Really hope you’re doing well – marching in a steady pace towards where you want to go. But also enjoying every moment of the path, the view & the struggle that brings strength.
Today we will will keep on exploring basic concepts I truly believe is valuable to understand on a deeper level.
As we discussed yesterday: Words symbolise experience, feeling. And if we want change the experience & the feeling, we need the vocabulary the deal with the deepest root causes.
The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein
“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.”
– Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In
One concept that has impacted my life tremendously, and that I’m grateful for diving deeper into, is the concept of “shame”.
As growing up, it was a feeling, an experience I could not really put words to… I couldn’t see it for what it was… I simply felt bad & wanted to hide, close up… felt fearful of being “exposed”.. But the reason? I had no idea. I just though… “If I hide it, it will go away.”
In this post I will explore shame; what is it? How does it effect our lives?
WHAT IS SHAME?
Shame is the belief that we are unworthy of other people’s love. Shame is the feeling of being judged and believing you are unworthy of peoples love… Shame is a feeling that makes us want to hide. Shame disconnects us.
Shame is the belief that we are inadequate… not lovable… not good…
This belief… isolates us, psychologically… and robs us of our deepest, most essential human need: The need to feel a sense being loved, connected to others & a part of something bigger than ourselves.
But why do we feel it? And what can we do about it?
WHAT IS SHAME CAUSED BY?
Based on our current state of awareness, we all make mistakes… We all do stuff that we’re not proud of… Shame “happens” to us when we close up ourselves & judge ourselves as “bad”, “incomplete”, “inadequate”, for doing the act…
Shame creeps in when we let our sub-optimal decisions dictate who we are…
If I did something good, I am a good person, worthy of love & belonging…
If I did something bad, I am a bad person, not worthy of love & belonging.
This sort of makes sense doesn’t it…? But the problem is that we tend to isolate ourselves when we’re in this state of shame… Why? Because we’re afraid that no one will prove of us… So we disconnect…
SHAME & GUILT
There is a big difference between shame and guilt.
Shame sounds like: “I did something bad & therefor I am a bad person, not worthy of love & belonging.”
Guilt sounds like: “I did something bad… I mad a bad decision… But I can make better decisions. I am a work in progress, everyone is.”
WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT?
Ok, so… if you have real deep shame of something that happened in the past, first of all , you really need to take this seriously… First of all by becoming more aware of how shame has limited you in your life…
Do you tend to close up? Isolate yourself? Speak sparingly about your feelings?
Do you indulge in self-distructive behaviours like; Overeating? Pornography? Procrastinating?
The root cause of these “tip of the iceberg issues” can very well be deep shame…
Three step process to deal with Shame:
We all experience shame more or less… No matter to what degree, you have to gain the awareness about how it is effecting your life & ask yourself if you’re willing to pray the heavy price of NOT dealing with it…
The essential choices to deal with your shame is:
a) Be Vulnerable & open about your shortcomings & insecurities directly.
b) Contact a councillor or a person that you trust, who you know will be able to carry the weight of your story & share from your heart. Become free. Own your story. Tell 100% truly about your experiences & about your experiences of shame…
“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
– Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
c) Journal about your feelings & reflect on what person you wish to become. Do everything in your power to leave old ways of being and enter a new way of being…
This can only be done through coming to terms with your past, learning who you truly are & taking disciplined action, working 1% every day to be more of who you know you can become…
Remember: No one can take away your freedom to choose how you will respond. It can only be forgotten.
When you gain a deeper awareness about what part shame is playing in your life, and you deal with it courageously, you will experience some things.
a) Feeling more free.
b) Better relationships.
c) Better health.
d) More courageous & willingness to accept challenges.
WHAT’S STOPPING US FROM DEALING WITH SHAME?
a) We are not honest with ourselves about how shame is showing up in our lives… Because we’re ashamed of our shame…
b) We think it will go away by itself. (it won’t)
c) We think being open about our insecurities is a sign of weakness… (It’s not… It’s the secret portal to greater strength)
d) We settle into “being ok” about our situation… We accept it as “the way things are”…
This is probably the most common one… Don’t settle. Please… Know there is more to life that what you’re wxperiecing now… You can change. You can be, feel, do whatever you put your mind to.
“Complacency is the enemy of a healthy relationship.”
– Leslie Becker-Phelps , PhD
“Don’t be deceived by the spirit of complacency and think you have achieved enough. Try to become better than you’ve been.”
– Israelmore Ayivor
If there is love, there will be a way…
Hope this post helped understanding a phenomena that so many of us are dealing with nowadays…
If you feel that shame is showing up in an unbearable way in your life, you will want to contact a councillor to open up. The pressure needs to be released.
What do you think is stopping us from being more open & vulnerable? Would love to hear your thoughts.
ps. This post may or may not be relevant for your particular situation; and it should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional assistance.