Today’s post is by Kimberly Borin
Every once in a while, we find ourselves making a Shame Sandwich. You know the kind. Usually it starts out with a layer of “bad.” Something we feel badly about like being late, or forgetting a birthday, or leaving that cup of coffee in the microwave for three days. Then, the next thing you know, we add a layer of shame, guilt, worry, and sometimes fear. Of course, we load up on the mayonnaise and maybe even add some old, familiar stale story bread. Then, we get to serve ourselves, a good old Shame Sandwich.
I have used this analogy with my students. It helps to see how we pile up feelings like layers of meat on an Italian hoagie. First the anger, then the shame. First the sadness, then the shame. First the fear, then the shame, and on it goes. I always encourage them by saying, “No sense making a Shame Sandwich.” I want them to know that all of their feelings are normal and natural and part of our humanity. I want to free them from a whole pile of feelings that make them feel terrible! I want to help them accept their feelings, no matter what they are and to be kind to themselves in the process. I often want to free myself from some of these feelings, too!
As I was thinking about this, and I wondered what kind of recipe I could create for a different sandwich, maybe a Self-Love Sandwich or even a No-Shame Sandwich. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be offered a sandwich filled with hope, forgiveness, kindness and love just when you need it? I imagine that this is just the kind of recipe that God would love and want us to have. So, here it is…
Recipe for a Compassion Sandwich
Trust in God’s Grace
- Start with some fresh bread; any kind will do. Be sure to choose something healthy, interesting and worthy of you.
- Spread forgiveness and healing on the insides of both pieces of bread. Be generous; you can never have enough!
- Layer your sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, and love. Don’t be afraid to put on extra love just in case. Then, place compassion, empathy towards yourself, and kindness on top of the love. You may want to add some laughter as this kind of nourishment is miraculous and you can’t have too much!
- Gently place both halves of the sandwich together and serve on a beautiful plate. You may even want to light a candle to celebrate your beautiful self and your sandwich, too.
- Enjoy with grace, love and trust that you will receive all of the acceptance and healing you need. God would have it no other way.
- Believe in your most amazing self and give yourself permission to feel and express your feelings. You are perfect just as you are.
Repeat directions for tomorrow if needed.
Dr. Kimberly Borin is a School Counselor, Retreat Leader, and in training to be a Spiritual Director in Nurturing the Call: the Spiritual Guidance Program of the Shalem Institute. She believes that we can find peace and grace in simple ways, each moment. She has been a teacher and counselor since 1989 and holds a doctorate in Education, a master degree in Educational Leadership and one in School Counseling. She is an Ananda Yoga Teacher for adults and children and the author of the Laughter Salad series of books. You can learn more about Kimberly at: www.TheEncouragingWorks.com.