Imagine dropping your children off at school, and then leaving the building just before hearing gunshots going off inside the school. That was what happened to Robert right after delivering his two young children to Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Stuck in the parking lot outside the school where the shootings were taking place, Robert had been traumatized throughout the four hours of city-wide lockdown. Feeling terrified and powerless, he’d spent that time not knowing what was happening, unsure whether his children, as well as the rest of the children and staff, had survived.
Two years later, Robert’s memories of that day were still vivid. As he began tapping with Lori Leyden, Director of The Tapping Solution Foundation, it was clear that Robert, like so many in the community, had been severely traumatized that day. He’d since withdrawn from friends and family, convinced that he was alone in his struggle to cope with daily life.
While tapping on the events and emotions he’d experienced that day at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Robert recalled a car accident that had nearly taken his life many years before, when he was still an adolescent.
After that accident, Robert had made a promise to God that he would clean up his act and be a better person. Blinded by shame, Robert had stood outside of Sandy Hook the day of the shooting wondering if he was being punished for his failure to clean up his act.
After one session of tapping on releasing the shame he’d felt since that car accident, Robert could see that he’d been given a second chance. Since that car accident, he’d locked himself inside this belief that he deserved to feel shame. After tapping on releasing these emotions and beliefs, Robert began to experience joy again.
For the first time since adolescence, he feels fully present in his everyday life, able to be more open, available and loving in his marriage, and as a father and community member.
Shame is a sneaky, often hidden emotion that keeps us stuck, unable to move toward what we desire. Brené Brown, shame researcher and best-selling author of The Gifts of Imperfection, sums it up this way:
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we’re capable of change.”
When we feel shame, we’re invested in beliefs about the kind of person we are. For Robert, that meant believing he was bad and undeserving of love, family, and happiness. With shame clouding his vision, the bad things in his life felt like punishment for the kind of person he had been. Once he’d used tapping to release that shame, however, he could see that shame was an emotion he was feeling, not a summary of who he is or what he deserves to experience in his life.
Are you holding onto shame about something in your past? Do you believe you can’t change? If so, take the time to tap on releasing any shame you’re feeling, as well as any limiting beliefs about the kind of person you are, or the kind of life you deserve to live.