Free Yourself from Sexual Shame

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John Bradshaw, author of Healing The Shame That Binds You, says, “The dynamic core of your human life is grounded in your feelings, needs and drives. When these are bound by shame, you are shamed to the core.”  Many of us have been shamed socially and also by how we were raised. We internalize shame and it embeds in our nervous system, we feel it in our gut. It’s one of the earliest emotions children display ~ the lowered head, downcast eyes, tingling red face.

Social shaming helps to ensure expected behaviors and helps us to see our errors and self-correct. For example, we can laugh and remedy the situation of rushing to cross the street before the “walk” light illuminates by stepping back to the curb and waiting before we rush into the street.

Most of us have been shamed about our bodies and sexuality from an early age. We’ve all heard messages like “Good girls save themselves until they’re married to have sex”, “Showing so much cleavage makes you look cheap”, “You’re too fat, too thin, too tall, too short” or “That heavy and dark eyeliner looks like you’re inviting a seduction” and so on. Take a moment and think about the messages you heard, the ones that still run in your head. These are the messages that become our negative self-talk. This is so pervasive that nearly every woman has low self-esteem and a less than loving view of her body and sexuality. You need only look at all the products and services that are sold to make us more presentable and lovable to see this.

When breast cancer comes into the picture and our breasts are altered or removed, more shame can get triggered. Of course we’re happy to be alive even if our body is changed. And yet, this toll on self-love and sexual self-esteem is big. If you’ve ever had a thought that you are “damaged goods”, this is shame at work and it’s toxic. It’s important to know that toxic shame is the natural result of our mental programming and messages we received from our families, teachers, bullies and even the media. Because this shame results from our programming, we don’t have to be ashamed of this shame, because it’s not ours. It was imposed on us long ago.

The truth is that you have a natural grace and reason for existing and loving yourself and feeling loved. When you look beyond the curtain of shame, then you can see the truth of your own beauty and desirability. Beauty comes from the inside out and has a radiance to it that makes you glow.

The way to free yourself from any shame is to feel your shame. As you feel it, know that you have a right to be, that you were meant to be here, and that there is no need to apologize for who you are. As you do this, the clarity will come about who you really are and you can begin to discover your visions for who you are as a woman, a sexual being who deserves to love and be loved. It all begins with this inside work.

This weekend I am at the National Women’s Survivors Convention in Nashville. I will report on it very soon ~ imagine 750 women with cancer in their story, gathered to live, laugh and evolve. Stay tuned for details!

© 2012 by Barbara Musser, Sexy After Cancer.
For more resources, go to SexyAfterCancer.com

This blog does not reflect the opinions of The Pink Fund, its Founder, Board of Directors, Advisers or Volunteers. It is not meant to serve as medical advice of any kind. Any questions about your health and sexuality should be directed to a licensed physician or therapist. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the writer who voluntarily blogs for The Pink Fund without compensation.

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