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How to Let Go of Shame and Bring In Success
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Shame 101

The simple definition of shame is a painful emotion caused by a strong sense of embarrassment, failure, worthlessness, and/or disgrace.

Shame follows people with addiction, hurting families and unhealthy relationships. Others can shame us and we can shame ourselves with some version of "who you are isn't okay, and nothing you do will change that. Shame on you."

Characteristics of shame

Unhealthy shame is the most detrimental human emotion. It is based on the different expectations that are placed on us by ourselves and by others. This results in the want to hide or cover up or escape. On the flip side, healthy shame leads to the blessings of humility and spirituality. 

Defenses against shame: 

addiction, anger, rage, perfectionism, etc

Descriptive shame words:

shy, embarrassed, inferior, stupid, dumb, inadequate, failure, guilty, humiliated, disgusted, worthless, mortified, a monster

Rules that follow shame

  • control
  • no talking
  • denial
  • incompleteness
  • perfectionism
  • blame
  • unreliability
  • disqualification

Symptoms of unhealthy shame

Shame is difficult to diagnose on others because most of the time it is something we're hiding from the outside world. Like when you hear people talk about someone who committed suicide and they say "they showed no signs that they were going to do that". Well yes, they actually probably did show signs, but they might not have been as obvious to observers because the person was TRYING to hide it. We try to hide what we're embarrassed of. I'm going to list out how to self-diagnose yourself though, and honestly I would argue that everyone has some level of unhealthy shame in their life and I would blame it on the cultures we grow up in. And you do not need to check ALL of these to have unhealthy shame as they are all evidence of it on their own. 

- You can't bring yourself to do things, go places, or be around people because you feel intimidated

- You experience recurrent bouts of depression

- You are in self-isolation: physically or emotionally distancing yourself from others; especially those you care about the most

- You pretend to be someone you are not

- You rely on bad habits or substances to medicate inner pain and self-loathing

- You exaggerate and or lie about yourself, your accomplishments, and your lifestyle; you brag or name drop

- Your public identity and your private self are markedly different

- You have had suicidal thoughts

- You assume the blame when someone treats you poorly or hurts you

- You make excuses for people who abuse you or treat you with disrespect

- You are unable to accept yourself as only human; instead you see yourself as subhuman or superhuman. You are unable to accept that there is both good and bad within you; you cling to a view of yourself that is all bad or all good or you alternate between the two

- You keep secrets about yourself, and you feel bound to carry them with you to the grave

- You keep a shameful part of your life separate from the rest of your life, even in your own mind; so that your behavior in one area is markedly different from the rest of your life

- You deny the nature and severity of your addictions

- You lose yourself in the needs of others: busying yourself by taking care of others; rescuing them; trying to control, fix or change them; and trying to solve their problems while neglecting your life (also known as codependency)

- You feel driven to achieve, overachieve, and excel to feel okay about yourself; you try to prove your worth by what you do (my number 1 problem in case you were wondering)

- You focus on the flaws and failings of others; being judgmental and critical draws attention away from you or consoles you that you aren't as bad as the object of your criticism 

Shame, Guilt and Toxic Shame

So now we now what shame is and looks like. Guilt is associated with shame because it is believing what we did is not okay, however, it can be beneficial when it affirms our values and motivates us to change like feeling bad that we hurt someone's feelings so we don't say that again next time. Shame can also be healthy when it causes humility so it's believing that we are limited and make mistakes. Like when we get into a car accident and realize we're not perfect. Toxic shame however is where the danger lurks because it is the belief that who we are is not okay, that we are worthless. 

How to address your unhealthy shame 

Unhealthy shame is only going to hold you back from your success, whether that be in your career, your relationships or your happiness. Releasing unhealthy shame takes time, but once you do it you will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders, you're going to be motivated to change your life, and you'll grow so much spiritually. 

1. Switch from shame-based systems to self-love systems

Accepting who you are and that who you are is okay is a HUGE undertaking. And taking baby steps, in my opinion, is the best way to handle this. When you feel the shame creeping in just recognize it, stop, and change the station so the voice in your head now tells you that you are worth it. Remind yourself that this is cultural and not a fact and that you're a badass until you believe it. And again really try to fall in love with who you are. All of my posts are so woven together with this concept because it is the ultimate life lesson in my opinion. 

2. Expose shame and treat it like a feeling

Call that shit out. Go and see a therapist and talk about it. It grows so much stronger when it's hidden. The second you put the spotlight on it you'll be more in control of it. Calling it what it is is almost always the first step when dealing with feelings and emotions as I wrote about in my other post about feelings

3. Track it to its roots

Here is definitely where I would recommend therapy. If you're like me then you bury that shit deep down inside and lock the door so I honestly don't even know where to start when it comes to tracing my roots. Therapist studied how to do this so let them help you. 

