Annihilate Shame!

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Good Morning My Friends,

On every single call I’ve had this week, shame has come up.  Then a friend shared this amazing quote (which is what I am thankful for this week):

“Shame is a nebulous emotion, instantly spotted but variously defined.  It includes the natural human response to being seen in a negative light, a compromising pose.  Different from guilt for having violated one’s moral code, shame has more to do with a feeling of smallness, a perception of oneself as an object of contempt, unworthy of others’ care, and thus under threat of abandonment.  We feel ashamed because we are seen in our nakedness when clothes are called for, seen in our neediness when independence is praised, seen in our ignorance when we didn’t even know we didn’t know.  Shame is the natural response to deception or betrayal but also to realizing we have participated in our own deception, our eyes not yet open to what others could see.” (Wendy Ulrich)

I love how this quote points out the different ways shame raises it’s ugly head.  These explanations of shame help to normalize it.  I appreciate that seeing shame in this light helps to expose that there is not really any reason to feel shame because we are all just human, and we can’t know what we don’t know.  It is so interesting that as this quote points out, shame is all about how we perceive others see us.  It’s all about how we are seen or how we are seeing ourself.

Shame is one of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of the adversary.  This is the only human emotion that I’ve examined that doesn’t have an upside.  Shame makes us want to hide, isolate, shut down, and totally disengage.  During my coaching sessions this week, it became evident that shame keeps us stuck or spiraling downward because it blocks compassion and forgiveness for oneself.  We must eradicate the shame in order to access grace.

The trick to kicking shame to the curb, is to share with a trusted friend or coach what you are feeling ashamed about.  If that confidante can then relate and validate the person from a “me too” approach, all the shame will dissipate.  “Me too” pops the shame bubble every time and gets us progressing to the growth stage.

My challenge for you this week is to annihilate any shame that comes up.  I am so thankful for the hyper-awareness that I now have about shame.

What are you thankful for?