How to deal with shame…
One of the ongoing themes to the interviews that I saw surrounded shame – a destructive emotion that tells us we are something wrong as opposed to guilt, which is useful and tells us we’ve done something wrong. I think that one of the reasons why shame was such a central theme in the series is because when we experience shame, our inner critic goes into hyper drive.
Brene Brown, an award winning speaker who has spent the past ten years researching vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame gave one piece of advice that stuck with me at a core level. Brene’s self confessed mantra is “don’t text, talk or type anything” when you are in a state of shame.
Once you have calmed down Brene suggests confiding in a friend or family member. “If you put shame in a Petri dish it needs three things to grow exponentially, secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same amount of shame in a Petri dish and you douse it with empathy you create an environment that’s hostile to shame.”
Adopt a ‘spiritual law’ philosophy…
Colin Tipping, the founder of Radical Forgiveness Therapy, also offers a potent strategy for overcoming our feelings of shame. Colin suggests that we operate on both a human and spiritual level, insisting that this in no way means his patients need to believe in God, just in a spiritual realm of some sort.
For example, if I missed presenting to important clients at work and got fired as a result I may experience feelings of shame where my inner critic could assert that I am stupid, a fraud and an all round failure at life. Whilst these feelings of shame would be painful, Colin recommends taking the view that even although there may appear to be no redemptive qualities about the situation, according to spiritual law the situation is exactly as it needed to be.
For example, you might be destined to meet someone important in your next role or you may have needed to lose your job in order to diversify your skill set and be more employable long-term, etc. Colin doesn’t suggest that we have access to the reasons why things happen the way they do but simply asserts that there is a reason nonetheless, and that if we have absolute faith that a reason exists our feelings of shame will dissipate.
Stay tuned, next Monday I’ll share how the work we do on ourselves benefits others too and how, by adopting these techniques, we can finally be our own best friend.
Do you think confiding in a friend about something your ashamed about, as Brene suggested, would help? Or do you tend to keep secret things which you feel ashamed about? How do you think your approach helps or hinders you? Would you ever consider adopting a ‘spiritual law’ philosophy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.