This week I had an opportunity to feel shame.
Fun, I know.
But I wanted to pass on to you what I learned from the experience and what I did to help myself process through it.
Shame is one of those feelings that we as humans are never going to escape. But we can learn to be “shame resilient” by recognizing it and taking the right steps to rebound after experiencing it.
Also, as parents, it is important to identify when shame occurs in our children to teach them how to bounce back when they are experiencing it.
Recognize the shame:
Shame sounds like this:
I am defective (damaged, broken, a mistake, flawed).
I am dirty (ugly, unclean, impure, disgusting).
I am incompetent (not good enough, useless).
I am unwanted (unloved, unappreciated).
I am weak (small, impotent).
I am bad (awful, evil, despicable unforgivable).
I am pitiful (miserable, insignificant).
I am nothing (worthless, invisible, unnoticed, empty).
Shame attacks the very identity of who we are.
Shame looks like this:
The desire to hide or avoid.
When we are feeling shame, we may try to shame others.
How to have shame resilience:
Compassion: To move out of shame, we must drop self-judgment and learn to be kind to ourselves. Self-forgiveness is a key part of healing from shame. No one is perfect; we all have said things we wish we hadn’t said or done things we wish we had not done.
Compassion sounds like this:
I forgive myself, and I forgive others.
I will handle it differently next time.
I did the best I could at the moment with the information I had and the life skills that were available to me.
Courage: It takes courage to trust yourself to make decisions that those around you don't agree with.
People who have not developed self-awareness regarding their shame often attempt to shame others. When we are aware, we recognize other people's attempts to control us through shame.
This is why self-validation is part of developing shame resilience.
Self- Validation says:
I'm figuring this out.
This is hard, but I can do it.
It's OK for me to say “no”. (See my blog on how to say no https://www.roannarhodes.com/post/20-ways-to-say-no)
I am enough.
I am proud of myself.
Connection- Having someone you can talk to when you feel shame is an important part of learning how to bounce back when shame attacks. Look for someone who is trustworthy,
non-judgmental or harsh and can speak the truth in love.
Challenging - Becoming aware of shame-based thinking is part of the healing process, but we also must learn to challenge our way of thinking.
One step to help you challenge your thinking in this area is to ask yourself the following questions.
Is this thought true?
How do I know it's true?
What are the facts of what I am believing?
What are the facts against this thought?
Can I think of any times when this thought has not been confirmed?
Is this thought helping me or hurting me?
Who would I be if I let go of the thoughts I am believing?
What does it cost me to think what I believe? (i.e., time, energy, relationships?)
If I was not spending my time and energy thinking about this, what would I be doing?
Am I willing to release this thought?
What's the worst that could happen if I let go of this thought? Can I live with that?
Did this blog resonate with you? If so, I want you to know that you are not alone and I can help you learn how to become shame resilient. There is so much more I can teach you about shame that I could not have included in this short email.
I would love to offer you a chance to freely talk about whatever you struggle with, without judgment, shame, or guilt. If you are interested, you can book a free discovery session with me by clicking the following link.
See you soon,
P.S. Do you know someone who could benefit from reading this email? Please consider forwarding it to them.