A new year and you’re off to a great start. But there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to hold you back: shame. Left unchecked, it’ll keep you from your very best.
This week’s Inspire Me quote is from E. E. Cummings:
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
In this episode Leary and Armin talked about the one thing that will keep you from taking risk, from really stretching yourself this year: shame.
Leary told his story about how, over the last three years, he has been unpacking the effects that growing up in a dysfunctional family system had on him. He learned to create shame in his own life from boyhood. Leary shared the breakthrough discoveries he made at his most recent personal planning retreat and how that has liberated his thinking about shame.
Shame is way of thinking, related to guilt, but significantly different. Shame is the belief that you are fundamentally defective or unacceptable. Guilt is the belief that you did something wrong. Recognizing shame-based thinking can be very difficult for people who have grown up in family systems that regularly engaged in it.
The shame-based person is always seeking validation from others to feel good about themselves. As a result, they take fewer risks, play life safer, tend to respond more defensively when challenged, are less open to share and live with a sense that they have something to prove to others or to themselves.
Shame exists, to one degree or another, in all of us. It’s an attribute of what the Bible calls our “flesh.” The idea of shame is not new. It’s been around since the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were naked and felt shame. For the first time they needed a covering, and in a very real way, we’ve been manufacturing more sophisticated forms of covering for ourselves ever since.
Shame can never really be fully eliminated, but it can be managed. The first step is to become shame aware, knowing when you engaging in shaming yourself or another and choosing to adopt a more healthy, truthful view.
This week’s Challenge Me:
Start tracking how many shame statements you say to yourself. Any name calling like, “I’m an idiot,” is a symptom of shame. Begin to notice how those messages might be communicated in your family system, and how you may have communicated them to others. If you have comments or suggestions that may be helpful to others about shame, please leave a comment on our show notes at reinventure.me/48
Resources mentioned or related to this podcast that may be helpful to you:
- How mindset affects your next great beginning, Reinventure Me episode 4 on mindset. Fixed mindsets are most susceptible to shame.
- How to have a personal planning retreat, Reinventure Me episode 46 on taking time away for a personal planning retreat.
- Listening to shame, Houston University researcher, Brene Brown’s TED talk on this topic.