90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 12 – Learning from My Layers of Shame

Letters From A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

DAY 12: Learning from My Layers of Shame

Dear Self,

I’m ready to learn from all the shame you’ve been holding onto. I’m ready to look at my past through a different lens and see where my beliefs have created my reality now. I’m committed to be kind to myself as each layer of shame is exposed, so that I may understand the lesson and grow from it.

I know that this isn’t an overnight journey. My shame has been building in my life since before I was born. I’m going to be kind to myself as I know my shame will be exposed one layer at a time. I’m ready to shed them. I will only ever be given what I can handle, so I won’t beat myself up when I don’t do this perfectly. I’m doing it exactly the way I’m supposed to.

My job is to be committed to grow from what I see within myself and others. I will do the work. I will commit seeing how other’s shaming affect my life and not take other’s fear/shame-filled projections personally. I am aware that I don’t have to buy into anyone else’s belief systems. That is only their perception of truth.

Today, I commit to being a better and more aware me.

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 12 – The Layers of Shame

Come with me if you are ready to commit to the journey of being the best you. Sign up to follow these posts here or on From A Loving Place.

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 11 – My Participation in the Shame Cycle

Letters From A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 11: My Participation in the Shame Cycle

Dear Self,

I’m committing to you to stay aware of my participation in the shame cycle. As I watch what is happening in the world, I will be aware of how it makes me feel about people, the environment, products, lifestyles, and overall myself. I’m ready to see where I’ve let shame have power over my life.

I’m committed to being aware of how my belief systems affect other people’s lives. I will question belief systems that don’t serve the life I want to be living.

I’m committed to see how other people’s belief systems have affected my life and how I feel about myself. If my views of their beliefs keep me participating in the shame cycle, I will investigate other perspectives of truth that don’t keep me there.

I will question any beliefs that make it ok for me to shame someone else, but I won’t beat myself up for having the thoughts I have. I will see my thoughts as opportunities to be and do better by learning from them.

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

Rachael Wolff ©2019

There are very few people out there that won’t get caught up participating in the shame cycle. Read today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 11 – Projecting Shame

Come with me if you are ready to commit to the journey of being the best you. Sign up to follow these posts here or on From A Loving Place.

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 11 – Projecting Shame

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 11: Projecting Shame

“Shame erodes our courage and fuels our disengagement.”

-Brené Brown

 

Yesterday, we went through a list of ways we live in our shame. Most of them focused mainly on how choices and beliefs of living in our own shame affect how we live our lives. Today, we will go deeper into how shame gets projected to the world.

Shame is everywhere! Anytime advertising aims at people’s disapproval of themselves, they are aiming at the shame within. History proves individuals striving for a better life, way of living, and personal outlook will lead individuals to spend tons of money on trying to fix their insides by buying something to improve themselves or their life outside. Even though time and time again these things fail, we keep buying to try to avoid having to take a closer look inside to see how we are feeling about ourselves and why we are peaceful in this moment with who we are.

Our shame projects out and it gives the media, advertisers, products, programs, lifestyles, and money the power over our internal happiness and contentment. Is this any of these thing’s or people’s faults? NO! Our belief systems about what we are doing, seeing, wanting to change, and longing for are our own responsibility to look at. It is up to us to check-in with ourselves and ask ourselves why we are feeling driven to buy or seek satisfaction from life outside of us. Just think of it as a lesson. Don’t try to make it a personal attack on you as a consumer. We only buy into what we already believe.

If we believe money is bad

Money will keep itself away from us and/or cause us pain. Not because money is bad, but because our thoughts about money are bad. Why do we hate money’s affect on us? What kinds of decisions are we making with money to hate it? Are we expecting money to fill a void inside of us that comes from shame? It’s a choice to have a bad relationship with money. We project out that money is bad and we will be proven right. We actually are shaming money by continuing this relationship.

If we are shaming someone or something, we are shaming ourselves too.

If we believe something outside of us can make us happy

We are projecting out that we incapable of being happy otherwise. If we can’t be happy inside, it doesn’t matter what we have on the outside, we will project our inner shame and sabotage anything we attain from the outside world.

