This week Vanessa and Danny talk about Mary Magdalene and the lessons she has to teach us about shame. Are you carrying shame associated with judgments that others have cast on you? Does that shame keep you from experiencing love on a deeper level?
This week was the celebration of the Feast of Mary Magdalene. Growing up a Christian, I understood Magdalene to be a sinner who benefitted from Christs forgiveness. Someone to have compassion for. Someone to almost look down on… “oh she is a sinner, but Christ forgave her, so she is ok now.”
As I have studied her story and her teachings I understand so much more. Magdalene was the first to witness Christ’s resurrection. I believe this has more metaphorical significance than just that she was in the right place at the right time.
Magdalene’s message to us is that we are all worthy of God’s love. No matter what our “sins” are.
Magdalene went on to become one of the most powerful disciples teaching the message of The Christ, she founded powerful spiritual communities, yet she is a forgotten or worse ignored messenger of Love.
She has been rejected by the church. Her role minimized to a prostitute forgiven of her sins.
I feel a connection to Magdalene because of the my rejection by the church, My ex-wife and her family and even my own mother to some degree. I also was kept hidden for years by my ex wife because I wasn’t deemed worthy of being with her. My in laws judged me as “less than” and told me their daughter was “marrying down.” Even my own mother used to tell me that I didn’t deserve my ex wife. This during my late teens and early 20s, during formative years, I believed and internalized those judgements. The result was shame and a feeling of unworthiness. That shame eventually metastasized into anger. I want to note that I have forgiven my Mother, ex wife and her parents. I understand now that their judgements were a response to their own insecurities and fears. I don’t blame them anymore.
I carried that shame and anger into my relationship with Vanessa. I had some very bad habits and behaviors that I needed to heal and change, but every time Vanessa brought one up I felt like I was being attacked… I felt all of the shame of my teen years… I felt unworthy… even over little things… like being asked to wash some dishes… and it made me lash out in anger. Which then caused more relationship problems and blocked love and communication.
Shame makes us want to suppress or ignore the judged or “ugly” parts of ourselves. I didn’t want to face that feeling of unworthiness so I chose to try and ignore it, then when Vanessa would try to discuss something I did that hurt her I would get angry and attack. The criticism made me feel shame, which cause the defense mechanism of anger to activate and I would then attack Vanessa, she would then have to retreat from me, which was another rejection which made me feel more unworthy and then more angry. It was a vicious cycle.
By allowing shame to turn into anger, and adopt that as a defense… that wound of rejection from my teen years could not be healed, and the anger would beget more anger and shame and rejection.
If Magdalene had allowed the shame of the rejection of the church, or if she had dwelled in the shame of others judging her for being a prostitute (or if she had judged herself…. And allowed that shame to metastasize into anger, she would have never have been able to internalize Christs message of loving others as you love yourself…
She would not have been able to heal those wounds of shame and go on to fulfill her destiny as one of Christs greatest apostles.
You have to let go of that shame, recognize that you are worthy and love yourself.
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