-As promised, this is a rough transcript of my podcast episode. I will be following along this as my script, minor changes may occur as I speak and stumble over words. If you would prefer to listen, please subscribe on Spotify! –
Hello everyone, welcome back to episode 2 of UNASHAMED! Last week was a little bit geared towards the Asian-X friends here, particularly first or 1.5 generations, but we’re back this week with a episode that is all kinds of juicy, because no matter who we are, most of us have had experience in the love department. And it’s not just Asians and Asian-X individuals who sometimes can lack a bit of confidence in this area, and I hope this is a topic that many of you can relate to.
From what I observe, it’s become a societal phenomenon to be ashamed when we fall in love. I mean, we have Megara in Hercules literally have a song dedicated to wanting to hid e her feelings! Let’s talk a little bit about that. Stereotypically speaking, women are afraid to let men know we’re interested, because we’re afraid our interest will scare them off. On the other hand, men are afraid to show they’re in love, for fear of being called “whipped”. So with this kind of tug-o-war of “who can be least interested”, it’s no mystery why there’s less and less security in relationships. I’m speaking in terms of heterosexual relationships, but this still applies to romantic relationships of all types. What’s keeping you from shooting your shot? Fear of rejection? Where does that fear come from? And why is it necessarily a bad thing to be rejected?
The root of shame is really feeling not good enough, and being afraid of judgement. Many of us have gone through heartbreak, and we’ve learned to harden ourselves to avoid being hurt again. But this is our fear speaking — this is us acting out of fear, and not love. We’ve learned through stereotypes and society and experiences that women have to play hard to get, or men will run from commitment. We’ve learned that men have to play it cool and pretend not to care in order to stay manly, otherwise his manly-manliness would come to question. Both femininity and masculinity are so fragile due to a culture that shames anything that diverges from the strict code of gender binary. And for friends who fall into a grey area – whether in ngender identity or sexual preference – there’s a lot of precedence in judgement and persecution. How can they not live in fear?
The Bible talks about what love should be like. 1 John 4:16-18 says, “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” In this passage, John is preaching to fellow Christians, who were living through times when being a Christian meant great persecution. Some were jailed, and even martyred. But John reminds them that there is no fear in God – that His love meant sacrificing Christ to save our lives. That is the ultimate show of love. No matter what happens next, there’s no fear necessary, because God isn’t punishing them – He already punished Christ instead. Our fear of being ashamed, or even already being ashamed is a consequence of imperfect love. This is a reflection of either your own lack of love for yourself, or the lack of love in others who are causing you to feel shame, But know that God never intended you to feel this way, regarding love. We were never meant to feel shame. It wasn’t something that Adam and Eve knew of until they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, and broke the perfect fellowship with God. It was in that moment that love was broken – not from God’s end – but from humans. And that broken love is still evident today.
I want to share a little story about my encounter with shame and love. As I’ve said before, I grew in a really traditional family, so some of the ways I might feel shame in regards to “falling in love” may be a little different from some of you guys. My family never talked about dating, except for when stories like “BITTER EX POURED ACID ON BEAUTIFUL COLLEGE GIRL, FACE DEFORMED FOREVER” hits the news. Then, my mother would calmly say, “This is why you shouldn’t date when you’re so young.” My mother always had a very judgmental front against high schoolers and college students who were dating, so my sister and I realized at a very young age that anything dating related had to be approached with caution. In high school, I did date. I was in the relationship for about two years before I told my family. I mentioned this in last week’s follow up blog post, but my parents didn’t like him, and because of that, I felt so ashamed to be with him. I began drawing away from him, and it eventually led me to break up with him. We did have our differences that contributed to the decision, but the biggest reason was my parents’ disapproval. I was so proud in telling my parents that I broke it off with a guy they disapproved of, but I also felt so ashamed that I had spent almost four years of my life with someone I didn’t end up marrying.
When I did meet Christ, I joined a campus ministry that didn’t allow dating. It was more so to make sure that we weren’t neglecting our duties as disciple-makers than to limit us from experiencing romance. In the two years that I served in the ministry, I began to heal. I realized that a part of why I felt so ashamed of ending the four year relationship was because I wasn’t sure that anyone else would be interested in me. I was ashamed because I knew that I didn’t love him the way he deserved to be loved – my feelings for him were so hindered by fear. I was afraid of being disowned by my parents, I was afraid of my parents’ judgement on me, and I was afraid of one day being married to someone that I didn’t love. This isn’t a mushy love story where I learned to love him through Christ and we fell in love, that would be very cheese-tastic and a great story. But that’s not what where our story leads. Slowly, I did learn to love him more, and love him through Christ. I was able to be honest with him about how I felt at the time. There were tears, sadness, grief, anger, and forgiveness. We’re good friends, now.
Shame in relationships is a window to the sin that’s residing in our hearts – our fear and our lack of faith and trust. Jesus says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). These two commandments are equal in importance – loving God means loving our neighbors and ourselves. The only way to do that is to be unashamed of love, because we are just as worth being loved as any other person, and vice versa. We were created for perfect love, not brokenness. Even if you are not a believer of Christ, I hope that this message is still dear to you: that you’re worth being loved, and you have no need to be ashamed.
Thank you so much for joining me, if you enjoyed listening please share this podcast with your family and friends. I will be posting a new episode every Friday evening, and I will have a follow-up blog post every Wednesday on the UNASHAMED website (at unashamed.space). If you’d like to read more of my content through SSEWAN, you can also visit http://www.SSEWAN.com. As I’m transitioning into self-employment, donations in support of this podcast and my blog are greatly appreciated, but not required! You can support me through www.paypal.me/sharonsewan (or the DONATE button on the main page).