Take relationships as an example. If we believe a relationship can make us happy, or the person we are having the relationship with can make us happy, we are saying we aren’t happy without them. Think about the pressure we can put on a person or a relationship if we believe this belief. We start sabotaging the relationship by getting clingy, jealous, needy, suspicious, demanding, blaming, judgmental, etc. If our own personal worth and value is low enough we will try to get them to love us the way that we want to be loved instead of seeing the love they are capable of giving. We try to force them to be the way we think a happy relationship SHOULD be. We project our vision of happily ever after on them. We don’t even see the person in front of us, we see the illusion of the happily ever after that we created in our heads and we keep getting let down by the outcome. The relationship dies or turns into a nightmare and we use that to fuel our shame. Projecting our shame will destroy a relationship. It doesn’t matter if it’s romantic, friends, co-workers, or family. If we don’t accept ourselves, we won’t accept others, and the cycle of shame continues.

As we’ve grown as a society we’ve accepted programming to shame and be shamed. Shaming is going on every day. The little pieces of us that believe that we are supposed to be perfect eat the shaming up with a spoon. We even project our shame out by spewing it at other people for not living up to our expectation of you name it, a role-model, mother, father, husband, wife, sister, brother, citizen, politician, political party, religious group, ethnic group, gay person, straight person, white person, black person, foreigner, and we can go on and on. If you are spewing fear and hate, you are projecting our global society’s darkest weapon of mass destruction. SHAME!

We are shaming to try to make someone or something else feel small. We only do this when we feel small ourselves and are trying to make ourselves feel better by taking someone or something down with us. The Law of Attraction says we get more of what we project out…Do you see how this can be used as weapon of mass destruction? If our focus is on the worst in people, we bring out more of it. We create more fear and like the woman I talked about personally attacking me on Day 5, she tried shaming me as a parent and taking me down to a small level. For a little bit, her projected shame had a negative affect on me. If I didn’t have the experience I do, that event could have taken me down and kept me down. Carrying that much anger, fear, and rage is only fueling the shame within us, which depletes our loving energy.

We are capable of shifting our own energy away from this vicious shame cycle. We can focus on projecting love instead. This is the difference in representing what we stand for instead of what we are against. It is so easy to fall into the energy of what we are against, we can’t watch the news, political campaigns, social media feeds without seeing what people are against. We have to stay centered in what we are for, and the only way we can do that without trying to make someone else feel small is by embracing our own humanness and accepting and loving ourselves exactly as we are. Otherwise, we will at some point or other fall into the grips of projecting our shame instead of what most of us are truly intending to do, which is projecting our love and compassion.

We aren’t capable of forcing others to face their shame, fear, hate, or any other harmful beliefs. We can choose not to feed our own. It’s a choice each of us has to make EVERY SINGLE DAY. We operate so much on autopilot and have picked up beliefs that we aren’t even aware of by being exposed to the programming over and over again. If we don’t want to keep our own cycle of shame going and contributing to all the shame in the world, we have to face it head on and prove it wrong, not to anyone else, just to you. As you see your self-shaming ways dissipate by simply being aware, you will notice AMAZING shifts around you. You will start spotting more and more to like, appreciate, and enjoy about living your life. Once again, it’s the Law of Attraction, we get more of what we put out. Telling the world we love ourselves, and having expectations of something coming back to us because of it can’t fool the Law of Attraction. We have to truly and deeply feel that love for ourselves, and from there we will attract more to love.

When we get there is when we start focusing our attention on the things that matter, which is what we want to see more of. The heroes are the priority over the people causing others harm. We start seeing the difference in giving a person our love for the good choices they make instead of feeding the shame in the world by bringing the attention to those who are living in their own shame. If we contribute to someone else’s shame, we are making it worse for ourselves, them, and for the world because we are taking part in keeping the shame cycle alive. None of us are perfect and even if we do our best not to contribute, we will sometime fail. It’s in those moments we need to stay open, learn from our failures, and just keep attempting to do better next time. No need for self-abuse, just take responsibility and learn.