4. Change what's needed

Once you start doing all of these things you'll realize what's causing you shame. Is it perfectionism? Change what you need to. If your job is forcing you to be perfect try to find a new one or change the environment. Is it your relationship? Change it. Perfection doesn't exist so if your world is asking you for it... move. 

5. Release the shame

And once you've got what's causing the shame in the palm of your hand, open it and let it go. 

 

And if you need to be reminded that you're a badass... read this post :) 

 

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7 Ways To Become Inspired and Find Your Passion

I felt like after my last post 6 Reasons Why We Need To Be Inspired, I should also explain HOW to become inspired. I hope this helps!

1. Focus on what you already know you enjoy

If you already know that you love yoga, painting, writing, hiking, whatever... invest more time into it now. The reason you love it is because it's fueling your inspiration flame. Notice how you always feel refreshed after doing these things. If you're not sure what these are... they're the things that after you do it you feel like you just took a nap afterward. Your mind feels clear, you feel like you can breathe, and you feel healthy while you do it. So these things should not include drinking, eating shitty foods, and doing things you might think you love... but that don't make you feel lighter after doing it. 

2. Continually try out new experiences

There are so many hobbies out there you have no excuse to spend all of your free time binge watching Netflix. Try taking classes (find free or inexpensive ones in your city!), try crafting, try renovating, try training for competitions, try wine tastings or tea tastings, try new restaurants, WHATEVER. If you feel stuck trying to think of hobbies I would suggest starting with Pinterest. You just need to research what is available in your area. Obviously in Phoenix I'm not going to try to take up Surfing, and in Maine I'm not going to try perfecting prickly pear margaritas. This is (in my opinion) the funnest part of finding inspiration. If you try something and you hate it so what? You don't have to commit to it forever, and it's worth taking a chance on it just in case you end up loving it for the rest of your life. 

3. Travel

And constantly be planning your next trip! Plan trips to different destinations in your state, in your country, and around the world! It's ALWAYS doable if you budget! I do this by calculating how much it's going to cost me to go on the trip, dividing it by how many months there are between now and the trip, and saving that much each month. SUPER SIMPLE. After visiting a new place is when I feel the most inspired. Traveling gives you feelings and insights that no other experience possibly could. You can read all of the books you want about the place, but experiencing what can't be put into words is the only way to get the whole effect. Trust me when I say traveling is an absolute MUST. 

4. Read!!!!!

I cannot stress this point enough. Everyone around me is sick of me saying this. Get lost in books. I never finish a book and feel uninspired. THIS is where I learn about humanity, emotions, productivity, different approaches to life, etc. I absolutely love learning and I feel my fire roaring when I'm reading and gaining new insights. You can read whatever you want to, no judgement here! If you want to read syfy, nonfiction, cheesy romance novels, I don't care. That author put their world view seen through their eyes into that book and it's such an amazing way to bring inspiration to your life. 

5. Go on a technology detox

For me, just going 6 hours without any technology around me makes me feel inspired. This is when you read. This is when you hike. This is when you disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself. I would suggest going as long as you can. This is what I suggest when you feel absolutely no motivation. You know how it is right, you're feeling sad and you can't describe why. You feel sad taking a shower, you feel sad eating, and you don't want to do those things you already know you love. THAT's your brain telling you it needs to unplug from the rest of the world. Burn some essential oil, meditate, and chill off the grid for a while. 

6. Fall in love with nature

Whether you live in a big city or not, nature is every where around you. Go on hikes, go on picnics, and walk barefoot on the ground. If you have an open mind about it, spending even an hour a week in nature is like hitting a reset button on your brain. When your brain is short-circuiting and you're feeling anxious, overwhelmed and you're lacking passion... nature is going to cleanse this. It's like putting an air purifier into your body to rid of the toxic energy. I know I'm sounding like a super hippie right now, but this is STATISTICALLY PROVEN. Folks who live in rural areas surrounded by natural scenery live longer and healthier lives than those who live in large, industrial cities. Make an effort to go back to your ancestral roots (where they spent their entire lives in nature) and I promise you will not lack inspiration whatsoever. When I'm in nature is when I have epiphanies and realizations. I NEED this in my life, so give it a shot!

