Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
This week’s episode is a continuation of last week’s Q & A episode. Listen to episode 43 >
In this episode, Jodi answers more excellent questions about addressing shame in relationships with self and others:
- How do you do your best at something without The Voice (shame)?
- How do you re-evaluate safety when you recognize that relationships are unhealthy or co-dependent?
- What is the difference between “getting rid of the list” (not holding past actions over the other person’s head) and navigating a relationship where one or both partners are not safe for the other?
- How do you build trust when it has either been broken or has (in retrospect) never really been established in a marriage in the first place?
- Do I need to go back to my childhood to identify where The Voice (shame) came from, or can I simply recognize I have it and move forward, shining truth on it?
Episode 44: Q&A #2 — The Voice (Shame) in Relationships (Part 2)
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are so excited to introduce to you the opportunity for you to join us in a classroom setting where you will be taught the principles of connection. For those of you who have already joined us on the podcasts, and for those for you who have not, you are now ready to step into an extensive, hands-on, all-star classroom experience to better understand why you are experiencing and interpreting life the way that you do.
You will be introduced to the foundational principles of personal integrity, which are: how to live impeccable honesty, rigorous personal responsibility, humility, vulnerability, openness, willingness, transparency, and boundaries.
This is a 12-week intensive course that consists of meeting one time a week for two hours. You will be given six workbooks. In each workbook, instruction will be given to you on core concepts of how to live your life from a position of emotional honesty, Reality, Truth, boundaries, validation, being able to recognize your distortions, and how choice plays a central role in all of your experiences and emotional outcomes.
Some of the concepts covered inside of the classroom include: what validation and vulnerability are and how to animate those principles your life; how to live in Truth rather than distortion; how to recognize your distraction and your controlling behavior in your relationships; and how to live a life of peace rather than pain. Powerful concepts that change lives, beginning with yours.
Hundreds of people have participated already, and have drastically transformed their lives by living and being in Truthful, emotionally honest relationships. They report experiences of personal empowerment and emotional and mental sophistication being introduced into their relationships.
So, now it’s your turn to come and participate. This classroom experience will change the way you interact with yourself and others in powerful ways, giving you the tools and emotional sophistication to connect deeply inside yourself and invite other in your life to do the same.
Come and experience connection. Go to www.ConneXionsClassroom.com, and hit the “Go to Academy” button and sign up. I look forward to meeting you and connecting.
Good morning and welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast for the week of February 28th, 2015. Glad you’re with us this morning. I want to do another question and answer around the concepts of shame or the topics of shame. I get a lot of questions about how to understand this concept and my experience is that as people are understanding shame and specifically shame versus guilt, it takes them a while. It’s a new way to think, it’s a new way to scrutinize and be thoughtful about how you’ve positioned so much of your life.
A lot of us don’t want to look at it because it’s uncomfortable, we’ve already kind of created all of our meanings and all of our angles in life and we want to be comfortable with how we’ve positioned things. And it really is not comfortable to go back and say, “Wow, did I position that in an angle of distortion? Is that really the Truth of how I’ve defined or put meaning to that particular thought, or concept, or idea, or relationship?” I need to go back and be thoughtful, and really be humble, and make sure that the way that I’ve interpreted that is accurate.
Here are some questions that people have.
How do you do your best at something without shame?
That’s an interesting question because the answer is actually inside the question. The way to do your best at something without shame is to do your best. However, shame comes in and says well, it’s not your best, it’s not enough. That’s your first tipoff that you have a distortion going on, because obviously, if you’re doing the best you can at something, then you cannot do any more. There’s no more enough to do. And that phrase or that word of “enough” when it is used in the context of critiquing myself—not enough or maybe I did too much and so I feel bad because I’ve done too much. Or maybe I feel like an exception because I’ve done so much, like I’m exceptional or I’m better than you because I do so much for people or for my project or whatever.
Either one of those reactions are along the shame continuum. Shame is one side of this sliding scale and pride is on the other. However, both of those two entities fall underneath the cover of shame or distortion or fear. Fear is another way to talk about it. Fear always accompanies shame. So, I’m afraid that I’m not enough, I’m afraid that I didn’t do enough.
There’s no way to do your best at something if shame is inside the equation. There’s just no way because you can give all that you have and shame will still say mm-mm, not enough, you fell short on that, that’s something that you “should have” done more of, been better at, it needs to be different, it’s not right somehow.
