Shameless: See Yourself Without Distortion by Anaelle Auguste

Shame

Shameless: See Yourself Without Distortion

Can you think of the most embarrassing moment of your life?

Even if you don’t express it, even if no one around you knows about it, you can still experience shame by reliving the experience.

What is Shame?

Though guilt and shame both pertain to wrongdoing, there’s quite a difference in the way we experience each of them. They have different outcomes. Oxford defines guilt as “the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.” In contrast, shame is defined as “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”

Basically, guilt says you did something wrong.

It is a conflict between your conscience and value. When you feel guilty, you acknowledge the fact that your behavior was inappropriate. With guilt, you experience remorse; you regret what you said or did. That regret will propel you to act differently in the future, to repent, and you will attempt to make amends, repair the damage, and move on.

Now, look at the bold words in the definition of shame.

Shame doesn’t say you did something wrong, but “You did this, so you’re a terrible person.” Then the pain, humiliation, and distress follow. When someone feels humiliated, they think little of themselves; they perceive themselves as less than who they truly are. They see themselves through the lens of this one occurrence, whether they were the offender or the victim.

Often, shame makes you focus more on other people’s perception of you. You feel that your reputation is damaged, whereas guilt is more between you and your conscience whether others know about it or not. Even if others don’t know about your action, you worry about the way they would see or treat you if they knew when you experience shame. Because shame focuses more on others’ perceptions, moving forward can be challenging. After all, no matter what you do to make amends, others may still see you as that “terrible person,” at least that is the thought process.

The Origin and Consequences of Shame

I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression “I wanted to crawl under a rock” when someone recounts an embarrassing situation. That’s precisely what shame does; it encourages us to hide. Before I get into that, let’s go back to the origin of shame. Genesis 2:25 tells us that the man and his wife were both naked in the garden and felt no shame. They only experience shame after eating the forbidden fruit.

Their following actions were to cover themselves and hide from God.

See what the man said in Genesis 3:10, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” So, sin introduced shame and shame, fear. Adam was hiding from the one who gave him his breath, his source of life.

When we are driven by shame, we cover up and hide from ourselves; we live in our own shadow. We look in the mirror and can’t even recognize ourselves with all the cover-ups. Shame will tell you, “You are a terrible parent, friend, daughter, etc.” When you agree with shame, you will then see yourself unworthy of receiving love and undeserving of the relationships in your life.

People can experience such intense shame that they feel that they are damaged beyond repair. Many parents, especially fathers, leave their family due to shame. They think they are not good enough; they are worthless and not deserving of their family. Or they believe the family will be better off without them. Shame is so intense that it takes many to the grave way before their time. Many committed suicide because they struggle with shame. They thought, “The world will be better off without me.”

For a lot of others, shame is more subtle but just as destructive.

I’ve met people who will not go to the grocery store without a full-face glam, buy designer clothes and bags they can’t afford, won’t take a picture unless they know they’ll have time to edit their face and their shape. I had a friend who told me how she couldn’t wait to get her degree to work two jobs so she can afford every plastic surgery that there is.

There’s a difference between people who like makeup, who find it fun, and those who use it to hide. Others jump from relationship to relationship, trying to hide in their partners. The expensive clothes, makeup, relationships are fig leaves. They can cover the physical nakedness, but what about the nakedness of the soul?

Many remain in unhealthy/abusive relationships because shame tells them that’s what they deserve. “That must be punishment,” they say. If you made a mistake in your previous relationship, if you repented, God has forgiven you. Yes, our actions have consequences, but God does not keep us in the shackles of our past and keep reminding us of our missteps. That’s the enemy’s job to accuse us.

What Does God Say?

Instead, God extends an invitation to settle the matter once and for all, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Yes, God’s grace is for you too. Yes, you! You deserve His best for you through the redemption of Christ because you become his child, and He said if us, wicked know to give good things to our children, how much more would he not give us great gifts? As a matter of fact, Apostle Paul tells us that “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32. Also, James 1:17 tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from above.

Stop Pushing Love Away!

Some look at their past and say, “There’s no way he or she could have loved me; I am a teenage mom; I used to live a promiscuous life, etc. Who am I to deserve a man like him.” That’s not humility; that’s humiliation and shame.

Let me leave you with this; Isiah 54:4 says, “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.” With shame came fear, but the Lord says not to be afraid because you will not be put to shame.

Which report will you believe?

It’s time to live shamelessly!!!