Just for Today

Be aware when you see your shame or others being projected. See that if it is someone else’s shame, we don’t have to take it personally. We don’t HAVE to feel attacked by someone else’s choices in how they are choosing to live their life. Just be aware of the choice.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 11 – My Participation in the Shame Cycle

Reading the letter can help us to take in the material in a more personal way. Writing our own letters becomes a contract we make with ourselves as a commitment to be and do better.

 

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 10 – Living My Shame

Letters From A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 10: Living My Shame

To the Shame I’m Living In,

My eyes are open wide now. I’m ready to look at where I’ve let you drive my life. There are no more excuses for why I’m not living the life I want to. I can see that by trying to avoid you, I let you take over.

I will watch my behaviors and thoughts and question myself to see if you are behind the choices I’m making. I know if I’m not taking care of me, you are. You have told me not to take care of myself for long enough.

You are not as scary as I once thought you were. I see my choices now. I see that if I’m choosing a belief that makes me feel bad about myself, I’m choosing you to be the driver.

Each day I become more aware—I’m getting stronger. I turn over the wheel less and less. You are guiding me the only way you know how. The shame I’m living in is because I’ve chosen to belief your perceived truths about reality and me. I can choose to see things differently. Today, I will.

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Today’s companion piece: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 10 – Living in Our Shame goes to into the ideas behind how we live in our shame. If you really want to heal it, you will want to read today’s piece.

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 10 – Living in Our Shame

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 10: Living In Our Shame

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”

-Brené Brown

Yesterday, I opened up the thought of our reality being the reflection of what is going on inside of us. Today, we are going to go into that list that I gave yesterday. Each bold title is an item from that list.  I want you to see deeper into my perspective of thought and see if it rings true for you in your life. If it doesn’t, the added bonus is it may help you understand someone else’s behavior and thought patterns a little bit better. This is not a full list by any means, but it is enough to open our eyes and spot where and how we get caught up living in a shame cycle. The items below are some of the ways we live our shame:

If you don’t like your life

Shame tells us we don’t deserve a better life. We stay in unhealthy behavior and thought patterns to keep us prisoner of our unwanted lives. If anything goes beyond a level of happiness that we think we deserve, we unconsciously keep ourselves from getting and or keeping it. Our secret shame tells us we are unworthy of maintaining joy and happiness. We pick and choose belief systems to follow that fuel this thought. We use avoidance tools in order to not take any responsibility for what is going on inside of us. We keep projecting our shame (tomorrow’s topic), and expecting to get love and joy back in return, but then once again proving our belief system is right and our life sucks.

If you attack and gossip about others

When we fundamentally like and respect ourselves, we don’t feel the need to attack others for their imperfections. When shame isn’t living inside of us, we can see others as well as ourselves as humans. We aren’t going to do things perfectly all the time and we don’t need to measure ourselves up against others mistakes.

I used to read tabloid/gossip magazines and compare myself endlessly to the people that were being gossiped about. It didn’t matter if it was me thinking I was better off or worse off than the person. I let the attack and gossip feed into how I saw myself and others. I lived attacking and gossiping about others to feel better or worse about myself. That is letting shame take the wheel.

People will do this in relationships anytime they make personal attacks to hurt someone and make them feel small. We are trying to get the other person to feel as small as we do in the moment. We only do that if we are beating ourselves up inside. That is about us, not them.

If you think the world is against you

Why would the world be against you if you knew without a doubt that you were a good person? Things happen in our lives: trauma, tragedy, abandonment, natural disasters, illness, divorce, death, accidents, and many more. In the moment of the event we were victims. How we choose to live after that is determined on how we perceive the events. Will they be what tears us down and creates the thought process saying, the world is against me. Or, we learn to see what came from those tragedies and traumas and use it as momentum to build from. If we think the world is against us, we are living from a place of shame that says, I must not have done enough to have the world (The Creator, he/she) to like me. Something will happen and we say, SEE the world hates me. We miss the opportunity to learn from what happens to us and the events turn into messages of self-defeat. Shame loves us to be there.