How do you do your best at something without shame? You really look at what you’ve done—if you’re inside of a relationship, you look at all the choices you’re making or you’ve made and you critique those choices by saying to yourself or telling yourself the Truth about those choices. What more do I feel would have been appropriate to do? Not that I “should have done.” Because when I use that word “should” I’m looking at the other person or I’m looking at the situation on the backside after everything has played out and saying, “Well, if I would have done that… If this would have happened.”
And so, when I start looking outside of myself and critiquing or trying to control what’s outside of myself, I will always be deceived because I cannot control what’s outside myself.
For example, I have a relationship, let’s say the relationship has gone south and so if I say, “Well, if I would have just done this then that wouldn’t have happened,” that statement of that wouldn’t have happened is me playing God. It’s me saying, “I know how to control things, that if this, and this, and this would have happened, then this, and this, and this would have happened.” Well, the Truth is, is that if I would have done, this, and this, and this different, then I don’t know what the outcome would have been, I have no idea because I don’t control how the other person interprets. I mean, they’re in their free agency as well and so they can interpret whatever I do in whatever way they want. They might interpret it in Truth, they might interpret it in distortion. I have no clue, I have no control over that.
And so, I need to really stay humble and keep my focus and attention on myself. So, when I do my best, I am only looking at myself and I say did I give all that I had? Did I give all my energy? Did I give my time? Did I give my thoughts? Did I spend time studying this concept or this experience? I really critique myself but not in a bashing way where I’ve got a whip figuratively hitting myself, like did I do enough, did I do all that I could, did I do my best?”
And people get into this cycle of what if I don’t know what my best is? How could I know I do my best if I don’t know what my best is? Well, that kind of circular thinking means you’re caught in shame because you get to know what your best is, you get to lay down at night and say to yourself, “I gave all that I had. I ran as fast as I could,” literally or figuratively.
A quick story. I was with my son as he was playing in a basketball tournament and he had struggled in his first game, and playing basketball comes pretty easily to him and quite naturally to him. And he just struggled in the first game, things weren’t happening for him the way that he was used to. They lost their game.
In between the first game and the second game that he was getting ready to play, he and I had a conversation, we sat down at lunch and he was in full-on shame and his faulty core beliefs were going wild. I just said to him, “What’s going on?” He’s like, “I just can’t stop thinking about what if… What if I miss? What if I shoot and they get the rebound? What if this happens?” And he just felt like he couldn’t do it, that he just wasn’t enough, that he wasn’t doing his best.
We talked for a few minutes about, “Listen, this is your last game and you can have whatever experience you want in this game, you have already practiced, you have all the skills that you need, they’re all inside you already. You have earned the skill-set that you posses and your job is to relax and let that come out and play to the best of your ability.”
Now, when we talked about that—he and I have talked so many times about shame and how it attacks us, and so, that was all I needed to say to him for him to be able to reposition his thoughts and reposition his meanings around himself to say, “Okay, you’re right. I do have the skill-set. I know how good I can play. I know that I know how to do this skill and I’m going to go out and relax and play to my best ability.”
And his next game, he did. He was relaxed. They actually lost their second game. However, when I approached him after the game, I came up to him and the first thing he said to me was, “I feel really good about myself. I did my best.” And I just hugged him, it was a proud moment as a mother. Even though they lost, he really was in Truth because he did not connect the loss with him, like if I would have done this, or if I could have done that then we would have won— he didn’t do that. He said, “I in myself feel like I’ve done my best. I did my best.” And he was proud of himself.
He had a healthy sense of pride—because there is such a thing as having healthy pride, like I know that I performed, my performance was not connected to the outcome, I let the outcome be whatever it was and realize that I couldn’t control that because I wasn’t the only one that was affecting this outcome.
That’s how you do your best at something without shame, is you practice, practice, practice staying out of that distortion because shame will say you never can do your best, it’s never enough.
Second question: How do you reevaluate safety when you recognize that relationships are unhealthy or codependent? This person said, “I think human nature says to ease out of habitual behavior to not rock the boat too much. However, emotional integrity would say that easing out of a codependent relationship would involve some sort of dishonesty or codependency.”
First of all, let’s talk about why this question has shame in it. So, the question is, how do I reevaluate safety when I recognize that my relationships are unhealthy?
