shame

The Number One Reason We Prevent Our Own Progress (and what you can do about it) Part Two

Photo courtesy of Bigstock

 

Last week we looked at the benefits of accepting our weaknesses, this week we explore the psychological reasons we reject our weaknesses and explain what can be done to counteract this.

 

The Psychological Reasons We Reject Our Weaknesses

 

Humiliation

 

We immediately do anything to avoid humiliation. Humiliation can therefore have a big impact in terms of failing to accept our weaknesses. For instance, if we are in a team at work and are a senior staff member, the last thing we wish to do is accept we are bad at teamwork.

 

We can overcome this by accepting the truth that whenever we admit our flaws invariably we endear ourselves to others and often gain their respect, rather than inviting further criticism or put downs.

 

Shame

 

Sometimes when we behave in ways that are bad (like screaming at someone) we psychologically distance ourselves from our actions to avoid feeling shame.

 

Shame tells us we are something wrong as opposed to guilt, which is much more healthy an emotion and tells us we have done something wrong.

 

The trick here is to reassert that although we have done something wrong we are not unlovable or worthless. The redeeming thing about this approach is that it allows us to rectify the wrongdoing by apologizing, seeking to right the wrong and restoring the relationship or situation if possible whilst still retaining a sense of our inherent worth.

 

Competitiveness

 

In today’s corporate world of work and with the media portraying everyone having ‘the perfect life’ competitiveness is rife. Whenever we compare ourselves to others or are competitive and wanting to be the best, we naturally distance ourselves from our shortcomings.

 

Being a type A personality and very goal orientated I suffered with comparing myself to others. To remedy this I needed to realize that everyone is on their own journey. Once you accept that we all have different strengths and weaknesses and there is no better or worse – just different – you will be well on your way to taking ownership of your weaknesses.

More

Why shame is such a destructive emotion and how to overcome it

 

Often shame and guilt are used interchangeably. Whilst guilt is a very positive emotion which prompts us to recognize we have done something wrong and serves to encourage us to make amends shame is much more pervasive and causes us to feel that we are something wrong, leading us to feel unworthy, socially disgraced and isolated.

 

According to the Free Dictionary shame is:

 

“A painful emotion caused by the awareness of having done something wrong or foolish: felt shame for cheating on the exam.

 

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:

More

How to Liberate Yourself by Overcoming the 3 Blocks to Forgiveness Part Four

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

The healing process…

 

Invariably the healing process is not linear, it isn’t a straight line on a graph. There will be peaks and troughs. During times when you are revisited by difficult feelings, return to the strategies you adopted when first trying to forgive.

 

Many people mistakenly think they cannot forgive, simply because they encounter difficulty after they have initially forgiven someone. In order to avoid this pitfall be mindful that the forgiveness and healing process can be lengthy. It is nonsensical to think there won’t be difficulties along the way. So if you experience difficulties after deciding to forgive someone, be comforted by the fact that this is to be expected and persevere.

More

How to Liberate Yourself by Overcoming the 3 Blocks to Forgiveness Part Three

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

How to overcome the 3 blocks to forgiveness and forgive…

 

3) Humiliation and shame

 

When we experience humiliation our first instinct is to run and hide. When we experience shame our first instinct is to lash out. Usually humiliation is followed by shame. The reason why these two feelings are particularly detrimental to forgiveness is that they impact upon our perception of self, which is linked to our self-worth. When our self-worth is threatened, our fight or flight response is triggered, and we either explode or implode, which are both obstacles to forgiveness.

 

When you are in a state of shame or humiliation try to alter your perspective and consider whether this situation will be significant ten or twenty years from now. If you believe it would remain significant, consider what you would think if this happened to a friend. Would you judge or think any less of her? I imagine probably not.

 

By shifting your perspective you will be able to step outside of your humiliation and shame and see your situation in a larger context.

More

How to Liberate Yourself by Overcoming the 3 Blocks to Forgiveness Part Two

Forgiveness Article Shutterstock

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

How to overcome the 3 blocks to forgiveness and forgive…

 

Initially I knew I wanted to let go of my anger but beyond talking about it, I didn’t know how. What I realised in the process of forgiveness, was that there were three fundamental blocks to my being able to forgive. These blocks had caused me to remain stuck and had hindered my efforts to forgive effectively. Initially, rather than acknowledging these as blocks to my being able to forgive, I felt entitled and chose to indulge them, thereby causing me even greater distress.

It was through trial and error, and a great deal of thought, that I realised I needed to adjust my approach if I wanted to be able to move past these blocks. Below I have outlined the approaches which helped me move towards forgiveness.

 

1) Pride

 

Our egos can be very fragile things. When someone hurts us it is natural for our sense of pride to be hurt also. Pride can make us want to seek revenge. Pride believes it is protecting us from future hurt by encouraging us to punish the other person. But there is one fatal flaw in prides logic. The person most hurt by punishing the other, and thereby holding onto pain and resentment, is us.

 

By acknowledging this truth, we can more effectively stop our pride from blocking our ability to forgive.

