When our shame leads the way we can find countless excuses to Not do what we know it is ours to do, or time to do. Shame drops us into a self-defeating behavior and it becomes very difficult in our life to do the healthy, or healing, or positive thing.
I believe that when we are really struggling to do something hard and just can’t seem to succeed, we need to look for the underlying shame and address it directly.
One exercise I do with myself when I am not moving forward in a direction I desire to move is:
1. Claim some space and time where you will not be interrupted. (Put a Do Not Disturb sign on your door).
2. Grab a pile of paper and a pencil. (Do this in writing, not on your computer. It accesses a different part of your brain and is more useful in the long run.)
3. Start writing without lifting your pencil or pausing (flow of consciousness or hot pen) and put down what your shame is telling you. Write: my shame is telling me…. Keep going until you can’t identify one more thing your shame is telling you. (It can get really nasty and seem to go on and on. Get it all out). Then claim the truth a voice of compassion or truth would say to you. You can claim rights (I have the right to my own process, to make a mistake, to claim my truth, to kindness, etc.) or you can claim a truth (Whether I believe it or not, I am a good person, worthy of….). It is imperative to get to a truth or a right. Please do not stop with just what the voice of shame is telling you.
4. Pause and let the truth set in. If you just cannot get to it, this is the time to share with someone who is very trustworthy and let them help you find rights or truths. You can put many of those down as well.
This can be extremely helpful when something is hard or you feel stuck in a self-defeating behavior or thought.
Years ago I had myself all spun up about something. I was talking to a friend and was “awfulizing”, using the “what if…. and what if…”. She calmly sat there and said to me, “what if that isn’t true.” It stopped my whole tirade. Since then I have worked with that with shame.
In shame we feel like we are not good enough, or defective in some way, or less than. I could go on and on. I challenge you with the statement, “what if that shame is absolutely not true?” “What if the truth is the exact opposite of that?” “What if, in truth, you are absolutely perfect, just the way you are?” “What if you are not a mistake?”
Just sit with that for a bit. Make it into a statement. I AM PERFECT, JUST THE WAY I AM.
Shame is the lie of our culture. It is the biggest obstacle to peace that we live with. If I feel defective, or not good enough, or whatever words best describe my shame, I will live in a defensive state. In that state I will be ready to attack you or myself at the drop of a hat. There is no peace in living this way.
War with self and other is what lies the groundwork for war in our world. I need to start with the, “What if that is not true and I am lovable” statement and do what I need to do to believe it. That leads to peace.
If we wait for life to be just the way we want for us to be at peace, we will never have peace. The change and the challenges and the gremlins keep coming. So, what can we do instead?
It seems to me that we can be in peace if that is our Only and Most Important goal. Usually peace is a nice idea, but it comes way down the list under all the other worldly priorities. If peace is my priority, then it is not only possible, but probable that we will have it.
I challenge myself, and you, to consciously set the intention, for even an hour, to make peace the absolutely only thing that matters. See what a difference that makes.
The proof is in the pudding- as the saying goes!
It is easy to get stuck in trying to figure out where all this shame comes from. I have worked with countless people who do not have a discernible shaming incident in their background, but feel deep shame about themselves. Why is that?
We live in a SHAME BASED culture. (At least in the United States)
What do I mean by that?
Our culture is steeped in the following:
- 1. Perfectionism
- 2. Blame
- 3. We don’t know our personal rights, choices, and boundaries
- 4. We are very hierarchical
- 5. We base our worth on what we DO
- 6. We spend more time looking at what we “should” do than looking at what fits for us
- 7. There is a level of dishonesty in most interactions
- 8. We don’t know how to truly forgive
- 9. We live from the belief that we are flawed in some way and need to constantly prove ourselves
- 10. We have an external template for most of our roles and feel shame when we don’t match it
- 11. We do not know that the essence of ourselves is truly innocence and love.
Those behaviors are “shame based” behaviors. They reinforce shame as our essence. They are the stew that we grow up in and die in. Unless we see that and completely reverse the way we see ourselves and others in our world, we will remain in shame. That leaves us in a very agitated state. When we reverse that (not an easy task) we feel peace.
More to come…
Hello and thank you for checking in.
I recently closed my “in-person” practice and converted to a remote coaching
practice. It was a big shift for me and one that I feel really good about. I find
that saying, “good-bye” is much harder for me than saying, “hello.” Well, I am
saying, “hello,” to a new way of being with my work. I continue to feel a great
passion for helping people be in a different relationship with themselves. I
want to help people put the shame behind and lead with the essence of the loving,
and worthy being that they are. So, say goodbye to shame and hello to peace.