What I’m hearing this person ask is, how do I recognize whether I’m safe or they’re safe or not, when I see that they’re showing up in a codependent or unhealthy way?
Codependency is being driven by shame. When I’m in a codependent reaction or response, or dynamic, I am reacting to shame messages, to faulty core beliefs. This person is wondering how do I recognize if I’m safe or also if they’re safe when I see that there’s codependency coming, when I see or hear there’s shame coming towards me?
The way you do that, the way you recognize whether you’re safe or not, is you do the very thing that they’re asking: you recognize whether there’s shame. So if you see codependency coming towards you, and if you don’t know what that means, we have a couple of podcasts talking about faulty core beliefs and codependent relationships. I encourage you to listen to those because they’ll explain what those things are, but just know that shame drives codependency. Shame says I’m not enough on my own. It’s kind of like going back to the first question, I’m not enough and so I need you, or I need that, or I need it, or them, or those in order to fill my soul. I need something external to “make me” feel whole, feel fulfilled.
That is just not the Truth. So, I recognize that that is coming towards me or I recognize it in myself, and if I am feeling or seeing shame come towards me, I can ask the person if they’re aware that they’re in that state. You could say to them, especially if they’re familiar with these concepts, “That sounds like a shame message. I don’t know if it is or not but it just feels that way.” Basically, you’re asking them to look at themselves and critique themselves.
Now, if somebody doesn’t know this language you probably won’t be able to say that because they would have no idea what you’re talking about. But you could say to them, “When I hear you say such and such, it feels confusing to me. Could you please explain why you’re saying that?” Because you’re trying to get to the meaning of the person, not you interpret their meaning, you need to ask them for their meaning and as you hear their meaning, you’ll better be able to assess whether shame is attached to it or not because you’ll hear it. I mean, if you’re really good at recognizing shame, you can hear its aggressive language in the person, like what we were just talking about: I’m not enough, I’m bad, I’m unworthy.
Or they go over to the other side which is the pride side and they say well, I’m just better than you, or I’m better than they are, or I deserve these things, or this shouldn’t have happened to me, or these things always happen to me, or I’m different, I’m unique, I’m special, I get everything right.
That’s more the pride side versus the shame side that says, I’m inadequate, I’m insufficient, I’m dumb, I’m incapable—those kinds of statements.
And again, they don’t have to literally say those things but the way that they talk, they will tell you how they’re actually thinking through the way that they choose their language. If you pay attention, you’ll be able to hear that. And so, when you hear those kinds of statements or that kind of phraseology, it is symptomatic—it is an indicator that they are thinking in a shame-based manner, and if shame is present, they will have to be codependent with something or someone, it’s just how it works. If A + B shows up, C will always be the end result. It’s a given every time.
So, evaluating safety, you have to first recognize if shame is present and when you do, then you need to know that emotionally you will not be in a safe dynamic because codependency / shame / fear (because it’s all coming from the same source) is not safe, and why is it not safe? Because there’s not honesty in it, the person does not know how to be emotionally honest. Maybe they don’t know how to be factually honest, and so you cannot be safe with someone that is not sharing honest terms with you.
And so, that is how you evaluate safety, is you recognize, not only for yourself but for the other person, how much shame is present or how they speak in fear terms or codependent terms, that’s how you realize it.
Now, that doesn’t mean that you cut off relationships with this person, it just means that there’s distortion in their perception. And so, especially if you’re really good at assessing shame, you can then invite them to exit out of their shame, exit out of their distortion, invite them to think of things in a different way, or put new meaning on things, and so it’s a very compassionate thing to do.
This is what I do all day in therapy, is I invite people to shift out of their distortions, help them think about the things that they think and become more curious and sympathetic to themselves and also empathic towards themselves, like wow, why am I thinking the way that I am? And as they shift and they get into Truth, then they can be safe, they can be emotionally safe for themselves and for the dynamics or relationships that they’ve created.
Next question. I would love to hear a podcast discussing the difference between “getting rid of the list” (a.k.a. not holding onto past actions over the other person’s head) and then navigating your relationship where one or both parties are not safe for the other.
That first part, how do I get rid of “the list?” Basically, how do I let go of what sounds like resentments actually. How do I let go of these things, this list that someone has done to me—not hold past actions over the other person’s head?
