Are you playing the shame game?
On Dealing with Shame
It’s a secret- carefully hidden from the world. Too painful to face, we shove it under a rock. The rock moves, but we quickly stomp it back into place. And why wouldn’t we? That’s the very nature of shame.
If you’re struggling with shame, you’re not alone. In truth, this inner demon is the root of one of the most difficult psychological battles in life. It’s the monster within-held captive by a set of beliefs too painful to acknowledge.
So just what is shame?
Shame is the belief that we are flawed, wounded, or unworthy. It often comes with a sense of being permanently damaged.
Unfortunately, its grip can be so painful that the thought of facing shame seems absolutely unbearable.
Feelings of shame are usually brought on by past behaviors, life circumstances, and traumatic situations. These triggers can be both real and imagined.
Further, these feelings are often attached to a given situation. It can be as simple as an embarrassing moment, or as complex as a life changing event.
As time goes on, the feelings are twisted and bent into greater feelings of embarrassment and guilt. It’s a toxic cycle that results in depression and angst.
The one thing you must remember…
The problem with shame is that it seems eternal. But is it? Life is full of choices, and allowing shame to control us is an option-not a mandate. The one thing you must remember is that everything in life is temporary.
You may feel bad, wrong, or permanently ruined. However, the concept of being permanently damaged is just another concept. It is not necessarily rooted in fact or truth.
The mind always tries to generate explanations. What if you accepted that there might not be an answer? Life isn’t fair and it hurts. But you do have one option-to accept what is-right here, right now.
In playing the “explanation game,” we only feed into automatic thoughts. It is the quintessential example of autopilot thinking. The more thoughts run, the more they grow. And the more they grow, the more of a hold on us they have.
When dealing with shame, you must allow those awful thoughts to arise and pass without judging them. Attaching to shameful thoughts only hurts your well-being.
Sure, you can be angry. And it absolutely may be unfair. But how does allowing shame to dictate your life help?
A different take on shame…
I want you to think about this concept this way…What if you looked at shameful thoughts differently? How would your life change?
I’m not saying that whatever is fueling your shame was right. I’m saying that you deserve to allow yourself to be happy. And the path to happiness comes in part by ridding shame of its power.
Change what you can and accept the rest. Yes, something awful may have happened. Or you may have done something that you deeply regret. However, you do have the choice to move on.
Don’t miss your life because your mind is stuck in the pain of the past. Let go of blame. Live a life you are proud of and make the best of the time you have.
Each breath is precious. There is only now. So the way to break the cycle is to celebrate what is.
To your mindfulness,
Copyright: alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo