unique is his feeling of unworthiness because his sexual desires aren’t exactly what he has been taught to have - they’re not ‘normal’.
We all have elements of sexual desire that might feel ‘wrong’ or weird, but that doesn’t equate to us being ‘wrong’ or weird. We are more than our sexual orientation, desires and experiences. What makes it seem so strong/intense is that we don’t talk about it in a way that allows for complexity. There are judgements that come along with every aspect of it because we are told it’s so powerful “sex sells”, but power that is not supposed to be discussed. Well, it is supposed to be discussed, accessed, explored, enjoyed, learned about to ultimately find what works for you.
Healthy, useful sexual exploration is a natural part of being human. There’s nothing to be afraid of if you’re exploring in a safe, non-exploitive, consensual, emotionally connected way. Sexual energy is the core of creative energy - it’s how we create other human beings, it’s how we can create our desires (beyond sex) in the world because it is our life force. Your level of being loved and accepted isn’t tied to your sexual preferences, however having those needs met is 100% your right. Be brave enough to share that part of yourself with someone you love and feel safe enough to be really vulnerable with and physically naked with. They will love you for it.
Do you have a secret that you feel is too much for those closest to you to handle? Are you ready to heal your shame around being who you are in a loving way? You don’t have to tackle it alone, reach out here and let’s go deep together.