How I Healed Through Shame

How I Healed Through Shame

When I was 14, I started smoking cigarettes. And I'm talking almost a pack a day for years. I didn't quit until I was 21. When I was 14, I also started drinking alcohol. When I was 15, my friends were all in their 20s, so I did what they did. I drank, smoked, did drugs, and did a lot of things I came to regret.

It's crazy to me how that feels like a different person. I can't even fathom doing those things now. In fact, I went by 'Krista' for 18 years, so I refer to that version of me as Krista. 

I held so much shame around that version of me until last year (which I'll explain in just a second.) Every time I heard the name 'Krista' I would cringe. I didn't like looking back on who I was or the things I did. There were parts of me I just shut away and pretended didn't exist.

The thing is, I didn't realize what that was actually doing to me and my confidence.

I was working with my coach a few months ago and had an absolutely transformational session. She was guiding me through a visualization, and I ended up in a long, dark tunnel. I could see a bit of light at the end, illuminating what looked like a person cowering in a corner.

As I walked up to this person, I realized it was 15 year old me. She was wearing what I used to wear -- ripped jeans and a huge men's sweatshirt with the hood up.

I asked her what she was doing here in this dark, cold tunnel and she said, "You put me here."

I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped when she said that. I realized that I had, in fact, put her there. I so badly wanted to forget that part of me that I pushed her away in my subconscious. I pretended she wasn't a part of me. I wanted to forget her.

I was floored. I knelt down and apologized. It was a deep, raw apology. I never want to make anyone feel like they should be left alone in a corner, and that's exactly what I did to myself. I told her I could now see what I had done, and that I didn't mean it. I told her I loved her so much, and forgave her for everything she thought she did wrong. She was young. She was learning. That's allowed. I was so, so sorry.

What happened next is forever burned into my brain.

She was so happy to be seen and accepted exactly as she was. She stood up, took the sweatshirt off, and enormous, stunning wings opened up on her back. She looked like an angel. I was in complete awe.

I asked her to join me out of the dark tunnel. I told her she is welcome to stay with me now, and that I would never shut her out again. I felt so loved. I felt like I had someone in my corner. I felt seen, and was able to forgive myself for doing this to her.

I no longer cringe when someone calls me Krista. In fact, I love her so much. She is welcome. She is allowed to make mistakes. She is perfect as she is.

My shame around that time period was completely released, and the beautiful thing about that?

It wasn't someone else who made me feel better.

It was me.

If you are holding shame around something, the hurting part of you only wants to be seen and loved.

And you hold the power to do that.

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