Healing Guilt, Shame and Insecurity 

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Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer
by Blake D. Bauer

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. “

Jiddu Krishnamurti 

Do you constantly make yourself wrong for feeling the way you feel or for desiring the things you desire in life? Do you find yourself feeling guilty after you express your emotions or after doing something just for yourself that’s not about pleasing someone else? Do you constantly fear hurting others when making a choice that’s best for you, but then find that you stop yourself and hurt yourself instead? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re just like me and most people on the planet who suffer with deep guilt whereby we not only feel that we are a problem – that our mere existence is a burden – but also that we are somehow wrong, bad or sinful for wanting to be happy, well and truly loved. 

Is the fact that we’re surviving really enough? Should we just accept that it’s ‘normal’ to live in fear, with deep insecurity, shame and anxiety? Is asking to thrive, to achieve your dreams, to feel completely satisfied in your intimate relationship, or to realize your full potential personally and professionally, really too much to ask? My personal view is that you and I did not come here just to survive or to settle for crumbs of happiness, peace, health or love. Rather, we’re all destined to learn how to value ourselves enough not to settle for less than a whole loaf in each area. It is not wrong to want to enjoy our life, our relationships and our body. It is not wrong to desire fulfilling work that has meaning, but which also pays the bills, puts food on the table and eventually provides the financial freedom for us never to feel trapped somewhere we don’t want to be. 

I have found that there is a golden thread to much of our suffering, which once understood helps us to heal the origin of insecurity, fear, guilt and shame. The root cause of these emotions that so many of us battle with daily goes back to our conception, our time in our mother’s womb and our early childhood. Please think back to what life might have been like for your mother and father when they made love, or had sex, and thus created you. Do you think your parents were deeply self-aware, emotionally or financially stable, happy in themselves, masterful at loving themselves, or truly satisfied in their intimate relationship? It has become very obvious to me, having worked with thousands of people in all phases of life, that most people are stressed, spread thin, confused, scared, or do not know who they are, to varying degrees of course, when they bring a life into the world. 

While some individuals are attuned to their internal conflicts, others excel in suppressing their emotions, maintaining an outward appearance of normalcy despite substantial inner discord. This consideration becomes pertinent when acknowledging that, during gestation, we are not only recipients of the nutritional intake of our mothers but also the inheritors of their mental and emotional states. A mother’s feelings of security or anxiety, clarity or confusion, can imprint on us, shaping our disposition from birth. Similarly, the emotional and psychological state of our biological father during conception, our birth, and formative years exerts influence on our inner world—his fears or his confidence, his presence or absence, are all felt by us.

The prevalence of feelings among parents that raising children is a source of stress, sacrifice, or burden reveals a broader human tendency toward self-centeredness. This silent acknowledgment is something we intuitively perceive as we grow, interwoven with other unvoiced truths that may later manifest as suffering. It is not to cast aspersions on our parents or on our own feelings as parents but to bring into focus a contributing factor to our life’s challenges—a factor that must be understood and addressed for genuine well-being.

Reflecting on your childhood and the dynamics with your parents can reveal a longstanding sentiment of being a burden. Many may recall their needs and dreams being dismissed or reprimanded, not out of malice but as part of a complex relational dynamic. Even in a loving environment, there may have been a learned behavior to conform to parental expectations at the expense of one’s own feelings, leading to an internalized sense of insecurity, guilt, or shame.

Understanding the roots of a deep-seated sense of insecurity and unworthiness can be transformative, especially for those who felt like an inconvenience or were overtly neglected. This subconscious belief that our very existence is a guilt-ridden burden is intricately linked to our capacity for desire and aspiration. It is in this formative context that we learn to conceal our authentic selves for fear of abandonment or censure. This formative conditioning often sets the stage for the types of relationships we seek as adults, driving us toward familiar patterns, even when they may be detrimental.

Recognizing this pattern is crucial for breaking the cycle of seeking validation in potentially harmful ways. It allows us to question the learned behaviors and emotional dependencies formed early in life, paving the way for healthier relationships and self-perception in adulthood.

If you are starving for love, and you’re only getting crumbs, naturally you’re going to become very scared of losing the small amount of nourishment coming your way. Further, until you know better, you will do whatever it takes to keep those crumbs. Because we depend on our parents or our caregivers as vulnerable children – regardless of how healthy or unhealthy they were – we learn to avoid saying or doing things that might cause them to withdraw the typically small amounts of love and support we’re receiving. Then there are some of us who simply didn’t want to be verbally, physically or sexually abused, so we shut down to keep the little peace we might have found. Although we cannot articulate it, this is also where we learned to feel we don’t matter or have any value – especially when our adult caregivers were insensitive, stressed, aggressive or completely absent. First, we don’t learn how to understand or express our feelings, and then, second, we learn to deny these inner truths simply to get by, which becomes a very self-destructive habit that now defines the life of many of us as adults. We are unintentionally made wrong by our parents, caregivers or teachers early on, and then we learn to make ourselves wrong for feeling what we feel, for needing what we need, for wanting what we want, or for dreaming what we imagine. 

Since our parents had us for selfish reasons, the logical and objective truth is that most of them had no idea what raising children would require, nor were they ready for the responsibility. Having a family, putting food on the table, maintaining a healthy partnership, and finding some peace and happiness is not easy for anyone. It is stressful. But even so, practically speaking, it’s important to understand that this is directly related to how, where and why so many of us developed an unhealthy relationship to ourselves in which we make ourselves wrong in exchange for the unhealthy and conditional love, approval, acceptance or support of others. It is a self-destructive pattern that our parents learned from their parents and it is tied up with all the insecurity, guilt, shame and fear that has been passed down genetically, emotionally and habitually for generations. 

In my professional experience, and also as a man who has personally struggled to heal my own deep insecurities, I’ve found that understanding this dynamic is the one thread to uprooting the source of insecurity, guilt, shame and also physical disease. As children we didn’t know how to give ourselves permission to be true to ourselves in every situation, but now we can master this. As adults it’s very common to fear being rejected and abandoned because we subconsciously feared being rejected as children. From the very beginning of life we learned to choose between our own happiness and pleasing others. It seemed we could not have both. We all learned to fear hurting others, so we hurt ourselves instead. We learned to fear saying no to others, so now we neglect ourselves. Understanding this deep block that keeps so many of us stuck, miserable or sick is key to overcoming it because once we’re truly aware of this dynamic we can never forget it completely. This reality is not anyone’s fault, but rather something we need to be mindful of now if we want to break the self-destructive cycle and stop settling for crumbs of love, health, happiness and respect. 

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About Blake D. Bauer

Blake D. Bauer is the author of the international bestselling book You Were Not Born To Suffer. He has helped thousands of people around the world who could not find lasting solutions from conventional medicine, psychiatry, or religion. Blake has an extensive background in psychology, alternative medicine, nutrition, traditional healing, mindfulness meditation, and qi gong. Based on both his personal experience overcoming deep suffering, addiction, and adversity, as well as his professional work with over 100,000 people worldwide, his teachings integrate what he’s found to be the most effective approaches to optimal mental, emotional and physical health.

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