What’s faster, easier, less work, more convenient, and way cheaper than healing? I’ll give you some hints. It’s available 24/7 in abundant supply, and you won’t have to go very far to get it. Most people have some and are more than happy to share it with you.
In fact, once you get it installed, it’s virtually self-sustaining. A gift that keeps on giving. Do you know what it is?
I know, it sounds crazy. But hear me out on this. Shame is truly the easier, softer way, and I’ll explain why.
Shame Makes Healing Unnecessary
If you can convince yourself that you’re an unlovable piece of shit or that you’re fatally flawed in some way, this whole healing journey becomes totally uncalled for. You can’t polish a turd, so why try?
No need to burden anyone with your problems. You won’t have to ask for help. Grieving the losses of your childhood… feeling the anger and sadness that arise when you acknowledge the abuse, neglect, or abandonment inflicted by your family… reading books, journaling, therapy, support groups, trauma work, stepping out of your comfort zone and questioning your core beliefs — all that stuff is absolutely unnecessary when you just blame yourself for everything.
It’s really that simple.
Reasons to Avoid Healing
Healing takes lots of time, money, and effort. It requires dedication, patience, perseverance, strength, vulnerability. We’re talking about incredibly challenging work here. So if you can avoid it, why wouldn’t you?
I believe Russel Brand wrote, “Recovery isn’t a choice — it’s what you do when you run out of choices.” Well, I’m here to tell you, you’ve always got other options.
Self-loathing is a catch-all safety net that requires no knowledge, skill, or specialized training. Any old schmuck can hate themselves. It’s remarkably easy to do.
Why can’t I keep a relationship? – Because I’m a terrible person.
Why can’t I achieve my goals? – Because I’m an undeserving scumbag.
Self-deprecation never fails. It’s the “You can’t fire me, I quit!” of life. There’s a perverse comfort in knowing you can’t fall when you spend your whole life laying on the ground. It precludes the need for risk, emotional exposure, courage, integrity, or damn near anything. It’s kind of a trump card in any situation.
It reminds me of a sweet Herbert Spencer quote: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
And what is shame but contempt for oneself?
Healing Ain’t for Everyone
In all seriousness, some of y’all gotta die in a pool of regrets — lonely and ashamed. We can’t all have happy endings, you know.
My father was an amazing human being, and I loved him dearly, but he drank himself to death in front of God and everyone. Nobody could stop him. I believe he was deeply ashamed of what he had become, and he opted for the easy out. I’m not mad. I’m glad he found peace. But I have no illusions about the power and utility of shame as an alternative to the arduous journey of becoming whole.
Psychotherapist Virginia Satir once observed that “People prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty.” We can easily adapt to pain and suffering, but the human psyche does not fare well with the unknown. And stripping off the protective armor of your maladaptive survival mechanisms to embark on a journey inward is one of the unknowniest things you could ever do.
So I get it. Many people just don’t have the energy, support, or resources to oust shame from the seat of their consciousness and get busy loving themselves. Sometimes self-pity is as good as it gets.
Because you can’t have both.