  More

How to Liberate Yourself by Overcoming the 3 Blocks to Forgiveness Part One

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

‘To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you’ Lewis B Smedes

 

There have been many times in my life when my forgiveness was needed. Times when people hurt me to my core – times that caused me to feel upset, betrayed and angry. In these moments I experienced the pain caused by holding onto my resentment too long, and discovered the intense relief and freedom that followed once I forgave.

 

According to Oxford Dictionaries, forgiveness can be defined as ‘To stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offense, flaw or mistake’. What I like about this definition is that it focuses on the psychological process of releasing anger and resentment when forgiving, a profound psychological benefit enjoyed by those offering forgiveness.  More telling still is what the definition omits; at no point does it infer that forgiveness involves forgetting a transgression or condoning it whatsoever, which are both common misconceptions about forgiveness.

More

Introducing July’s Hot Topic: Forgiveness

 

I remember once when I was in my late teens and one of my friends betrayed me. It escalated to the point where she even spread false rumors about me to my other friends. I was so hurt I couldn’t see through the pain, let alone be cognizant of how holding on to my resentment was harming me more than it was her. Looking back I wish I had realized that, had I let go of the resentment – and yes – even hatred that I was harboring towards her, I would have found my equilibrium and peace of mind a great deal sooner.

 

Like so many people I spent my twenties full of pride thinking that forgiveness was the same thing as reconciliation and akin to excusing awful behavior. It was only in my late twenties I discovered how healing forgiveness can actually be; forgiveness that released all of the poisonous emotions of hatred, resentment, humiliation, shame and pride in me. I was set free from the moment I truly learnt to forgive.

 

My wish is that you too will come to know how healing forgiveness can actually be through this series and that you will realize, just as I did, that you neither have to reconcile or even vocalize your forgiveness to anyone to reap the benefits of forgiveness.

 

Welcome to July’s hot topic everyone!

 

x X x Jenny Leigh x X x

Introducing July’s Hot Topic: Forgiveness

 

I remember once when I was in my late teens and one of my friends betrayed me. It escalated to the point where she even spread false rumors about me to my other friends. I was so hurt I couldn’t see through the pain, let alone be cognizant of how holding on to my resentment was harming me more than it was her. Looking back I wish I had realized that, had I let go of the resentment – and yes – even hatred that I was harboring towards her, I would have found my equilibrium and peace of mind a great deal sooner.

 

Like so many people I spent my twenties full of pride thinking that forgiveness was the same thing as reconciliation and akin to excusing awful behavior. It was only in my late twenties I discovered how healing forgiveness can actually be; forgiveness that released all of the poisonous emotions of hatred, resentment, humiliation, shame and pride in me. I was set free from the moment I truly learnt to forgive.

 

My wish is that you too will come to know how healing forgiveness can actually be through this series and that you will realize, just as I did, that you neither have to reconcile or even vocalize your forgiveness to anyone to reap the benefits of forgiveness.

 

Welcome to July’s hot topic everyone!

 

x X x Jenny Leigh x X x

Feeling guilty? How to use guilt to your advantage!

Like anyone I’ve felt guilty from time to time. Interestingly I have a long standing history of confusing guilt for shame. When researching for this month’s series article on self-compassion I had an aha moment when I realized guilt was very different to shame. Shame by its very nature tells us that we are something wrong – a very destructive way of thinking and not helpful at all – whilst guilt signals that we’ve done something wrong, which incentivizes us to make amends and put the situation right. Guilt can also guide us to make better choices, serving as a barometer towards correcting our behavior in future.

 

To tell the difference between guilt and shame ask yourself the following questions, remembering that it is possible to be both guilty and ashamed.

 

  • Am I labeling myself in my head as a direct result of my behavior? (E.g. I’m a failure, I’m horrible, I’m incompetent)
  • Do I feel like I’m a horrible person as a direct result of my behavior?
  • Do I feel like a failure / incompetent / worthless as a direct result of my behavior?
  • Do I feel fatalistic, as if I will always be this way?

 

  • Do I feel a deep sense that I have behaved in the wrong way?
  • Do I feel as though I have made a mistake?
  • Do I feel as though I have used poor judgment?
  • Do I feel that I want to make amends for my behavior?
  • Do I feel bad for the person my behavior has effected?

 

If you answered yes to any of the top four questions you are likely in a state of shame and need to talk through what happened with a trusted and supportive friend who can reassure you that you are not what you may be labeling yourself to be.

 

As Brene Brown says…

 

“If you put shame in a Petri dish it needs three things to grow exponentially, secrecy, silence and judgment. 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.”

 

If you answered yes to any of the last five questions you are probably experiencing guilt. Although uncomfortable, feeling guilty can be a very good thing because it gives you the opportunity to make amends for and correct your behavior. Think about what you can do to make things right and then act on it, remembering that some people will not be receptive to an apology but that the most important thing by far is that you have done everything you can to say sorry and rectify your behavior so that it isn’t repeated.

 

Have you ever felt guilty and did it serve as a motivator to correct your behavior? Can you relate to feeling ashamed and how destructive an emotion it is? I’d love to hear from you so please comment below to gain encouragement, support and insight from our community.

How to Silence Your Inner Critic and Become Your Own Best Friend Through Self-Compassion Part Four

Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

Picture Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

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.”

More