This is What Lives Underneath Your Shame and Pain

by | Sep 6, 2020 | Anxiety | 21 comments

I often sit in awe as I listen to my clients. For even as they’re telling me about the painful abuses that they’ve suffered, there is a light in their eyes and a brilliance in their smiles that transcends their pain. I sit in awe of the human spirit that not only survives but continues to shine a light that cannot be squelched, continues to live from a heart of compassion that cannot be dampened.

We know that healing isn’t about bypassing pain; we have to go through the storms in order to heal. But we also know that a true healing path encourages us not to identify with the pain, for when we do this we believe we are the pain and form the belief, “I am broken.”

You are not broken. Your heart has broken many times from grief, powerlessness, hurt, loss, but you as a being are not broken. You are whole.

You are not your personal pain and you are not your ancestral trauma. Those traumas live in you, and healing requires that you name it, feel the depth of it, tell your stories, release it. Sometimes this requires working with a therapist trained in trauma release modalities. Sometimes you can work through aspects on your own through the healthy rituals and practices that your soul has landed upon.

But an element of healing depends on knowing that there is a place inside of you that is untouched by these traumas, like a column of light that shines as pure as daybreak, a clear waterfall that shimmers so clean and pure that you could drink from your own springs and be nourished. This is the you of you who is untouched by your father’s unhealed pain or your mother’s transgressions of boundaries; from your grandmother’s habits of worry and control and your grandfather’s depression.

Again, their pain lives inside you but it is not you. It may rise up in a moment when your partner comes close or withdraws and the old scripts that say LOVE = DANGER are unleashed. We have to know our stories and scripts so that we can name them and differentiate the past threats from the present safety.

What we can name we can give back and say, “Mother, I give back to you this tainted milk which was never mine to drink. Father, I give back your boundarylessness that invaded my sacred space and body. Older brother, I give back your insecurity that caused you to invalidate my emotional life. Grandmother, I give back your worry and the belief that the world isn’t safe. Abusers, I give back your violations; they are not me and they have never touched the waterfall of light that shimmers at my core, all goodness.”

The light that kisses the fields gold as day drifts into night… this light is you.

The beauty of a red rose laced with diamond rain, each drop reflecting grief and joy in equal measure… this beauty is you.

The soaring freedom of a hawk catching thermals and the wild hoot of an owl… this wild freedom is you.

Your shame will tell you a different story. Your intrusive thoughts, especially those that center around harm anxiety, will tell you a different story. But these are not true stories. Even as you read these words your inner protector and your inner critic may argue with my assertion that you are good, worthy, strong, safe, and loved. But I know these statements to be true. I know that there is a light in you untouched by your pain, your stories, your thoughts, your bullies. I see it every day.

Sometimes, in moments of grace, we touch into our place of goodness. These are gift-moments when we’re presented with clear awareness of who we are. But mostly we have to invest some effort to recover a somatic knowing of our goodness – not just in theory but in wisdom. And, like all aspects of healing, we toggle frequently between knowing and forgetting. Sometimes we land in the river of light for days or week only to be triggered into forgetting. Sometimes we land in the place of truth for an hour only to fall asleep and wake up back in the dark forest.

And so we take action as best we can to remember as best we can.

What helps to remember your place of goodness?

Meditation helps: When you can quiet the mind enough to touch into your heart of goodness, you remember who are really are.

Being in/with nature helps: When you drop into awe and allow the beauty that surrounds you to enter you, remembering that the beauty you see outside are reflections of the beauty that dwells within, you remember your essential nature.

Working with a highly skilled and compassionate therapist helps, one who focuses more on your wholeness than your wounds and reflects back your goodness and gifts in every session.

Listening to music helps, especially songs that speak directly to this untouched place of light, like this one:

What helps you remember your place of goodness and light, the place untouched by pain and shame? Share with us in the comments below.



  1. I’m able to remember the light places more often by music than anything. A song that brings back a memory of a time or person that I enjoyed and the fun we had together.

    • Your blog posts and book always help me remind these untouched places 😉❤️ I also love Eckhart Tolle’s work for that, for it always brings me back to my true essence. For music, I highly recommend searching Mei-lan Maurits on Youtube or Instagram. The divine healing power of her music is pure magic 😘😘

    • Yes, music is such a powerful reminder of our light-essence.

