Reasoning can get you to the edge of the cliff. You can read these words, understand them, understand the mechanism, but the letting go requires a giving up of control. Just for a moment, when you recognize that your protective impulses are telling you that the shame you are experiencing is something you absolutely should not feel, that experiencing this knot of shame would be dangerous, in that moment (even as a momentary experiment) stop protecting. Let the experience of shame have you. Become vulnerable to it. You no longer have to maintain the facade of perfection. Just let the imperfection live in you, as you. Let go.
Finally you can see that you actually have the capacity to compassionately welcome the bad, dark, unacceptable, flawed beliefs you hold that you have judged to be so criminal. You can vulnerably, tenderly, lovingly hold the part of you that you have concluded is unworthy of acceptance and belonging. This part has been waiting for the love and acceptance it, as you, has not before received.
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In developing the capacity to first recognize and admit (even silently to yourself) that you possess the propensity to commit acts that cause harm, it is then possible to begin the process of forgiveness by working with the companion of wrongdoing, shame. The balm you long for from shame does not come from the outside, but arises from your own naked acceptance of your imperfection.
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Paldrom Catharine Collins is a former Tibetan Buddhist nun and co-author of "A Couple’s Guide to Sexual Addiction: A Step-by-Step Plan to Rebuild Trust & Restore Intimacy." Working with her husband and sex addiction expert George Collins at Compulsion Solutions, Paldrom counsels individuals and couples across the country.
For the past seven years, through her depth of awareness, sensitivity, and her kind and compassionate qualities, she has been integral in helping individuals, couples, and groups find more love, deeper peace and meaning in their lives and closest relationships.