048 The one thing guaranteed to hold you back

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.

The one thing guaranteed to hold you back

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

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We look forward to hearing from you!

11 thoughts on “048 The one thing guaranteed to hold you back

  1. Shame is like preemptively scolding yourself, so that others won’t have to go through the trouble of scolding you. But like irrational fear, it provides a false salvation, because it has no life to give you – only death. I’m excited to think more along those lines of “how we build our own walls of shame”, and the freedom that we have to tear them down. Very encouraging show!

    • Love that comment Andy: “preemptive scolding.” That’s exactly right. Great way to think about it. Thanks for sharing that!

  2. Hello, Leary and Armin.

    Thank you for presenting the topic of shame and for allowing your own vulnerability into the discussion, which certainly invites your listeners to do the same. My family was a very dysfunctional one in which my mother made statements similar to what you experienced and, in addition, brought a man into our home as stepfather who abused my brother, my sister and me physically, emotionally and sexually. The true saving grace for us, in multifaceted ways, was that we were also introduced to Jesus Christ at a very young age (by a teenage babysitter!) and came to accept His precious gift of salvation.

    With that brief introduction, I wanted to add something to your discussion. As you mentioned, realizing that your life is marked by shame is the first great step. In my own experience, it also takes time and faith as well as consistent work to change that. It has been more than 40 years since the little girl inside me was broken and made to feel very ashamed. Thank God that He is patient! And, although I’ve removed countless bricks from my walls, there are days when I’ve cemented a few new ones in place until realizing that my hammer needed to break through them once again. We are all unique individuals, but thankfully the Lord understands who we are and guides us along a healing course designed specifically for each of His beloved children. I offer these comments with prayer for those who have gone through childhood struggles, that they will be patient and trusting, knowing that a loving Lord will graciously steer them forward…”from one degree of glory to another” (II Cor 3:18).

    Thank you again for your encouraging podcast. May your ministry be blessed!


    • Thanks for sharing your story Tammy. God is so good to nurture us through the healing process when we let Him. So appreciate that you shared how He did that for you.

  3. Wow….what a GREAT podcast! I discovered it last night and replayed again and again. And…I will most likely replay some more! Thank you both for your openness on such a deep and personal level. Five and a half years ago I began a journey (at the time NOT a journey I wanted to go on) of looking at all my “stuff”. It has been a slow, painful and tedious process. At 63 I am JUST beginning to “get” it. I keep peeling back the layers and, just when I think I might be “done”, God pulls another something out of his never ending arsenal as if to say, “oh, did I mention this yet?” Really?! I love your “wall of shame” reference. Something new to chew on. I hope a lot of people listen to this podcast. It would encourage many!! You two are the best!

    • Thanks Kristi. It takes courage to plow through the effects of shame-based thinking but we get much healthier as a result. Here’s to your courage and renewed mind. So appreciate that you listened — even more than once 🙂 and especially that you stopped by here to let us know.

  4. Great podcast Leary & Armin!
    The way you dialogue together is wonderful. Thank you for your transparency and all the gifts you share! Looking forward to future shows.
    God bless,

  5. Leary, I love this personal and accurate glimpse into the difference between shame and guilt. Thank you for being brave enough to share your insights on this very relevant topic!!

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