Again, that sounds like a resentment or resentments because you’ve got to get to a bigger Truth. How do you let go of things that have happened to you and not hold them over somebody’s head? You have to get to an angle where you realize that that person does not have that power to do something like that to you. Now, that’s a huge angle, so if you step back far enough and if I could sit with you and say, “Here’s the situation and then let’s elevate ourselves above it really far so you can get a huge perspective.” It’s kind of like have this person stand here and then you and I are going to get into a plane and we’re going to go above this person so we can see a bigger radius of land and see what’s around them.
That’s how big you’ve got to get because the Truth is, is that people do affect us. There are things that people do every day, all day long that affect us. I mean, just get on the freeways, right? People are affecting us all over the place. Or walk into a place of business where you work, all of your coworkers are affecting you. Or get into an intimate relationship. Those relationships affect us.
Now, some of our relationships and some of our coworkers affect us in ways that are really positive and we like that, and we want to spend more time with them or we enjoy interacting them.
And then, the antithesis is true, that we have experiences that are just not too pleasant and what we’ve done is we’ve taken the unpleasant experiences and said to ourselves, well, because it’s unpleasant then it means it’s bad and I don’t want any bad or uncomfortable experiences with this thing or this person, and so I’m going to then blame them for what they’ve “done to me.”
And the Truth is, is that they haven’t done those things to you. They have affected you just as you have and do affect them. But you get to be the judge and jury, it’s kind of a prideful position—we talked a second ago about that continuum of shame and pride. It’s a very prideful position to say, “You’ve done that to me because I get to be the judge and jury. Because of what you did that I didn’t like, I’m going to hold that as a thought, as a belief, as a place of anger, and any time I think of you, or any time I talk about you, or anytime I see you, I’m going to have this memory come up and I’m going to remember, yeah, you did that to me.”
And what if the Truth was that the thing that they “did to you” was actually a gift for you? What if it was something that was there to really benefit you? Maybe not in the moment because the moment was or is so uncomfortable, but what if down the road you had this perspective, remember, you’re in the plane and you’re looking above, and you’re seeing this wide view—perspective—what if down the road, you could connect that that experience was such a blessing to you?
Most of you would say, “Well, then I’d be grateful at that time.” And I’d say, “What happened to the years or the months or the days of you being angry at this person and ‘holding it’ over their head? Only to find out down the road that actually it was a blessing, or a gift, or something that was really helpful to you in disguise ,and the reason it’s in disguise is because your shame or your pride says that’s bad, so all of a sudden you’ve disguised it.”
So, what if you were to sit in a place in life where your experiences were not bad or good? Where you got rid of that vernacular and talked about experience as comfortable or uncomfortable? And you did not ascribe blame to self or to someone else?
From my angle, that would be a very wise position to be in because the Truth is that experience is just that—it’s experience. It’s not personal. It’s not personal. It may be uncomfortable, it may be something that you would prefer not to have. However, experience is not personal. It’s there to teach you things. And I’m very aware that people who are listening to this—and I in my own life have had experiences that I’m telling you are not personal, that have felt very personal, very personal. And so, I’m not being Pollyanna here, I’m very aware of how personal experience can feel. And it doesn’t mean that you are caught in shame for the rest of your life if you have experience and all of a sudden it feels personal. But my invitation to you and to me is to think about those and transcend the personalization of the experience so that you can get out of that illusion of shame. I mean, I’ve needed to do that, I will continue to need to do that.
I woke up the other morning, and this is kind of a funny little thing but I woke up and all of the cold cereal was gone. I went into shame and I’m like, who ate all that? I just bought that box of cereal, don’t they think about anyone else? And I went into all these blaming, very personalized—the cereal being gone was a very personal attack to me and after about five or six thoughts in my head I just kind of chuckled as I walked to the refrigerator like, what am I doing? I got caught so quickly in that, and realized that this wasn’t personal.
Again, I’m not being light about the experiences where there’s death, or there’s trauma, or there’s some kind of betrayal that goes on—I’m very aware those things happen, and have happened in my own life. And, and you can transcend them, you can get up in this aerial view and see a wider perspective so that you don’t get caught in the illusion, the confusion of shame and thinking that things are personal.
So, how do you not hold something over somebody’s head is that you get in that aerial view, you get in that plane and you get above the situation as high as you can—it’s kind of like you’ve got to get altitude on it so that you can see clearly what’s really happening which is, nothing in life is personal.