If you attract abusive friends and partners (and keep them in your lives)

Something in the situations feels familiar. It could be from our childhoods. If we confuse love and fear like I wrote about in week 1 of this series, we may have formed the belief that abuse is apart of love. We excuse them from treating us poorly because we are a lot worse to ourselves than they are to us. The level of self-abuse and abuse from others has to match up or we wouldn’t stay in the situation. We made it ok for them to do because we were doing it to ourselves too. Hence, shame has wiggled into our life saying, see you deserve this. NO, you don’t!

We can tell a person a million times that they deserve better, but until the person on the receiving end of the abuse believes it at the core of their being, and stop abusing themselves in the process, they will stay in this devastating cycle. As an outsider it may be brutal to watch, but speaking from experience of being the person abused, when people would insist that I HAD to leave or tell me I was stupid for staying, it only made the shame cycle stronger. I felt trapped. I didn’t feel like I had a choice. That is what shame does. It blinds us to seeing choices and other perspectives.

When we start liking ourselves, the grip loosens and all the sudden, people, places, programs, and opportunities start showing up in our lives to help us find away out of the abuse in the safest way possible. If a person tries to go before they are genuinely ready, it can make matters worse. If the situation is life-threatening there is a level of support that is needed, but the person being abused has to be ready to commit to the process to protect themselves. Shame will does it’s best to keep the victim of abuse where they are. The abuse cycle is apart of the shame cycle for the abuser and the abused. The abuser is trying to make someone feel as small as they do. Only someone full of shame tries to make someone else feel small.

If you self-abuse

Self-abuse can be seen as calling ourselves awful names, self-mutilations (not to be confused with self-expression), demeaning self-talk, and putting ourselves in harm’s way. If there is self-abuse and we are telling ourselves we are unlovable and unworthy, we project that all over our lives. This is where we lose our identity in titles. We put our worth in the titles that we are, aren’t, and can be. We judge ourselves against which titles we’re not and/or which ones we are not living up to.

All forms of shame like telling us we’re not enough exactly how we are. We measure ourselves according to titles that others defined or that we convinced ourselves because of our comparisons and judgment to/of others. In order keep the shame cycle alive, we have to believe the perceptions of truth that we are being fed. We are in a vicious cycle of condemnation and I’m not enough. On day 8, I wrote about childhood traumas. They play out in our adult lives if we choose to live according to the beliefs that keep the shame alive.

Self-abuse is an open door to see our shame. If you look in the mirror and stay there, the truth about what you think of the person looking back at you will come out. Shame tells us we don’t have a choice in how we feel about ourselves because we are bad, bad, bad. If we liked ourselves we would be selfish and self-centered. The truth is the more we loath ourselves, the more selfish and self-centered we are. Not because we intend to be, but because we are caught up in the non-stop messages in our heads saying what to do and how to do it to get people to like us.

When shame has us we don’t do things for good reasons, we are doing things to seek value and importance. Someone with a healthy sense of worth, who loves and respects themselves will appreciate the validation, the accolades, and respect. They don’t need it to feel good about themselves. They know their worth and understand they deserve to feel good about what they do for themselves and others. They don’t force that feeling on someone else and say, you need to respect me! Healthy individuals have an energy field of respect and those of us who respect ourselves too can see it and appreciate it. We don’t feel less or more than another human being. We only do that when shame and fear have us in their grips.

If you engage in addictions

Addiction feed on us feeling badly about ourselves. We don’t want to look at ourselves so we escape into the world of addiction.  We live our shame by constantly running from it. If we stop feeding our addiction we may fear being consumed by the shame. We mistakenly think that the shame is apart of who we are, when really the shame is just a perspective of thought we have chosen to believe in unconsciously.

Then we use our addictions to keep the story of our shame alive. It’s one of the most vicious cycles to break.  When we are using chemicals like pills, alcohol, and other drugs we are actually changing our brain function. We not only have to face and work through the behavioral patterns of stopping the engagement with the addiction, but we have to work on tools to help to re-wire and re-frame how are brains are functioning on multiple levels.

