This past Sunday, Dr. John Mlinarcick was given the honor of sharing the pulpit with Senior Paster Dr. Scott McKee to discuss “Losing the Weight of Shame”. Dr. John was featured to discuss the psychological perspective on shame and its role in our lives. The presentation was the second part of a sermon series, entitled “Losing the Weight”, presented by Pastor McKee at Ward Church. Last week’s sermon, “Losing the Weight of Worry”, was presented by Pastor McKee, which he will follow with “Losing the Weight of More” next week. Dr. John was honored to be asked to share the pulpit, and was thankful for the opportunity to help the Ward Church congregation begin their journey towards working to lose the weight of shame in their lives.
Dr. John began the presentation by discussing what shame is and how it is similar and different from guilt. While guilt is an emotion brought on by regret from a particular behavior, shame is a painful emotion about who we are as a person, which results from a comparison between our actions and our standards. Dr. John discussed that some guilt about our actions can be good in order to help us modify our actions if they are having a negative impact on ourselves or others. However, shame often leaves us paralyzed due to a rigid or unrealistic standard or expectation of ourselves and our behavior, which can limit our functionality in daily life.
Dr. John made a point of mentioning that for many of us, shame arises from our early experiences in childhood. Dr. John used the metaphor of fun house mirrors: if you grow up with an incorrect or distorted perception of yourself or the expectations the world has for you, this distorted image can become reality for you, holding you back and causing you constant shame. The trick then is to examine your expectations and perception of yourself, often linked to your self esteem, and reevaluate your picture of yourself and the standards you are holding yourself to. Dr. John likened this to trading the image in the fun house mirror with a new image from a more accurate bathroom mirror. By changing our self image and correcting these unrealistic expectations, individuals can begin to work towards losing the weight of shame.
The solution for addressing and working through shame, says Dr. John, is to bring our shame to light. Dr. John advises that we talk with a pastor, counselor, family member, or trusted friend, in order to begin working to resolve our shame. Dr. John calls these people “accountability partners”: while they cannot make change for you, they can help you make the necessary changes so that you can begin to lose the weight of whatever is holding you back, be it shame, guilt, or something else. By bringing it to light and working through these issues with someone who cares about you, you can work to resolve the problems that are holding you back in your life. Pastor McKee concluded the sermon by discussing the role of the church in helping individuals to lose the weight of shame in their lives.
If you are interested in hearing Pastor McKee and Dr. John discuss “Losing the Weight of Shame”, check out this video of the January 18th sermon at Ward Church. Check out this list of Pastor McKee’s sermon series on “Losing the Weight” to see his first sermon on “Losing the Weight of Worry” and future sermons as they are posted.
If you are working to make changes in the New Year but need some help or an accountability partner, join PCS-Counseling for our Interactive Life Coaching Group Sessions held in partnership with Ward Church. These sessions are held at Ward Church, and are secular counseling groups geared towards helping individuals to partner with each other, under the guidance of licensed counselors, in learning skills and making changes in their lives for the better. Join us for Breaking Bad Habits on Tuesday nights, Moving on From Anxiety Wednesday nights, and Communication in Relationships on Thursday nights. These groups are held in the Ward Church Green Room (Rm G724) from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
For our part, PCS-Counseling is here to serve as accountability partners in your journey towards losing the weight of shame. If you are working to make positive changes in your life but need some help, call PCS-Counseling (734-542-6969) for a free initial session to discuss starting down the path to reaching you goals. We are always here to help.