  2. When I cry at someone else’s pain, or because they’re crying. It’s a paradoxical experience because I can see and feel that goodness, and my empathetic nature, but then I turn around and think “well then why are you having bad thoughts? If you’re still capable of empathy, why are they even there?”

    • The intrusive thoughts – what you’re calling “bad thoughts” – are not evidence of badness but are, in fact, evidence of your goodness. Read through my collection on intrusive thoughts to learn more.

  3. Hi Sheryl,

    I constantly read through your blog and have purchased your Wisdom of Anxiety book. Reading this gives me times of relief but I feel that most of the time my anxiety goes round in circles.

    My hook used to be intrusive thoughts of being gay but now it is about my partner of 9 months. At the start of the relationship there was a bit of doubt as there wasn’t “infatuation” but then I deeply fell in love with him. 4 months into the relationship I started getting thoughts like “I don’t really love him” “there wasn’t infatuation at the start so it’s wrong” “I should leave him” etc. I feel like this goes over and over and when I start to get better something will spike it up again! Now I’m so scared and the thoughts continue to pop in like “you don’t really want to be with him” “you don’t love him” basically telling me to run. They haven’t stopped since the four month mark. It also makes me see my partner differently and feel disconnected.

    I’m so scared because I love him so and it gives me more and more anxiety. I just feel like this horror will never end. If you could please respond, that would be fantastic if you believe this is RA. I would love to take your course.


    • Lia,
      I don’t know that Sheryl will have the time to respond. But I can say with my whole heart that you should take the course. Take all of her courses. I’ve taken the Relationship Anxiety Course and I just completed the Open Your Heart Course. There is so much wisdom inside Sheryl. I truly am so grateful for her. I will continue to go back to these courses and the material for the rest of my life. She has been a true source of light for me and I have learned so much about myself and the other people in my life. This hell you are in, ive been there. But my husband is the most special, beautiful, most wonderful human and I am so so happy I decided to commit to taking the course. I plan to go through it all again soon. You will love the courses and her book. So I say take it, you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t meant to be.

      • Thank you so much, Oceans. xoxo

      • Thank you so much for the reply Oceans, I really appreciate it! I definitely want to take the Break Free RA course and I’ve constantly been contemplating because the ego is very big and convinces me that it’s not RA. Now that I know that it is, I really want to delve right in.

        It’s also great to have support from other people, and shows that I’m not alone, even though once again the ego will say anything to convince me that I’m an exception.

        Thank you once again. It’s great to hear from someone who has experienced what I’m going through. And like you said, I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t meant to be ❤️❤️

    • You’re describing classic relationship anxiety, and yes, the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety course would benefit you enormously.

      • Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Sheryl, your response has really helped me identify and truely understand that I’m not alone and it is actually something that people go through!

        I honestly thought I was an exception and that all of the intrusive thoughts and feelings were really the truth! I can’t thank you enough for your acknowledgment, and I definitely want to do the course in order to start my healing!

  4. Profound. A wonderful reminder. Thank you. I remember that song clip 😉

  5. Thank you very much for this.

    • Hi Sheryl, I’ve been following your work for a while and purchased your book which was a huge eye opener for me and helped tremendously.
      But one hook i can’t seem to – I’m not going to say get rid of because that’s not the goal – accept, is that i feel as if my partner is not giving me enough attention which leads me into the deep rabbit hole of anxiety. It’s the one hook where i get overwhelmed by the intrusive thoughts and anxiety so much that i believe it is true (and feel unable to use any of my tools). And this post reminded me of all of the guilt i carry around because of it. How do i lovingly learn to accept it through the tremendous amount of guilt and anxiety?

  6. What a beautiful performance (although I don’t like the word performance when it is this real and true.) of a beautiful song 🙂

    • Whenever I need a reminder of my wholeness, and what intrusive thoughts really are, I read me some Sheryl! Your writing has helped center me for seven years.

  7. Hi Sheryl,

    Beautiful. I’m at a loss for words 🙂

    I’m currently in my first real relationship, the longest one I’ve ever had. Most of mine have either been a couple of months or online. Can relationship anxiety still come up even though this is my first real relationship?

    • To answer your question: Absolutely yes.

  8. So beautiful and helpful.
    Thank-you once again


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