If we choose to just stop engaging in the addiction, but continue to feed the shame cycle, we will stay stuck and trapped in our own behavior patterns that keep up believing the world sucks. In the world of recovery, they call this process being a dry drunk. It is the reason that success in the program depends on participants working the steps of the program. Recovering is not about just not picking up, whatever your addiction is, it’s about changing the thinking that got you picking up that substance in the first place. No matter what the addiction is, even if it is the addiction of rescuing people who don’t want to be rescued, you will live in the sickness until you face the shame that keeps you prisoner to your thought and behavioral patterns.

If you feel the need to numb yourself

We can do this with and/or without addictions. We are just trying to avoid looking too deep at ourselves from fear of what we will see looking back at us. We can actually use a tool called blame to help us numb and avoid the attention from being on us. I will start bring blame into the picture on Day 13 of this 90-Day A Better Me Series. We will also use things like casual relationships, TV, video games, reading, amongst others. It doesn’t mean if we are engaging in these activities that we are numbing ourselves.

The truth is in our intentions behind anything we do. We can do things for ourselves that look positive to the outside world, but inside the intentions tell a very different story. So, it’s not about the what as much as it is about the WHY.  Just remember that the question of WHY is how we have come as far as we have in the Universal sphere of things. We can’t be afraid to ask ourselves why. When we are, we turn over the power to things like fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate. We allow darkness in when we are scared to go beyond our own light.  We get lost in the numbness of everyday life. We might feel like a cog in the wheel, or like we are just getting by on survival mode. We can only change the numbing cycle of living when we see the value in not living that way.

If you self-sabotage

I used to be the MASTER of self-sabotage! Oh boy could I ever turn something good into a disaster; to the point where I would physically hurt myself at least once a day. That is some serious power. I remember sitting in church, and being stopped in my tracks when the pastor said, “We will only allow ourselves to be as happy as we think we deserve.” He went on to say, that if we go beyond the point where we feel we deserve, we will sabotage that level of happiness from coming into our lives. I wish I could remember the name of this inspirational pastor, but fortunately his message lives on. He’s not the first to say this as I’ve read books over the years that have said the same things with a different twist, but it is the one that finally go through to the deepest levels of how I was living my life, to the point I could take it into my studies of psychology and the way I choose to live my life daily.

When shame has us we can sabotage anything in our lives like we are the champions of the world in that category. Hey, we want to show we are unlovable, let’s go for a person who is incapable of committing and/or showing us love. We’re not lovable so let’s take on more than we can handle at work to prove we are a disappointment. We aren’t worthy of recognition and/or respect; so let me prove it by continuously doing for others what they can do for themselves. WAIT, I want to be important to this person so let me lend them money that I can’t afford to lose. SELF-SABOTAGE, SELF-SABOTAGE, SELF-SABOTAGE! We put ourselves in position after position to get hurt. That is the power of living according to the messages of shame.

If you are a doormat in your life

I touched on this a little up above in the section about self-sabotage. If we are categorizing ourselves as a doormat, we often will blame others for this position, which I will cover more next week in the section on blame. We create our own titles to live by. Saying we are a doormat means we have laid ourselves down in front of someone one’s feet for them to walk on.

Someone who has self-respect and knows his or her own personal value doesn’t do that. A healthy life means we have healthy boundaries and self-care is essential. When we are trying to prove our worth by being someone’s doormat, we aren’t caring for ourselves and we are blaming them for it. The truth is we laid ourselves down, they just did what was natural when someone gives us something to wipe our feet on. How we treat ourselves is how the world will treat us.

There are a couple of sayings that encourage people to be doormats and then expect someone not walk on them. “Treat others as you want to be treated.” That sounds great, but that puts an expectation on someone else’s behavior, which we can’t control. We need to treat OURSELVES like we want to be treated. Guess what even if nobody besides you is treating you with love and respect, YOU ARE! Living the life as a doormat is a choice WE make for ourselves. No one else is responsible for that choice, and no one can change it but that person in the mirror.

Now, if you try to instantly change that doormat position without going inside and working on the shame that got you there. People see right through that and you will go right back to lying down in front of them. Heal the shame first, and people feel the energy of the change and they shift too, whether it’s towards you or away from you. I’ll talk about that in the weeks to come.