Contently Yours,

Anaelle

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How to Be Content in Singleness

lonely woman standing on rocky coast

How To Be Content In Singleness

While single, you will experience all types of pressure, internal and external: people around you will be inviting themselves to your wedding while you’re not even dating; your parents will be asking when they will see their grandchildren; all your friends will be requesting you to be their bridesmaid; you will notice all the cute couples on social media; others will remind you that your clock is ticking, etc.

Then there are the unwanted memories of past relationships haunting you. You thought you’d be in a serious relationship by now; instead, you see your ex getting married while you’re still navigating the ocean of singlehood.

First Thing First: Forgive Yourself

Whether you like it or not, you will meet some individuals who operate with an all-is-fair-in-love-and-war mentality. Others won’t always apply the golden rule when you open your heart to them. Those people will use you, abuse you, and stomp on your heart.

When that happens, some tend to blame themselves. You think you allow them to hurt you. As hard as it is to forgive others, sometimes, it’s even harder to forgive yourself. However, this is crucial to being content—forgive the assailant who stares back at you when you look in the mirror.

Stop beating yourself up!

Yes, you may have let your guard down, but their intentions weren’t pure. They deceived you. It is not your fault! If you don’t forgive yourself, you’ll be bitter and resentful. You can’t be content and bitter at the same time. In 1 John 3:20, he tells us that even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.

Accept God’s grace to forgive yourself.

Forgiving others will take a heavy load off of your shoulder; forgiving yourself will break the shackles that bound you.

After releasing blame, shame, resentment, and bitterness, you will no longer presume that everyone you meet is a liar, manipulator, and cheater. You will realize that there are still godly singles out there. You’ll then see yourself worthy and deserving of receiving God’s best for you.

Face Your Past but Don’t Dwell There

When you go through heartbreak, you may experience a state of denial. It is natural. Denial is a stage in the grief process. It’s ok if you don’t feel like talking about the tragedy for a while; you need time to process what happened. As in any stage or state, denial should be temporary; you are not meant to remain there. However, when some people face unpleasant circumstances, they tend to ignore the issue and get stuck in the denial stage. They think a covered wound is a healed wound. This is a dangerous place to stay!

Why is it necessary to face your past?

Whether you like it or not, your experiences shape you consciously and unconsciously. To avoid reliving unwanted occurrences, people file them in the back of their minds. When those files remain there, they are never fully processed. Though unprocessed, they are still in your subconscious mind, influencing you. As a result, you can repeat the same cycles or patterns and either find yourself in the same destructive situations, or you’ll pass your hurt onto others.

When pain isn’t dealt with appropriately and healthily, it may be expressed into other psychological and psychosocial issues such as depression, anxiety, self-destructive tendencies, etc. Then you may find yourself fighting to cure the symptoms, but until you get to the root of the disease, the symptoms will keep coming back.

You’ve heard the saying “hurt people hurt people?” If you don’t face your past and be healed, you will project your hurt to others.

Assess past hurtful situations, learn from them so you can apply the wisdom you acquire to make better decisions. You may start by talking about the situation, either with someone you trust or a professional if needed. That will help you process the occurrence and get the proper perspective. Address the issue with the person who hurt you if possible and pray for the strength to forgive him/her.

Just like it’s detrimental to ignore the past, it’s unhealthy to remain there. Some people tend to blame everything on the unfortunate things that happened to them. However, after addressing the past and learn from it, move on. Seek ways to use those lessons to your advantage and to grow. If you dwell in the past, you’ll assume the role of a victim. Instead, position yourself as a survivor, an overcomer. Whether you were abused, abandoned, and rejected as a child or as an adult, whether you were betrayed or cheated on, no matter what your past looks like, you need to face it if you want to be healed.

Get Rid of the Weight

In your singleness, God will definitely get rid of certain things and people while he’s preparing you. Hebrews 12 verse 1 says to remove the weight and sin that easily entangle us. Some things and individuals are not sins, but they are weight. Ask yourself, “What is this person contributing to my life?”

I am not saying for you to base your connection solely on what others can do for you. On the contrary, this is a characteristic of a weight. The Bible says iron sharpens iron. So, it should be a mutually beneficial relationship, whether the person inspires or encourages you in their way of living, without opening their mouths or they empower you and actively contribute to your life.

This principle also applies to a romantic relationship. If he is not serious, don’t entertain him! If all she wants is a “situationship,” don’t hold on to her.

Get rid of them!