Now, depending on the kind of experiences you’ve had, you’re going to have to process things. You can’t just say, “Okay, that wasn’t personal.” As a therapist, I would walk you through that, let’s have you feel how personal it felt, let’s have you feel the anger of that, let’s have you feel how betrayed you felt. But you can listen to my words, I don’t say how betrayed you were, or how they did this to you. I would use terms that are temporary, like your feelings of anger and why it looked like this particular thing, why it looked like they ate all the cereal just to upset you. Let’s talk about that.
And then, as you’re able to process those emotions, and feel those emotions, and put language to those emotions, then I would invite you to say, are you ready to reframe that experience? Are you ready to hold it from a different perspective and realize that that person was not thinking about harming you?
And let’s say that the person was, let’s say the person absolutely had a vendetta and was vindictive and said, “I’m going to hurt you,” and then they do. Even then, it’s not personal because they don’t have the capacity to access you. Remember, you are a soul and your soul is not accessible to anyone else. Your body is but your spirit is not. Your spirit is tucked away inside your body, safe and sound, and no one can touch it. But boy, does the body get affected, it gets affected in all sorts of ways.
So, how do you navigate a relationship where one or both partners are not safe with the other? What that means is if I or my partner is not safe that means we’re full of shame. So, how do you navigate a relationship? Well, I can’t do anything for that person but I can do all sorts of things for me.
That’s how I navigate it, is I get myself into Truth, I get myself into the perspective where things are not personal, I get really good at recognizing drama, which is codependency, and I make myself safe not only for myself but for my relationships. And I can invite my relationships to enter into safety with me—navigate their shame—but I can’t do it for them.
The last part of that question is, how do you build trust when it has either been broken or has in retrospect never really been established in the marriage?
So, how do you build trust or how do you reestablish trust when it’s been broken? Very similar to what we’ve already been talking about. I focus on myself because I’m the only one that can manage me, I’m the only one that can choose for me.
So, if trust has been broken, if there was trust and there’s been lies and deception, again that’s being driven by shame. So, I can’t rebuild something if it’s not on my end, so if I’m carrying a beam—a piece of wood—and you’re on the other side and I drop my side or I cut my piece of wood and now we’re separate, that’s on my side, so I need to clean up my side, I need to pick up my side. I need to either go get a new piece of wood or I need to somehow mend that back together, but if I’ve done something that has broken trust, then it’s my responsibility to reestablish it, which means it’s my responsibility to get into Truth, to get into humility which means I need to own whatever it is that I’ve done that was dishonest, or devious, or that I’ve done to harm that person, I must humbly acknowledge that and take responsibility for that, and go through some type of process of repentance with myself and possibility with that person if I’ve affected them. And it needs to involve the steps of repentance and there is a podcast on repentance that I would encourage you to listen to if you don’t know how to thoroughly repent.
Now, if trust has never really been established, that’s really unfortunate. If I’m in a marriage and I’ve never had trust, then I’ve got to look at myself because I’m a part of why trust has never been established. Am I not trustworthy? Am I not safe? Am I not open to be vulnerable in this dynamic? Why am I a part of a dynamic where I have not risked in such a way to see if this person is safe so that trust could be established? Because trust doesn’t just come, trust is an outcome of feeling safe in a relationship. It’s an outcome of risking in a relationship where when I risk, I am met with safety. And every time I risk and I’m met with safety from the other person, then I feel relaxed, and as I feel more and more relaxed, then I can start thinking about trusting this person.
It’s about consistency. It’s about me being consistent, it’s about them being consistent. And it doesn’t mean perfection. Consistency does not mean perfection. Consistency means that when I or they make a mistake or do something that is selfish or do something that is dishonest at some level, you know, we’re not talking about big, huge things like going and cheating on someone, I’m talking about things like, I said I’d be here at 6 and I was here at 6:15. And I don’t want to say those are little things but they’re just in a different category—I was 15 minutes late versus I went and cheated on someone. I mean, the intentionality, the desire to deceive is much greater, or the desire to be selfish is on a much greater scale, me cheating on someone, versus me being self-centered and not showing up when I said I would.
