Are you constantly feeling like you should be doing things differently or feeling inadequate because of how you’ve done things in the past? If so, it’s the monster of shame, and it can wreck your enjoyment of life. Here, I’ll share with you some reasons why you may be punishing yourself this way, and some ways to begin healing the wounds that perpetuate it.
Shame is one of the ways many of us beat ourselves up.
It’s what is happening when you are having feelings of inadequacy, possibly comparing yourself to others, and generally feeling “not good enough.” It’s a terrible state to be in. It is definitely not reflective of self-love, and it’s one of the quickest ways to deplete your energy bank account.
So, before you start shaming yourself for shaming yourself, interject some understanding and kindness.
A wonderful self-management tool is to identify where our destructive patterns come from.
Shame very often is a survival mechanism that you developed when you were young. The pattern could have come about because of interactions with adults or older children in your life whose actions (inadvertently, most likely) led you to feel less than enough. This feeling then became internalized, and as an adult, you have continued to carry on the pattern.
The best way to begin healing this destructive pattern is to simply notice when you are doing it. But not just when you are doing it to yourself…
Notice also when you are shaming others.
Recognizing this pattern whether it is something you’re doing to yourself or to others begins the healing process.
As soon as you realize you are shaming someone (no matter who it is), STOP. Choose a different perspective. Choose anything other than shame.
The reason this is a good practice is because it’s a way of bringing an unconscious process into consciousness. Survival mechanisms (like shame), because they are created when we are young, are like grooves in our neural pathways that are easy to fall into. This is especially true when we are feeling tired, stressed, or otherwise energetically compromised. It’s an automatic response that takes us down the path of least resistance.
If you find yourself continuing to fall into the groove, take some time to change your scenery.
Go for a walk in nature, or just around the block. The new perspective will give you an opportunity to reset your automatic brain pattern. This can help get you off the treadmill your brain is trying to keep you on, and snap you out of obsessive shaming.
When you make a conscious effort to re-route your thought process, you give yourself an opportunity to begin to heal, and to create new, more constructive and healthy neural pathways.
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And if you know a friend or neighbor who could use hearing the advice in this article or needs The Job I Love Toolkit, please forward this to them.