Healing shame is a life long process. It can feel absolutely overwhelming. What I like to do is focus on one thing, each day, that I would like to do differently. Now, I may work on that same thing for months on end.
So, for instance, I may decide that I set myself and you up when I have expectations for you. I may have really looked at how covertly destructive that is. I expect you to do this and this and this and when you don’t, I may never say it out loud, but I think there is something wrong with you. I may determine that you are less than in some way. Since 80-90 % of communication is non-verbal, I will send the message that there is something wrong with you whether I say anything out loud, or not. That is shaming.
*I want to make a note here that I often point out things that we ALL do. My intent is not to shame you or myself for doing them. I am attempting to change our consciousness about things that are woven into the fabric of our culture that are shaming and we have never looked at it that way. Most of shame healing is taking a “Norm” in our culture and doing it absolutely different.
The one behavior a day that I am focusing on changing keeps the healing from being completely overwhelming. I can do one thing a day. Usually the things I pick are so locked into my behavior that when I pick that as my focus I will catch myself doing it many, many, many times a day. If I have set noticing myself putting expectations on someone as my goal for change, then I have to be careful to not shame myself for the many times I do that. I simply need to notice how I have set an expectation on another and turn in a different direction. The different direction may be saying to myself, “you have the right to live your life in the way that fits you. It is not your job to live up to my expectations.” Then I will turn my attention to my side of the street- what is my business.
By doing this focusing on changing one thing at a time, I am making progress on healing shame both in my life and making a difference in the world.