Post by: Elliott Holm
That is what I want to address as well. As a teacher, I make constant mistakes throughout my day. I’ll say something wrong during my lessons, fumble over words, and even the worst, calling a student the wrong name. All of these things come back to me when I drive home from work, and have time to be alone with my thoughts. I’ll run through my whole day, and focus on all the wrong things I did, or people I wronged, and focus on shaming myself. However, this ritual is largely problematic, and can even be the reason why we frequently lose sleep at night.
I’ve been reading a book with my students that focuses on ways to become an effective adult. This particular author created a term for when we do this to ourselves, called The Shame Boomerang. It goes a little like this: Step 1: There is an inciting incident, Step 2: Getting bad feelings from the incident, Step 3: Forgetting or getting distracted temporarily, Step 4: Shame returns later, usually during alone time or when you put your head down to go to sleep, Step 5: Continued bad feelings. After I read this in the book, I realized this author had my number. These were the exact steps I went through in my life, and the same things that I blamed myself for as well. She says that the most important thing we need to do is create a mantra for ourselves; something that we can always say to ourselves, not to dismiss the problem and avoid it, but to remind ourselves that we’re human and that we make mistakes. The one I landed on that works for me is “It’s done, and if I’m faced with this situation again, I won’t make the same mistake.” Now, when I make one of the aforementioned “shameful” mistakes, I tell myself, “Well, that’s unfortunate, but what have I learned from this, so I can make sure I don’t do this again?” This mantra turned my shame into a learning experience, which is the most important step in dealing with shame.
Lastly, Ken’s sermon helped me tie this in to Jesus’ love for us. Every time we wrong other people, but have the best intentions in our hearts, Jesus will always forgive us; it’s one of the most incredible gifts we’ve been given. Remember all the incredibly heavy sins and shameful moments Jesus encountered in others, and please continue to remember that he forgave all of those people. You going through your daily life and trying your hardest is nothing to ever feel shame about. Take a breath, remind yourself that you’re human, and if you need, create a mantra for yourself to focus on turning your shameful situations into learning. The Lord will be there with you for every step of the way.
Elliott has been attending BUMC since 2012 with his wife, Kyla. Since attending, he has worked with technology for services, as well as camera work on Easter and Christmas, while Kyla sings. He is a high school Gifted and Talented teacher at Wheat Ridge High School, and is in his 6th year of teaching. He lives in Arvada with his wife and two dogs.