The Little White Lies of Shame

Sue Relihan

So many of us carry little white lies that keep us stressed. We worry that if people knew us as we really are, if they saw us without our people pleasing masks firmly in place, they wouldn’t accept us.

One of the most prevalent lies says our body isn’t acceptable unless it’s perfect: thin, unwrinkled, unblemished, and muscled.

Another lie is that our children must be well behaved at all times. Or more prominently that we must be well behaved at all times.

This lie can make us insane: Our dinners must be Food Network worthy; our house must like Martha’s. Our body, a model’s; our spirituality, equal to Rumi.

These lies keep us from accepting ourselves. Sadly, these lies that keep us from life, itself.

I’m inviting you to drop the lie. Be willing to be vulnerable. Be honest. Be real. Strip off the mask, and let people see who you really are.

Honesty and vulnerability are excellent bedfellows; each is influenced by the other. As we become more honest, revealing the whole truth about ourselves to ourself in the presence of another, we also become more vulnerable.

We’re stripping off our armor, and without good boundaries we risk exposing ourselves to hurtful arrows from others. That’s the benefit of having a coach/therapist to help ensure there are appropriate boundaries in place each step of the way.

On the other side of vulnerability awaits a precious commodity: freedom. The truth sets us free in many ways. On a practical level, honesty creates freedom because we aren’t expending time and energy constructing a false front. We no longer have to remember our story or prop up our lies with backup.

More importantly, the truth sets us free by releasing us from long carried shame. We hide the truth of ourselves because we’re ashamed by it. We’re ashamed of our secret corners; those dark habits we bury hoping their never seen by others.

It’s why we hide our addictions, our fears, and even our hopes and dreams. But putting these habits and dreams out in the open, where everyone can see them, is what releases the shame. When we own ALL of who we are — -the good, and the bad — -shame almost magically disappears.

In my best-selling book Metamorphosis — One Woman’s Journey to Find Serenity & Empowerment, I revealed a lot of my shame; my toxic relationships, my overeating, my body hatred. I have released so much shame that I no longer feel vulnerable in sharing my story.

By owning who I am, in accepting the truth about myself, I also accept a greater truth: The real me, my Self, isn’t the overeater, the body hater, the depressive. The real me, my spirit, is so much greater than that. I am not my habits. I am not my thoughts/beliefs. I am not my behavior. You aren’t either.

Being vulnerable, you see, will change your world. It will split your heart wide open; it will tear down the wall that separates you from others. Being vulnerable could mean you’ll cry more, you’ll laugh more, and you’ll experience everything in greater depth.

If this article intrigues you, please go to my website: and click on the link at the bottom of the page to schedule a free 30-minute consultation. Together we will decide if/how I can be of service to you.

Sue Relihan

Written by

Metamorphosis Mentor and Best-selling Author of Metamorphosis - One Woman's Journey to Serenity & Empowerment.

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