That’s how I start establishing trust, is I show up in a very consistent manner, and when I don’t, I am quick to apologize, I am quick to own it. Again, I’d listen to the repentance podcast. Apologies are very, very important but you can also use apologies and be very flippant or very casual with them where you just say, “Oh, I’m sorry.” And then, you never do anything to change and so you, the person, doesn’t really feel the remorse, the possible regret or pain. You don’t empathize with what you’ve just done and how you’ve affected another person.
And if you’re not willing to risk, and be humble, and really feel those emotions of how you’ve impacted another and also impacted yourself—because when you show up in dishonesty or you show up in selfishness, you very much hurt yourself—you’re the primary not only offender, but the person who takes offense to that; you immediately go into shame.
And so, you need to feel remorse towards self as well, like gaul, I didn’t show up for myself, I don’t want to be that way, I want to be different. But you must feel a level of emotion and sorrow for the things you have done so that as you feel that level of sorrow, it will drive you to never do that again.
Again, as you move along this scale of seriousness of grievance in behavior, the more and more sorrow you’re going to feel or you need to feel. Now, one of shame’s functions is to block off emotion. It doesn’t want you to feel. It wants to dictate to you what to feel, like you should feel bad or you should feel better.
Shame has two emotions. It’s I’m better than you or I’m worse than you. Those are the two emotions that shame shows up as. And what empathy does is empathy feels the emotion of connection. So, when I’ve breached connection because I have not done or I said something or I have violated a connection with someone, I will naturally feel badly about that.
Now, if I have lots of shame in me, when I say I’ll naturally feel bad about it, if I have a lot of shame I won’t feel anything, I’ll just kind of stare at them like what’s wrong with you? Why are you having a problem with this? But what that means is that I’m just numb, it’s not because I’m not human and I don’t really feel, it’s because I have trained myself to not feel. So I need to be willing to sit in a place of humility over and over and over again, and have that person or have another person—a therapist, a friend or somebody—walk me through why what I did was so harmful, why the choices I made devastated that person. And I have to be willing to think about them. And when I start thinking about them and taking ownership for them, naturally I will start feeling. It just will be a byproduct. But it takes a lot of humility to do that.
That’s how you establish or reestablish trust, is the person who has breached it is responsible to reestablish it. And usually, it’s on both sides. Nobody is perfect in this life and in our relationships and so there’s things that both people are doing that are whittling away safety and connection in the dynamic.
Now, sometimes people do egregious things like I said, like go off and break some kind of marital covenant with their spouse, which is kind of like a spotlight effect, everybody knows it, everybody can see it, yet all the other things that go on that we would consider small things that are eroding safety, and connection, and trust are happening oftentimes on a daily basis. I mean, we’re moving one direction or we’re moving the other. There’s no being stagnant in a relationship so I’m either adding to safety in my dynamic or I’m eroding from it. And the way that we add to it is we must be conscious. You cannot have a trusting, loving, connected, safe relationship by being unconscious. It’s impossible. If you are unconscious and you’re just kind of going through the motions, and just kind of reacting to life, and just getting up and not paying attention, and doing what you want, and kind of blowing things off, or not recognizing how you’re affecting somebody else, but you’re not doing anything super egregious, you still are disconnecting because connection involves and requires awareness, being conscious, and making conscious choices of how to keep yourself healthy, filling yourself and doing self-care for you, which then as you love yourself, you will in turn naturally want to love others.
Another question: Do I need to go back and realize all the different areas in my life where shame was created, and identify where the shame came from? Or can I simply recognize I have it and move forward in Truth?
There’s no way to remember all of your history. There’s just no possible way. And the things that we do remember, sometimes we take them out of context. We don’t know we’re doing it but a lot of times we are because we don’t have that kind of immediate playback. So, do I need to recognize in my childhood where the shame came from or just recognize that I have it?
So, if you can remember experiences where shame was present, then that’s awesome because you can then reframe it. Remember, nothing in life is personal, so all those experiences from your childhood that you took personal, where you interpreted shame around them, you can go back and logically walk yourself through and say, “Okay, phew, I’m so glad that wasn’t personal.”
