On the Road to Understanding Shame

Klara road

Photo By Klara Pospisilova

In my last post, the difference between guilt and shame was discussed (click here to read). But what are the feelings and emotions most commonly associated with shame? Typically they are feelings of unworthiness, berating, criticizing, and other self-defeating emotions, in fact the expression, “Shame On Me!” already implies that you have done something wrong. But are there other sentiments or reactions which stem from the negative things we have learned to believe about ourselves?

To begin, there are varying degrees to which people experience shame. Sometimes those feelings aren’t too terribly negative while in extreme cases, it creates complete devastation and destruction in someone’s life. If this were to be put on a graph, the most overwhelming feelings would be at a -10 while the less extreme would be closer to -1 or 0.

However, is it possible that shame can generate opposite effects; ones which are on the + side of the scale emulating those of arrogance? Does shame manifest in some as a false confidence leading to the belief that we are better than who or what we really are? This will be discussed in the next post but I would love to hear your thoughts in the interim. Thank you.

To find out more about the book “Shame On Me” – Healing a Life of Shame-Based Thinking, please visit http://www.gcegroup.net.

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Overcoming Our Own Negative Beliefs

Klara

Photo By Klara Pospisilova

All of us at one point in time have questioned our own abilities and self-worth which can become more confusing by believing negative things about who we are. In the last post (click here to read), it was discussed how pervasive this type of thinking can be. But how do we overcome this way of thinking?

Those negative thoughts we believe about ourselves are best defined by the word “Shame”. Shame is often confused with guilt which is understandable because they form similar emotional and physical feelings. The distinction comes when it’s understood from a psychological perspective. Guilt occurs when we do something wrong and feel badly about it. Guilty feelings help change our future behaviors. Shame on the other hand, is feeling bad about who we are.

Guilt allows us to examine ourselves so we don’t make the same mistakes again. Shame tells us that our actions were caused because we are a bad person. It drives home negative ideas about who we are and reinforces the notion that we are bad and cannot change that behavior.

It is a bit more complex and  a difficult subject to tackle in one post; that is why I wrote an entire book on the subject and how I was able to overcome it. We will delve into overcoming shame in future posts but in the meantime, feel free to read more about my book at: http://www.gcegroup.net.

Thank you and I look forward to your thoughts.

The Negative Things We Believe about Ourselves

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Picture by Klara Pospisilova

Everyone of us at one point in our life, has doubted our own abilities. It seems as though this type of thinking is embedded into our genes. We have thoughts of unworthiness or we question are talent and hard work; was this enough?. I have heard interviews with well-known actors, comedians, and prominent influencers in business who have talked about doubting their abilities. The Supermodel Cameron Russell did an entire TED talk on how low self-esteem plagued her and is rampant in the modeling industry (click here)

Why do we learn to believe negative ideas about who we are and for that matter when do we first start to believe them? How do we overcome this self-destructive cycle? I wrote an entire book about this subject but it is certainly worth going over again. The message is extremely vital and one which opens doors which we never knew existed. There were so many roadblocks in my own life that I wasn’t aware even existed. Our upbringing, including culture, religion, and community, hides and camouflages them from us. Some people are fortunate enough to stumble across the path to defeat them but it is extremely difficult without a thorough self-examination and seeing a need to change. The simplier road is to point the finger at someone or something else and blame that for our own shortcomings.

Facing our faults is not an easy task. It isn’t something you look forward to shouting from the rooftops however, when we are able to overcome them, it is a wonderful experience. I hope others will want to share their own stories of self-discovery and victory over those negative things that we used to believe about ourselves.

When do we first begin to believe negative thoughts about who we are? I would enjoy your thoughts and mine will be shared in the next post.

 

I’ll be the Judge of that!

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Often we are told not to judge or be judgmental. While it’s true that a book shouldn’t be judged by its cover, sometimes we have no other choice but to make snap decisions based on what we see.

“Don’t be Judgmental” is frequently heard advice but in some instances, the choice has to be made strictly on the basis of a first impression. Should we now feel conflicted on account of this hasty evaluation or be ashamed because circumstances dictated we rush to judgement?

No matter what you’ve heard, we ALL our judgmental. Yes, that’s right. Everyone. But we can learn to overcome these predispositions. Judgment is more of an assessment or reasoning based on previous events. It is essentially pre-judging or prejudice from prior experiences. The conscious decision to make is not allowing our prejudices to cloud our opinions moving forward.

I catch myself “judging” people based on first impressions but what I tell myself is don’t let past experiences determine the final outcome. For instance, if I meet someone who has multi-colored hair, facial piercings, or multiple tattoos, in the past my initial reactions were negative. However, when I realize it’s occurring, I’ll go out of my way to get to know the person. To my delight, they normally turn out to be outstanding people.

Being judgmental very well may be a trait of the human species but it doesn’t mean that is the only way our opinions are formed. Prejudices only limit our ability for personal growth. Questioning ourselves and our motives is healthy in the constant struggle to get a better understanding of who we are.