The Yin and Yang concept of Chinese philosophy will throw a lot of light on our understanding of the complex psychological subject of deep shame. I have realized that the `Yin’ and `Yang’ philosophy can play an important role in managing our problem of toxic shame. The author, Bob Flaws, in his book `Chinese Medicine Cures- Insomnia’, believes that “Yin and Yang are the cornerstones for understanding, diagnosing and treating the body and mind in Chinese medicine…. Originally, yin referred to the shady side of a hill and yang to the sunny side of the hill. Since sunshine and shade are two interdependent sides of a single reality, these two aspects of the hill are seen as parts of a single whole.”
Why not look at our deep shame in terms of yin and yang?
From a creativity perspective, yin refers to the shady and dark shadows of our emotional and mental world. This is a subterranean region of our psyches that has not seen the light for a long time and many of our secrets and unrevealed sins have been buried in this dark dungeon. The more secrets we have buried in our minds, the more shame will spill over into our daily life. In other words, shame like yin, is to be found in the dark regions of our souls where no light is allowed to shine there. By sharing and revealing our secrets to our close friends or support groups, we will allow more yang or light to come into our souls thereby dispelling the darkness of shame. That is why in the Catholic Church, many psychologists believe that the confession of sins is a healthy therapeutic religious practice that is healing the sickness of the souls. Similarly, in AA meetings, alcoholic addicts are strongly encouraged to share their secrets and shame with their support groups.
The very practice of sharing and revealing secrets and shameful mistakes are actually allowing more Yang into our souls to restore a healthy balance to the predominance of Yin in our emotional world. Of course it is important to choose the discreet venue for ventilating your `yin’ elements so that your confessions will not add fuel to the gossips.
Join a support group like the AA if you want to be healed of your toxic shame.