But if you aren’t able—and for a lot of people they’re not able to go back and remember childhood, some people have no memories of their childhood. Some people are really capable of remembering all sorts of details from childhood. It’s just about recognizing that you have it in the present day, and so you don’t have to worry about oh my goodness, I’m not going to be able to connect to where it came from so I can’t heal it—that’s not true. Because shame comes in themes, it comes in a theme of, like, I’m unworthy, or I’m dumb, or I’m not beautiful, or I’m incapable. Those are themes and because they are thematic—shame is thematic—it’s quite easy to grab onto and then heal because I can be inadequate in lots of different areas, like feel inadequate in lots of different areas like, I don’t know how to do school, I don’t know how to play the piano, I’m inadequate in cooking, I’m inadequate at driving. I mean, shame can attach itself to any kind of experience and keep saying that I’m inadequate, or I’m not enough, or I’m incapable. Or it can attach to I’m the best, I’m the best all those things. And so, I never allow myself to be in the Truth because I’m always the best.
I might cook a meal and it may not be too savory, however I say, “Isn’t that the best? Isn’t that the best meal? Wasn’t I the best cook? Didn’t I do the best job?” And the person is sitting there thinking, uhh… no this isn’t the best meal I’ve ever had, it’s actually not very good at all, I don’t really enjoy this. But because of my pride, I’m caught in this distortion saying, no, you must think that I’m the best. So when the person gives me the true feedback from them that says this is not very good, my pride / my shame gets all offended, my ego gets offended. And I either say to myself, well, that person is just clueless or I’m not cooking for them again.
Basically, I don’t allow you to have your experience because it offends me. Your experience of true is offensive to me and so I’m just not going to be in the dynamic with you or I’m going to get my feelings hurt, or I’m going to go into some kind of controlling position of pouting, or maybe saying mean things about you because I don’t want your feedback because I don’t know how to put it into my system, because my system says I’m the best and anyone who doesn’t say I’m the best I can’t have a relationship with.
So, instead of being humble and realizing like, oh, well maybe I’m not the best at this and realizing that that doesn’t take away from my worth or my value because I don’t know how to do that, I get caught in shame. And so, I have to sever these kinds of dynamics with people. Or I sever relationships with things because “I have to have” that feedback, when the Truth is that I need to be humble and realize that it’s okay that I’m not the best, I don’t even know what the best is. Who is the best?
I mean, there’s always somebody that does something that’s “better” than you. It always makes me kind of scratch my head when I watch the Olympics and somebody comes in a tenth of a second behind somebody else and they’re shamed, their head’s down, it’s like oh my gosh, you’re the second fastest in the world and if we would have done this race again you probably could have beat them, you guys would have back and forth and so there really isn’t the best, it’s just in that moment, in that experience that person came out a tenth of a second faster than you. And it’s such a funny little thing that we as humans do that we say, “Well, then they’re the best.” It’s like oh my gosh, we’re a mess. It really is kind of humorous that at some level we have positioned ourselves as being this perspective that we’re going to call “what’s the best in our world” when there are always new angles to be presented or people can do things faster.
I was looking in the paper and I was looking at a basketball team, Brigham Young University’s basketball team, and they had in the paper the top scorers over the last 30 years. As we moved along the timeline, every year as we got closer to the present day there was a new best score. And so, last year there was someone who said they were the best in scoring and then this year somebody passed him so now they’re the best.
This word “the best” is always moving and it just kind of makes me smile because it’s a setup for shame. And the Truth is, is that this person just scored this many points in the season. That’s awesome. But I’m sure somebody in the next year or two years will pass them, and so now they’re the best.
It’s an interesting dynamic, I’d encourage you to think about it because we get caught in it quite quickly.
So, you don’t need to recognize your history from your childhood, it’s just a matter of hearing it in the present and then going back and reframing it in Truth.
I’m going to end there, hopefully this has been a helpful experience for you. There are several more questions on shame, I think I’ll do a third podcast on that to answer these. Enjoy your day, it’s a beautiful day where I am on the planet, and I hope that you’ll enjoy yourself and most importantly, stay connected. Stay connected to yourself and stay connected to your relationships. You know how to do that. You do that by recognizing that life and experience is not personal, and you pay attention and stay out of shame.
Take care and we’ll talk to each other next week. Bye bye.
Thank you so much for listening to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. If this episode has been insightful or meaningful to you, don’t forget to leave a comment on this episode’s podcast page or like, share and tweet about it on social media.
Emotional honesty and personal responsibility are the only ways to create true connection inside your relationships and we need your help to share this vital message. Please sign up to be a part of our social media team. Go to www.connexionsclassroom.com/smteam and find out there how you can be a part of connecting.
See the following materials for more in-depth study of the topics in this podcast: