Shame and Humility – Humility – Part II

Welcome to my blog. Yesterday and today we welcome guest blogger Stan Stewart, who is talking about humility, the next topic in my book Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing. 

continued from yesterday’s introduction

Besides fear, for me the most immobilizing feeling is shame. At least it feels that way.

When I feel shame, my most common expression of it is to hang my head and do nothing. Well, “doing nothing” is relative. What I do is judge myself or distract myself internally — usually with numbness.

I’m sure that shame could have kept me from embarassment or worse when I was younger. Suffice it to say that as an adult, shame does me no good.

When I re-discovered humility in spiritual readings recently, I had an epiphany that being humble looked similar to shame in some ways — at least on the surface. Both are about how “OK” I think I am. The step to humility is about realizing that I don’t need to think of myself as great in order to be okay.

The major difference is that shame and blame are so often tied together. If I think I’m being blamed (or judged, questioned, etc.), I may respond by feeling shame. This means that there is an external connection that I’m making to the catalyst for the shame. Ironically, while thinking that I’m being blamed, I then blame that same source for shaming me. So shame is other directed.
Humility, on the other hand, has an internal source — and I’m thinking that “internal” can include self and divine influences. I am humble when I determine that I do not have to puff myself up in a situation or I am inspired (i.e., spirit has a hand in it) to address a situation with whatever I can bring to it, but without assuming that I am what the situation needs.

Said another way, when I come with attentive patience, I am humble.

My realization allowed me to see shame and humility as opposite sides of the same coin. When shame threatens to numb me out, I can invite humility as a spiritual practice to keep the questions internal, remove blame and accept responsibility. Time will tell how well I will be able to embrace this humble place.

May your shame be engulfed in humility in a way that comforts your inner child and welcomes the fullness of your adult to engage in the world.


Guest blogger, Stan Stewart, is a musician, teacher, and technologist. As a certified InterPlay leader and lover of improvised music, Stan teaches and seeks integration of the whole self — experiencing body/mind/spirit as a whole rather than split parts of self — in the present moment.

He says, “What is happening for all of me right now is what I have to work with. I do my best to seek the kind of awareness that will allow me to experience and use all that’s available to me in this moment; and that can inspire me creatively and in my service to the world.”

Carolyn and Stan met on Twitter and now take their connection to the blogosphere with this guest post.



  1. Thanks, Patrick. Great to “see” you here on Carolyn’s site.

    Actually, the stuff I worked through with this post and beyond has taken some of the punch out of shame for me. I still feel it, but it no longer drags me down with it the way it used to. I’m grateful for creative outlets that have enabled me to work half of this internal process.

    I’m not sure what you mean by the contrast, but I’m hoping that you’re seeing the contrast between this post from last year and the current me who is feeling the shame and doing it anyway — to borrow/butcher a phrase.

    Playful blessings,
    Stan (aka @muz4now)

  2. Stan, this is a moving post, a great example of the power of a blog to allow an author to share his feelings and connect with readers. I’ve discovered it now via your tweet, and it’s interesting to see how much I find this in contrast to the Stan I see putting himself out there on social media, through your blog and Twitter. Perhaps shame remains a driving force with you, but you overcome it with great frequency. Kudos.

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