Sunday, October 27, 2013

3 Things to do to stop a shame spiral

1. Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love (instead of beating up on yourself "You're so stupid!")
2. Reach out to someone you trust who can meet your story with empathy (as opposed to someone who will add to your shame "Ah, that's nothing. I had something much worse.  You're just being silly.")
3. Tell your shame story (as opposed to keeping it silent, secretive and continue judging yourself "I had better keep a tight lid on this otherwise no-one will ever think well of me again.")  

Shame cannot survive being spoken and met with empathy.
- Brene Brown

Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?  Let me tell you: it takes whole truckloads of courage and compassion for yourself...and really good friends and family who love and support you, especially when the shame makes you see yourself differently.  When your trusted ones manage to hold a more balanced view of you and reflect this view back to you, then you can remember who really you are beyond the pain, the shame and the judgment.

So, deep breath.  Talk to yourself like you were your own child, then tell someone your shame story who will listen wisely and empathise with you. And, bam, it goes away (slowly sometimes) and a newer, braver, wisened, more compassionate version of you grows upon this experience.

- Edmund Lee

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