The parable of “Prisoner in the Dark Cave” is telling us that to grow out of shame is to bring our pain into the light. And we don’t’ need to climb higher in the proverbial corporate ladder but to humble ourselves and admit the pain of shame. We need to learn how to recognize our shame, not just overcome shame, but to be healed of the shame that binds us.
I do write what I know personally through experience… things I have gone through because I do believe it is impossible to lead someone to a place where you have never been before. Healthy shame is good because it’s keeping us from defecating in the middle of the street for all to see. That’s a good healthy shame. Almost the same as omelengmes. Toxic Shame is something most of us don’t even know we have deep in our brain. When we were little toddlers, we were doing so well – unafraid to climb the stairs and pick up a cockroach as if gold. We knew we were loved by our care givers. Something began to happen, and we began to feel something was wrong with us. “Don’t laugh so loud.” Boys were told not to show emotions—ngera kelmangel er ngii. A de sechal eng diak delangel.
I’ve been a long-time student of John Bradshaw for the past twenty-years. I went to his workshops, watch him on PBS TV, read his bestsellers, especially “Healing the Shame that Binds You”. And my journey out of the dark cave of shame did not happen until I met Christ, I got the knowledge, but my heart was hurting. I learned to be humble and confess my weaknesses, admit that my pride and arrogance like fig leaves covered my shame. A façade of perfection… what a joke.
We all fall short of the glory of God. Bradshaw is a genius of a man, teacher and psychiatrist… what made him real is his honesty and vulnerability. He’s so real and humble. He always said that in the matters of the heart, set of rules can’t change you, you need to learn to love yourself as God loves you and created you in his image. But first, you must admit that you lacked love growing up; OR at least not enough love.
1 John 4:18 became my measuring stick… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I found a way out by getting on my hands and knees and crawled out through the hole in the dark. Humility. I prayed, “GOD I’m so messed up with toxic shame. Help me see where I need to break agreements I unconsciously made because of religion or culture.” Toxic shame believes you’re worthless, and defective unless you are a boy, make good grades, married, own money and land and etc. The journey began with achieving, accomplishing, producing, and doing… the big rocks, digging dirt… When Jesus found me, he opened my eyes to see and understand Bradshaw’s teaching.