Healthy Shame and the Great Stew

Healthy shame is the feeling that brings us into relationship with our own limitations and neediness because it makes us conscious of our incompleteness. Even in our confidence and ability, shame helps us see that we need others, not as a deficit, as much as a quality of how we are created. We are created for relationship. Our healthy shame, our inborn dependency or neediness, is the feeling that moves us to need and receive the life that others and God offer.

It lets us live in humility (unless we are in denial), as it defines all of as being in need. And that similarity allows us to be more together than we would ever be separate from one another.

It points out our gifts and shortcomings, and creates a great opportunity. The opportunity can open the door to a fuller experience of ourselves—for who we uniquely are and how we are uniquely created. It creates the great fulfilling stew of community if we come to view our need and gifts as something to be shared. Here is how it works:

If I have a large cooking pot, and someone else has wood, another person has peas, and even another has potatoes, and someone brings carrots, a person brings water, and someone has a match to start a fire, then we can have a great stew, a great meal—even a banquet. This great meal comes from healthy shame, the ability to share ones gifts while also knowing our own neediness.

We are more together than we are apart. We live in a world of our own neediness, and we live in a world of our own gifts. Healthy shame allows us to see ourselves in another because we are the same. It allows us to offer what we have. It can allow us to discover in each other what we would have never known or what we would have never received were it not for the “limitation-beauty” of how God has created us for relationship.