I have so much I have written about shame over the years. Today I stumbled on an exercise I had developed to help people become more aware of their shame, and a process to help them move out of it. I decided to share it in my blog, and eventually my book.
Although the shame voice is speaking non-stop, until it is isolated and identified, it will be impossible to intervene on it. Pick one of the following three topics and then listen to you inner voice. Write down the first three things your inner voice has to say to you on the topic of your choice from the three listed.
* Your looks
* Your intelligence
* Your work
After you have written down the first three things your inner voice has to say, sit back and pay attention to how that voice sounded. Is it derogatory? Does it compare you to others? Does it bring you down? If it does any of those three things, you can be sure it is the voice of shame.
Now comes the hard part. Write down three kind statements about your chosen topic. You must turn your ear in a different direction and listen to the still small voice of your sweet guardian angel or an inner wise woman/man, or your own Higher Power. What does that voice say? You can be sure that this voice will not compare you to another (either favorably or not). It will sound foreign to your ears. It will bring peace and a smile. When we first hear that voice it is hard to believe and we won’t necessarily believe it. However, for our own healing, and in order to honor truth, we must be willing to turn in the “direction of kindness” and listen.
Now be still and please let this in. SHAME NEVER TELLS THE TRUTH!!!
Sometimes when we are looking for kind truth we need to claim a right. For instance: I have the right to look just like I look. I have the right to respect myself just the way I am. I get to have the intelligence I have and to have that be good enough. I get to be smart in the way that I am smart and have that be perfect for me. My work gets to be what is right for me. I deserve respect.
Those are some examples. We can’t arm wrestle our old beliefs away from self, but we can gently and kindly turn in a different direction and become willing to believe kindness, compassion, and love.