Let’s talk about our old friend, Shame.
Most of us old souls are very service-to-others oriented and I find that most people who are heavily oriented this way are often wracked with guilt and shame.
This is because we are painfully aware of just how far we all are from the compassionate ideal we
hold in our minds, and so feel terribly guilty and shameful that we have not yet been able to alleviate all of that suffering.
If a friend or family member is sad or angry or anything other than full-on blissed out happy, we take it as a personal point of failure.
I grew up in a family that deeply idealized compassion. Some of them held this belief because they were dead set on not continuing the pain that had been given to them earlier on, and some held the ideal of perfect compassion because of a deep sense of responsibility they had been taught / guilted into.
The combination of both of these camps became the conscious and unconscious framework my sister and I grew up in. The overall mantra of our family’s mission was:
“Never Hurt Anyone Ever.”
A good mantra, to be sure, far better than other families mantras of “don’t trust anyone” or “it’s a dog eat dog world” or the like, and so for that I am truly thankful. (Although as an Astrologer, I also know that we choose our parents and lineage, so I guess I should say thank you Higher Self).
But, as many of you who were raised with similar mantras know, the goal of “Never hurt anyone ever” can be a form of crushing defeatism as well, as it is, in the end, impossible to fully accomplish.
Everyone has their own beliefs, formed by their own experiences, and because of this, unless you know the other person, that one, unique person, deeply, on a personal level, you will inevitably end up doing them more harm than good.
This realization leads service-to-other types down 3 typical paths - the Martyr, the Rebel, and the Seeker.
The 1st Path often undertaken by an “I must never hurt anyone ever” person after they have realized they can’t help but hurt people sometimes, is that of buckling down and trying to be even more perfect in their efforts to be kind.
They try and try and try, but continue to keep matching up with people who do not appreciate their efforts. The deep sense of failure and worthlessness this inspires leads them down a deeper and deeper hole of guilt and shame, which makes them try even harder. This is the path of the Martyr.
The 2nd Path of an “I must never hurt anyone ever” person often comes after years of not having their kindness recognized or appreciated, until finally they crack. They then find the freedom (or so it appears) of selfishness and see all others who still follow the ‘nice’ path as naive sheep. This is the path of the jaded Rebel.
The 3rd path of an “I must never hurt anyone ever” person comes with the realization that compassion and kindness are relative, and deeply personal expressions, and so becomes obsessed with wanting to understand what creates such contrasting beliefs in people.
They discover psychology or astrology and pour over the gold mine of Archetypes and what each Archetype desires at its core. They try these new findings out and find they hurt less people because of this new knowledge, still some, but less.
They then start to mix the Archetypes into even deeper meanings, creating even more range of understanding, and find they hurt even less.
And with each new level of understanding, a deeper level of compassion grows, not just for others, but also for themselves, and along with it, a lessening of the ever present shadow of guilt and shame - the forever balancers of any ideal of perfection. This is the path of the Seeker.
In my life I have at various times walked all three of these paths, oscillating between them sometimes in epic, years-long cycles, and sometimes over the much shorter cycle of a single day.
The goal to hold ‘perfectly’ to one or another of these paths brings with it the same counterbalance powers of guilt and shame as did the first idealized goal of “Hurt no one ever.”
All perfection goals are counterbalanced by these shadowy powers.
True ‘accomplishment’ of any idealized goal only comes through the full realization that the goal is, in fact, impossible to accomplish (if the goal is pure and true enough), and yet, should be humbly attempted regardless.
This is where we reach closest to that long sought after grail of ‘perfection,’ and at the same time most free ourselves from the shackles of guilt and shame.
You can never do it perfectly, and yet at the same time, you can also never do it wrong.
Your efforts are always worthwhile, if only for the reason that they aid in your growth.
Your inability to compassionately help everyone, at all times, perfectly, gives rise to the opportunity for you to see yourself with more compassion even, and especially, when you are your most imperfect.
Because, as the one third of this Wisdom total that the Rebel holds, you are just as equally deserving of compassion as is anyone else.
And if you add to that the one third of the Wisdom that the Seeker holds, you no longer shame yourself when you more fully understand yourself.
And the final one third of the Martyr’s Wisdom rounds it all out with the fact that there is no pull to shame others once you understand them too.
So where are you on your Martyr, Rebel, Seeker journey?
Have you merged them or is there one still that is outside your compassionate scope?
There are no right or wrong answers to those questions, simply noticings.
My compassion path has led me to be broken wide open with the Martyr, purged and cleansed in the fires of the jaded Rebel, and more often than not now healed and deepened with the understandings gained by my Seeker.
My new mantra is no longer “Never hurt anyone ever,” but now has become “Let Every Soul Be Seen.” And my goal is to do exactly that.
While there are endless ways this noble goal can be aimed for, the one that has propelled me the furthest in that direction has been studying the powerful, collective Archetypes as seen through the profound lens of Astrology.
Astrology is a magnificent tool to aid you on your enlightenment path as it deepens not only your understanding and compassion for others, but your understanding and compassion for yourself and the Divine as well, all simultaneously. (As the deeper you go, you realize all three are really one in the same).
Astrology has been my guide through my own Seeker path, and my Soul gets downright giddy whenever I get to help others discover it’s profound Mysteries so they can then travel further down the Divine / Other / Self compassion path too.
There will always be Shame and Guilt, and we will never, in our 3D forms, reach Perfection. But once you understand those things to be catalysts on your journey, instead of painful obstacles (once you have a “Why” to bear any “How” as Nietzsche so succinctly stated), this life becomes a place of Divine Wonder not in spite of its obstacle, but because of them.
You are a beautiful being who has every right to not only be seen by others, but even more importantly, seen by yourself.
If you are wanting to find your “Why” to bear you though any “How,” I offer Introduction to Astrology courses that guide you into understanding why you are the way you are, and why others do the things they do.
Through this understanding comes compassion, and through compassion comes the knowledge that even when it’s all wrong, at the same time, it's impossible for any of us to do this wrong.
And that is where the true accomplishment of that impossible Ideal of “Never hurt anyone ever” reaches it peak, and at the same time, the old friends of Shame and Guilt are finally put to rest.
Hi, I'm Veronica - Astrologer, Artist, Teacher, Storyteller, and Soft-Hearted Seeker of Non-Dualistic Truth.