Being a Counselor and meeting with many people, I became aware of the reluctance of people to share how their sexual lives were going. Many times our sexual lives are following the same patterns that we are dealing with on a day to day basis in other areas of our life. The problem is that many people carry shame and guilt about their behaviors and feel they must hold onto the secrets or the shame will feel overwhelming and they couldn’t possible handle it. I have seen people weekly for a year building trust, before they feel comfortable enough to open up about sexual compulsions. Others are in so much emotional pain, their story spills out into the room. Many times I am the first one to have ever heard that they had been sexually or physically abused as a child. Their story is sacred and I honor them with my presence and listening. It is a courageous act to face shame, it is a Hero’s Journey.
Shame is a very uncomfortable feeling; actually it’s well beyond uncomfortable. Shame makes you want to crawl out of your skin and be someone else or worse yet die to escape the feeling. The truth is that shame cannot kill you. Yes, it is uncomfortable. Many people try to escape shame by moving to another city, only to find it followed you there too. If you are able to muster some courage and face it head on and work with it, it can be transformed into something manageable, even beautiful. You must invest in yourself and tell your story to someone safe so the shame will cease to haunt you.
The process of facing your shame is akin to the Hero’s Journey penned by Joseph Campbell. The Star Wars Saga is a great example of a Hero's Journey.
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1. Innocence is the stage where you really don’t know much about yourself or anyone else for that matter. This stage is personified by Luke at home with his Aunt and Uncle living with out purpose. You have feelings, but are not aware of them. You live on autopilot and are pushed around by the storms of life. For example; your boyfriend may call you a derogatory name and ask you to get him the remote for the TV and you do it without thinking. Or, you don’t remember the route you took when drove to work this morning.
2. The Hero’s Journey begins with a Call to move towards a quest. This happens for Luke when he meets Obi-One and learns that he could become a Jedi Knight. The quest is having a life that is full, abundant and authentically you. (This might mean at first, you want to stop the emotional pain). At this stage you are contemplating whether or not you want to accept the call. Can I hang onto what I know, even though it causes me pain? Or do I need to let go of what I know and take a baby step towards something better. It is a vital question each and every person has to answer for themselves. Do you want something better for your life? Do you want a satisfying authentic life? Then take a small step and find out about how you can jump onto the adventure of a lifetime. Keep reading.