'Shame is the warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, flawed and never good enough.'
- Brené Brown
Uugh, shame, my old nemesis.😩
Perhaps for you, it's a different feeling that catches you unawares, a kind of default mode when you aren't paying attention. Like anxiety or anger or feeling down. 😟
But I know that shame, or its close cousins, guilt, embarrassment and loss of face, get many of us.
Here's a little something, a very trivial incident, but it really triggered my shame. 😨
Oof, a Story About Shame
Last week - post Christmas - I went to a nearby shop to exchange a gift for one of my daughters. It was a brand new t-shirt and I'd kept the receipt, so everything was in order. I popped it into a (white, material) bag and took it along to the store.
When I arrived I got the T-shirt out. I was vaguely aware that it was looking a bit wrinkled and well, not new, with little white fibres on the black material.
But the shop assistant accepted it OK, and I chose a different style - face-timing my daughter (who's in Vienna) to pick a new one out.
After giving me a new receipt, the young salesperson said, quite kindly,
'It's fine, but another time, please make sure that if you return something it's in better condition, because I won't be able to resell it as it is.'
I apologised and left hurriedly ... and was overtaken by a FLOOD of shame. Exactly that feeling that Brené Brown describes.
And I quickly realized that this was, yes, about this incident, but more about OLD SHAME.
All the times in the past that I'd:
- Tried to get away with something
- Put someone else out
- Got into trouble and been told off
- Been sloppy or careless
- Been stupid or idiotic or not good enough
- Felt entitled or superior (whaaaat?!)
- Etc etc etc
This was one of those times when I am SO GLAD TO HAVE A TOOL LIKE EFT TAPPING.
I really voiced all of these feelings, both emotional and physical, as I walked through a nearby park, tapping furiously round the points. (See pic below!)
And I finished with some powerful statements:
- Even though this happened, I love and forgive myself anyway.
- Every time I've done things badly and felt so ashamed in the past, I love and accept myself anyway.
- Even though I'll do things wrong in the future, I love and honour myself.
- I release my ashamed suffering self.
Here's my advice, it may feel weird, but if you get caught in shame (or any other negative feeling) say your thoughts out loud. As you do so, tap round the points and keep going until you feel some relief and recover your perspective.
Here's to your beautiful flawed human-ness. 💓
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