Some objects or people will only hinder what God is willing to do in your life, so he will get rid of them. That may not be the way you’d hope he’d answer your prayer, but he’s sovereign and knows best. Your singleness may just be a moment to focus on and sharpen yourself, your dreams, and the promises God has for you and exercise your unique gift.

Sometimes, God needs you in an isolated place, free of distraction.

Don’t go and add these weights back! You can still get to where God is taking you, but you’ll only make your process a lot harder, longer, and more painful.

Don’t Be Complacent

Be careful not to misconstrue resentment for contentment.

Don’t be contemptuous to those who show interest in you just because you don’t feel the same way. No matter how content you are in your singleness, you have to value people.

You need to be sure that you don’t become resentful toward those who approach you. If your goal is to get married, you shouldn’t become complacent in this season of your life. Should you be content? Absolutely! Not complacent.

Complacency leaves no room for a man to fit in the picture later. You shouldn’t have a me-myself-and-I, no-time-for-a-man mentality.

In the article, Laws of Success: Honour, the preacher and life coach Emmanuel Makandiwa states, “What you honor, you attract, what you despise, you repel. Everything that you despise will be kept far away from you. If it is knowledge, it will be kept far away from you, if you despise marriage, it will be kept far away from you.”

Yes, God will send his best your way, but it’ll require your participation, and the mindset you have while single plays a significant role.

Now, the choice is yours; will you honor what you truly desire, or will you repel it?

Contently Yours,

Anaelle

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What If Love Isn’t Enough?

carefree multiethnic couple enjoying romantic sunset in field

You try to prove your love and loyalty to your partner every chance you get. As a child you were taught that love covers all wrong, so you overlooked the red flags. You thought, “If I love him hard enough, he’ll treat me better. If I give him more of me, he’ll see my worth; if only I invest more in him, show him I’m wife material, he’ll be afraid to lose me.”

And then you realize…

Loving Him Isn’t Enough; He Only Takes You For Granted.

When you realize your love isn’t enough to make him trade his thorns for leaves or flowers, part of you wants to let go, but it is a vicious cycle though because when you do let go, part of you miss it too much, so you go back to what is familiar.

That pattern is a common among people in abusive relationships. From the outside looking in, it’s easy to ask, why did they stay? Didn’t they see the signs? Honestly, they are afraid of letting go; they are fearful of the unknown, the unfamiliarity. Even when they finally build the courage to let go, sometimes they go back to what’s familiar. Why? Because familiarity is comforting.

You believed in your significant other when he didn’t believe in himself. And gave him wings to fly, not realizing that his roots were connected to your ground. You saw the best in him; you noticed a flicker in his ashes when he lose hope in himself. And maybe, just maybe, you think you can have enough hope for the both of you.

Suddenly, your ray of sunshine disappeared. Instead, a cloud of darkness covers you. You realize with every glimmer you saw in him; he was sucking on your light. It was never sudden, but little by little, you were trading your light for his darkness.

You Don’t Have To Remain In This Cycle!

If you truly want to live, you can’t be with someone who wants to survive. You may think your love can inspire him to live again, but your love will never be enough. He has to desire to live truly, rather than merely existing.

Also, how can you give what you don’t have? How can you be surviving with him and waiting for him to love you back to start living? How can you be his resource and expect him to be your source? You can’t be pouring into him while hoping he will replenish you. Your partner can’t be a vessel and a wellspring simultaneously.

You have to wake up every day and choose to live on purpose. You have to love yourself first, if not your effort to love him will only drain you.

It is noble to be selfless, but you shouldn’t lose yourself in the process of loving someone else!

Contently Yours,

Anaelle

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Be Selfish by Anaelle Auguste

Be Selfish

Be Selfish by Anaelle Auguste

Dear Zamar,

Some of us were taught that it is selfish to put ourselves first, so we take care of everyone else but ourselves. That, we even do in the name of love. We love others, allow them to treat us below our standards. We stay, hoping if we love them hard enough, if we prove we are worth it, maybe, just maybe they will love us the way we want to be loved; they will treat us the way we want to be treated.

No more!

I am learning to love on purpose.

For me to do so, I need to love myself first, instead of loving someone else and wish they would love me back, all the while dying for their approval and acceptance.

Listen, you never have to trade who you are for love. Love is supposed to inspire you to be a better version of yourself, not force you to be a shadow of who you are meant to be. Love shouldn’t be draining you but strengthen and empower you. Otherwise, it’s not love; it’s an illusion of love.

You are a great gift to humanity. You are unique; there’s only ONE you. Don’t rob humanity of that gift trying to be loved by someone else. Don’t dim your light to get their acceptance; that’s not humility. Even if your light makes them uncomfortable, keep shining!