7. Meditate

It's really that easy. Just sit and think. I have high-functioning anxiety and at least twice per day my thoughts start racing and I feel overwhelmed. I just stop what I'm doing, even if I'm at my desk, I rest my hands on my legs, close my eyes, and count my breaths. This is the key to living with high functioning anxiety if you also have it, or if you're feeling blocked. When I don't know what to write, I meditate. When I'm lacking motivation, I meditate. It's the best fix for when I don't have time to hike, or do yoga, or take a nap. Just sitting for even 5 minutes changing my outlook on the world. I will say this is super important when you're feeling angry and negative as well. Just sit in silence, with your eyes closed, and breathe. I wrote a whole post on Why Badass Bitches Meditate Every Single Day because of how important it is.

 

Of course there are so many more things you can do to feel inspired, these are only 7 that I personally do. I hope this helps! If you have anything you do to boost your inspiration comment below!

6 Reasons Why We Need To Be Inspired

One of the most tragic things to hear, in my opinion, is when I ask someone "what do you do for fun" and their response is something along the lines of "oh I don't really know, whatever". It makes me want to shake them, but then I have to take a step back and remember that most people not only don't spend time working on what they're passionate about, but that they don't even know what lights the fire in their soul. Again, the only word I can use to describe this is tragic.

The first step towards finding your passion is finding inspiration. Here are 6 reasons why we need to stay inspired.

 

1. It will give your life purpose

We all know that feeling when we don't have a purpose. The best way I can describe it is depression (not clinical obv.), although that could just be because of my ambitious personality, so without purpose I feel utterly useless. It's easy to tell when I'm lost, I stop caring about everything and sleep even more than I already do (which is a lot).

When I'm inspired, however, it's the exact opposite. I can cross 50 things off of my to-do list, go for a run, and come home and write an inspiring post because my life blood is back. When I feel like I have a purpose then there's a reason to get out of bed before the sun (my least favorite thing to do ever btw). There's a reason to run 3 miles before dinner. There's a reason to stop binge watching Netflix and read 200 pages a day. There's a purpose for me to be alive.

2. Your relationships will be healthier

Again, when I'm on a date and I ask someone what they do for fun and they respond with "whatever" I scream internally. That means they have no passions of their own and they're probably going to focus on me in all of their free time and that's the perfect breeding ground for a toxic relationship. If you're free time is filled with your projects and passions then you won't have time to sit around and think of all the negative stuff about your partner. PLUS there's the added bonus that if you both have your own passions and projects then at the end of the day you get to come home and talk about them, and be excited about them. Personally, the most attractive thing on someone is watching them talk about what they're passionate about.

3. Your attitude will be better

Which means your life will be better. You'll start to realize people will want to hang out with you more because you have so much more to talk about and what you do talk about is all positive. When you see hope in your future it affects your attitude and when you have a positive attitude you manifest positive things. I mean think about it. You know when you meet someone and they just have so much light in their eyes? And when they talk you actually want to listen, you're not forcing yourself to? These are inspired people. Contrast them with the ones with empty eyes, who spend the whole conversations complaining because they have nothing of their own to talk about. It's brutal to listen to them right? Be the inspired person.

4. You'll grow your network

The more projects you do and the more experiences you try the more people you meet, simple as that. You have to go out into the world (even the internet world) and do things and talk to people. The benefit is that you're going to meet people with similar interests. The larger your network the more successful you will be and the less hard you will have to work to be successful. You never know who you're going to meet and when you meet them doing what you're passionate about you already have something in common.

5. You'll be emotionally stable

The best part about having my own projects, my own passions, and finding my own inspiration is that none of those things have to be given to me by someone else. That is giving someone else way too much power. My happiness needs to be controlled by ME. I mean other people can come into my life and bring added joy, but my purpose for waking up in the morning cannot and will not be decided by any body other than me. And again, if I'm immersed in my projects then there are other thoughts to fill my time. And this is especially helpful after a breakup, if you're main purpose in life isn't your partner, then if they leave they didn't leave with your passion. Your ego won't be hurt because you're in charge of it. If someone tries to take away the light in your eyes they won't be able to because you control the flame.

6. You can make a difference

The best part about having your own projects is that you can likely make a difference through them. Love sewing? Donate blankets and clothes. Love painting? Donate artwork for charity auctions and such. Love working out? Train others and motivate them to get healthy. Love gardening? Teach children in your community, or even your own children, how to (this is what my non-profit is going to do btw ;)) All of these things bring communities together. Your passion, while it may be exactly what you need, is not about you because your life is not about you. When you're using it to make a difference you're going to have your sense of purpose filled, you're going to feel great about yourself, and people are going to admire you.

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire - Ferdinand Foch

I'm going to write a post shortly about how to stay inspired so stay tuned!

Update 12/19/2016

The follow up post can be found here: 7 Ways To Become Inspired and Find Your Passion