Shame… I just can’t stop talking about it!

It’s the number one complaint from my clients.  People rarely call shame by it’s name.  It is usually called perfectionism, believing we are unworthy of love and belonging or  not good enough or who do I think I am or when I am (fill in the blank) I will be A-O-K!

Shame is the one problem we all have and no one wants to talk about it.  That’s the way shame likes it.  Keep quiet, don’t talk about it, don’t reach out and connect and for goodness sake please be very critical and judgmental.   This is how you can grow your very own little shame monster.

When you want to get rid of the shame monster… well you can’t.  The bad news is that we all have shame.   Research has proven that it is a universal experience.  The good news is that when we practice empathy, love, compassion and refrain from judgment we can tame the monster and quiet it’s voice.  By reaching out to someone you trust and showing your vulnerable and authentic self, you will find that shame doesn’t like that so much and will fade away into the background.

There is a process to building shame resiliency and it goes something like this:

1.  Understand that shame is a full body experience of feeling overwhelmed with ” I’m bad, defected and incapable of change.” Fun stuff, huh?  No, it’s excruciating and leads to wanting to numb the *&%$ out of it real quick.  Alcohol, food, sex, gambling, overspending….or a combo.  Guilt is not the same thing.  Guilt allows us to believe we can make right what we made wrong.

2. Know our triggers of shame.  This helps us see it when it’s coming and we can prepare.

3. Learn who you can and can’t speak shame with.  This is tricky because remember that no one wants to talk about this stuff.

4. Practice empathy on a regular basis.  This is associated with love, compassion and suspending judgement of ourselves and others.  No easy task,  but it is phenomenal on simmering shame down.

5.  Begin to practice full on living with your whole being.  This means be true to who you are and stop hiding the real you.  Women are caught in a web of conflicting expectations of who, what and how we should be.  Men are held tight under “be strong.. always.”

If you want to dig more deeply into this shame stuff, head on over to my Daring Way tab and join one of my upcoming workshops!