Note that Jesus says “Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” not the other way around.

The order is to love God, love yourself, then love others.

His love has to fill you and reach the deepest part of your soul. You have to let his love fill every nook and cranny of your heart, every empty space left by past hurt and heartaches. Once you’re filled you will overflow, then and only then can you love on purpose. If you want to pour into others, let it be from your overflow, not from your leaks. If your heart has been broken, let God mend and renew it and make it whole again. So, as he pours his love into you, your heart will be ready and available to contain it. Once you’re filled with God’s love, you’ll love yourself until this self-love becomes contagious and inspiring.

If loving yourself first is considered selfish by their standards, then by all means, be selfish.

Contently Yours,

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Thorny Love by Anaelle Auguste

Thorny Love

Thorny Love

They say love is a risk, right? How big of a risk are you willing to take?

Some people are similar to a prickly cactus.

Your safety depends on your distance from them. Cacti trade their leaves for spikes. Why would they do such a thing? You may ask. Unlike many other plants, cacti are usually found in unpleasant conditions. In those harsh circumstances, their survival becomes their main priority. They use their spines to store water, to protect them from predators, to provide shade, which is necessary due to their long exposure to heat.

Just like a cactus, some people had been exposed to so much pain, hurt, abuse, and shame, and the ghosts of their past that haunt them. No matter how much they try to outrun their past, they’re only chasing their own shadows with their backs to the light. In order to survive, they build a wall around their heart, exhibit behaviors that they rely on to survive, but what they use to defend themselves can hurt those who love them. A cactus can’t tell the difference between a predator and an admirer. It has no way of assessing your intentions. A cactus-like person doesn’t know how to receive love or respond to it. They end up hurting those who love them.

Get Your Thorns Covered

Don’t get me wrong, we all have our thorns. We all have some rough patches; but the difference between the cactus and the rose is undeniable. The rose knows it needs thorns to defend itself from predators and petals for its admirers. No wonder cacti don’t make it on anyone’s coffee table on valentine’s day.

Just like the rose, Paul had a thorn, but he had enough grace to cover them. Notice, I did not say to hide them, but cover. To hide is to keep out of sight of others. It’s not about the object, but the intention is keeping the object from others. Cover, on the other hand means to place something over, to protect. So, when grace covers our thorns, the intention is not to hide it to provide a false sense of perfection, but it’s to protect us. Some people are not open enough to let God’s grace cover them and protect them from their past shame, regret, and failures that constantly taunt them.

Whether you are a rose or a cactus, God’s grace is enough. If you’re like the cactus, you can trust God enough to get your leaves back, trade them for your spikes. Once you give them to God, your shame, hurt, and pain will not be hidden or disappeared. They will always be a part of you, except they won’t be there to haunt you or hurt those around you. You’ll get the courage to embrace them and turn them into lessons and purpose.

Contently Yours,

Anaelle

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You Deserve Better by Anaelle Auguste

man couple people woman

You Deserve Better by Anaelle Auguste

Some relationships are bittersweet. On one hand, your heart longs to be close to that special someone, while the whispers in your mind tell you to run. Your feet become numb, then you do your best to quiet the little voice that wants to protect you from the heartbreak. Part of you knows the end result, but you’re willing to take a chance on love.

You wonder, what if I’m wrong? What if this can work? You’ve heard that love is sacrifice, so you pour and pour into them until you’re running on empty. You expect them to return the favor and pour into you while your heart is on life support. You try to save them at the expense of losing you.

Don’t Kill the Whispers

Instead of trying to suffocate those whispers in your head that tell you it’s not worth it, listen to it. You deserve better. God blesses us with the gift of intuition. More often than not, we know a relationship was not going to work, but we stayed anyway. Every day, you get a little deeper, then feel like you’re too far to turn back; you’ve invested too much to walk away.

You must wake up every day and make a conscious decision to choose yourself. It’s not selfish to love yourself first, it’s absolutely necessary. If you focus your energy on saving them, then you are doing yourself a disservice. You’ll sit and watch your life pass you by, live in your own shadow, and miss out on your purpose.

Let the whispers grow into raging voices until the noise is too much to bear, until leaving them is the only choice left. Don’t overlook the red flags. When he say “you’re too good for me; I don’t deserve you.” listen to him the first time.

