Posts tagged feelings
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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The Other F Word: Feelings
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Just in case nobody in your life has told you this... IT IS OKAY TO HAVE FEELINGS. Even better yet... YOU NEED TO HAVE FEELINGS because if you don't that makes you a sociopath. 

And just in case you haven't been told this either... IT IS OKAY TO FEEL YOUR FEELINGS. There you now have permission to be a human. 

I understand that this is MUCH easier said than done as a lot if not most of us have been raised to believe that showing emotion is showing weakness and that if you feel sad or hurt you need to just bury that deep down in and move on. Well this is SUPER unhealthy and it leads to negative consequences and behaviors later on. Your feelings will manifest later on, but stronger and more powerful if you immediately resist your feelings when they're brought up. 

What you resist persists

Let's talk about core feelings

What I'm realizing more and more (including in myself) is that society doesn't really ever talk about feelings, like what they are and how it feels to feel them. You can't talk about how you feel shame if you don't even know that shame is a feeling, right? So I'm going to list out core feelings so when you feel something and you can't identify exactly what you're feeling and you want shove it under the figurative rug in your head you can refer to this this and distinguish it. 

ANGER

FEAR

SAD

HURT/PAIN

LONELY

GUILT

SHAME

LOVE

HAPPY

JOY

GRATITUDE

WILLING

HOPEFUL

PEACE

And just as a reminder: all feelings are okay

The way out is always through

I can verify first hand that shoving your feelings deep down inside is super unhealthy. Personally, I did it because I thought it made me independent. If nobody knew that they could make me feel an emotion that meant I had complete autonomy of my emotions and that made me stronger and invincible. 

No, no, no. It made me weaker, apathetic, and I was called a robot multiple times. I thought it was endearing at the time, but looking back it was naive and childish and I'm paying for it now by having to sort through the emotions I didn't deal with back then. 

Our emotions and feelings control us if we resist them and until we allow ourselves to really feel the emotion they'll incubate and grow stronger. Anger is a huge one for this. I know that if I am truly angry at someone and I don't talk about that anger, I just shut my mouth until I'm "over it" that I'm going to end up exploding at them for the stupidest thing. 

Talking through your emotions is essential for healthy relationships, too. I really mean this. Not talking about your feelings can lead to codependency and depression and weaker relationships. If you directly state what you want and what you're feeling you'll create an environment where clear and MEANINGFUL communication can occur. Whether your relationship is romantic or platonic it is important to remember that talking about your feelings should strengthen the relationship and if it weakens it you should rethink who you're spending time with. It is important for your growth and sanity that you're in an environment where feelings are okay to be discussed. 

HOW to talk about your feelings

If you're at all like me THIS is where you struggle. I know I need to feel my feelings, I know I need to talk about my feelings, but for some reason knowing I need to do it didn't motivate me enough to actually do it because I didn't know HOW to talk about them. So don't worry, I got your back. 

First thing you need to do is resort to the list of core emotions. You need to identify which feelings you're feeling and use the words. Don't use a weaker synonym version of the word to shake it off. You're entitled to feel that emotion and synonyms will often times have skewed meaning and the goal here is for clear, meaningful communication. 

Next see if you can figure out why you're feeling that way. If you know a person is causing you to feel that way use the "I feel ____ when you ____" set up. So "I feel hurt, sad, and lonely when you make plans with me and cancel last minute" and an example is also necessary so "like that time when we planned to go to the concert together and the day of you called and told me you couldn't make it". This is healthy communication. The other person can't say "oh I don't do that" because you gave them a concrete example. And you're feelings have been stated and now they know that they caused you to feel those negative feelings. 

If you don't know why you're feeling a certain way just start talking about your feelings. Find a trusted friend and say "I'm not sure why, but I'm feeling sad right now" and allow yourself to feel sad. If it's consistent you should seek therapy (or really just seek therapy anyway because every single person should be in therapy) and maybe see if you can talk through why. Personally my go-to is my mom because I can literally be like "ugh I feel so sad today for no reason" and she'll point blank tell me "there's definitely a reason" and list to me alllllll the things in my life that could be making me sad and once I identify it I can feel it and let it go. 

And then allow yourself time to feel it. Rushing this is counterproductive. Take the time to heal. You wouldn't take your cast off of your leg after 2 days and say "well I need to get over this and walk because I have stuff to do" because you would re break it right? Same thing with your feelings. You need to treat your emotions as REAL and don't push them aside too early. Everyone is different and you're allotted as much time as you need to heal. 

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