YOU. DESERVE. BETTER

Contently Yours,

Anaelle

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Good Isn’t Good Enough by Anaelle Auguste

Anaelle Auguste Good Isn't Good Enough

I loved you. I knew you weren’t good for me. You weren’t what I prayed for, so I prayed and fasted the feelings away, but they were tenacious. So tenacious that I caved, thinking God must have been behind this.

I considered that maybe God wanted to use me to change you. I could save you, but saving you meant losing me.

I almost lost my soul following my heart.

You were a good person, but you weren’t good for me, let alone being God’s best.

I had to build the courage to choose me.

Hugging A Cactus

This relationship was like hugging a cactus. The closer I got, the more I got hurt. The only solution was to let you go, it was a vicious cycle though because there was a time that I let go, but I missed it too much. So I went back to what was familiar.

This was similar to the cycle people in abusive relationships find themselves in. They are reluctant to let go because they are afraid of the unknown, the unfamiliar. Even when they finally get the courage to do so, sometimes they go back to what’s familiar. Why? Because familiarity is comforting.

I am not looking for comfort anymore. I’m looking for growth, and your presence hindered my growth. I’m not looking for familiarity anymore. I’m looking for purpose.

Now, I realize purpose has always been within me, but I was too fixated on saving you to look deep within me. When I left you, I found me, I got to know me, and I love me. Now, Better is calling, Purpose is calling. With you out of the picture, I see more clearly, my horizon is widened, and my vision is translucent.

Could I have done better? Absolutely! Do I regret the experience? Absolutely not!

You were the contrast I needed to recognize the one God had for me all along. You helped me realize what I DON’T want. Now, I can refine and redefine my standards. Now, I can decide to be single by choice and content until God’s best comes along.

Contently Yours,

Anaelle

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F.O.M.O by Anaelle Auguste

Anaelle Auguste

Don’t Let F.O.M.O Put You In A Relationship

Have you ever been asked the golden question, “When are you getting married?”

Do your parents ever throw a temper tantrum about not willing to die without seeing their grandchildren?

Have you ever been told you’re “incomplete” or “insignificant” because you’re single?

Have others ever suggested that you put off your aspirations until Mr. or Mrs. Right comes along?

Have you ever been to a wedding and everyone greets you with the same line, “When is your own wedding?”

Do you get annoyed? Frustrated, maybe? How do you answer?

Well, one thing I can tell you is DON’T GIVE INTO THE PRESSURE!

Some people master the art of looking-forward-to-next in other people’s lives: When are you graduating? When are you getting married? Are you pregnant yet? When are you going back to work? Why haven’t you bought a house yet?

Don’t think once you get married the questions will stop coming; they’ll pull out new ones out of their collections. This awareness gives you a better perspective, and when you don’t give into their pressure, it’ll spare you some trouble.

I recently made a post and asked “Are you single, saved, and content?” A few people said no, one of the reasons was because of the cute happy couples they were seeing.

Basically, They Felt They Were Missing Out.

One of the girls who commented connected with me. A meme she read, “Once you’re single you see a lot of happy couples, once you’re married you see a lot of happy singles.” Most of these couples may be wishing they were single. You just don’t know (more on perspective later). Many people are in unhealthy relationships because they are afraid of the alternative. They are terrified of being single and being asked “Why?”

“If the only drive to be in a relationship is to escape yourself, then you are running from your own shadow.”- Single, Saved, and Content

You may say you are not running from yourself, but if you desire a relationship out of fear of being single, then you are definitely trying to escape yourself. Now, ask yourself, why does the idea of being single scare you?

F.O.M.O

Don’t let F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing Out) push you into a relationship you know isn’t right for you. If you don’t see yourself with the person in the future or if the relationship requires you to over-compromise. A good relationship requires compromising, yes, but if you have to lower your standards and live on a lower level to be in a relationship, then that relationship isn’t right for you.

Naturally, fear is a survival mechanism. It is used to keep out of dangerous situations. So, if your drive to be in a relationship is based on fear, then your singleness threatens you. If your singleness threatens you, then you can’t be content in this season of your life.

Now, what does the Bible tell us about fear? 1 John 4:18 tells us that perfect love cast out fear. Get the love of God to fill you until you see you the way The Great I Am sees you, and know who He says you are, then you won’t be afraid to be alone. Even if you are trusting God for marriage, you will understand how crucial your singleness is. Then and only then can you fulfill the purpose God has for you in this season of your life.

May God’s love take you from fear to fulfillment!

Read at https://www.anaelleauguste.com/f-o-m-o

Contently Yours,

Anaelle

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