If you feel like you are being used by others

Shame tells us to take things personally. When I was a teenager, my mom said, “It’s none of your business what other people think of you.” It took me at least a decade to start understanding how true that statement was/is. I kept running away from situations where I felt used only to find myself in another one. I was living in my shame, so even though I changed states, careers, and boyfriends, I didn’t change me. I was used because I allowed myself to be put in the position to be used. I didn’t have healthy boundaries that spotted the red flags, then had the respect to walk away. I would see the red flags, but I wanted that person to like me. I was desperate for attention and affection.

When we are reaching, begging, and pleading for someone to love us and we feel like we are missing something because we don’t feel like we have the person we want, we are seeking to fill a hole that only one person is capable of filling. If anyone is thinking soul mate, STOP! The only person we are missing love from if we are desperately seeking it from the outside world is ourselves. The answer to any lack in our lives is in the mirror 100% of the time.

So if people are using us, we are living our shame. Our perceptions are very skewed when we are living here. Even if someone is not using us, they are simply accepting what we offer, like a healthy person would, we can perceive that as being used by them. If someone is acting from a healthy place, she/he doesn’t offer what he or she doesn’t genuinely want to give, and there is not expectation of receiving something in return. When we are healthy, we don’t give to people who take advantage, and if we do, we are completely AWARE of our actions so we don’t expect anything from them. We don’t create misery in our own lives because of things we choose to do.

If you give so much that you don’t take care of yourself

This one screams hidden shame at a very deep level. This is where we often find the messages that self-care is selfish. God, won’t love me if I’m self-centered. I’m supposed to give and not think about myself. Those are very painful perceptions to live by. If we don’t feel we have equal value to any other human and don’t deserve to treat ourselves the way we treat others, we have turned over our oxygen mask before putting on ourselves first.

We run ourselves ragged giving ourselves away. Some of us will go as far as to blame our spiritual practices, roles as a parent or spouse, and/or position in a company. Other people can’t make us give ourselves away (Obviously, I’m not talking about anything to do with a crime where it is a life or death situation and we are acting in pure survival mode). When it comes to our perceptions of how we are living our everyday lives, it is easy to shift blame and point fingers to justify why we do something. Underneath any finger pointing out, we are just avoiding looking in, because if we look inside we see that the only person responsible for making healthy choices is the person we live with every day from the cradle to the grave.

Shame is the scariest perception of truth we have to face. We have hid behind so much to avoid looking at and asking ourselves how we really feel about ourselves. If we don’t take the time to give ourselves some nurturing care, time to refuel, centering breaths, and general TLC, we are saying we don’t hold the value to give ourselves that time. If we say, there’s not enough time to take care of me, we have given ourselves away as if our own lives didn’t have the same value as everything else we give to. When we are acting from a healthy place and have self-love and self-respect, we put the oxygen masks on ourselves first in whatever way that means for us. We will go through all of that in PART III of the series. First, we have to be AWARE!

Just For Today

Think about where you may be living your shame. Try not to judge, just be the observer. I’m not asking anyone to take any kind of action.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

Did you read today’s companion piece? 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 10 – Living My Shame

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 9 – Exposing the Shame Within

Letters From A Better Me

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 9: Exposing the Shame Within

Dear Shame,

I see you in how I treat myself and the people around me. I see you in how I perceive my life and the world around me. I AM LOVABLE. I don’t have to prove myself to the world in order to believe the simple fact that I deserve to be here. I will no longer let your power over me control my life. No matter what my thoughts are—I’m lovable. No matter what hard lessons I’ve had to learn in my life—I’m lovable. I have made plenty of mistakes and made missteps along the way, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to look in the mirror and show myself love and respect.

The only person I need to focus on being loved by is in that mirror looking back at me. That is the only person I have any control over. I know that once I love myself exactly how I am, you will have no power over me. If I can love me, others will choose to follow my lead. The ones that don’t, I know aren’t meant to be in my life. I will love myself enough to walk away instead of making myself crazy by trying to get someone who may not even be capable of loving to love me. When I chase love, it’s because I don’t feel worthy of it. That is you! I don’t have to believe your messages of fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate. I’m rising above and connecting to the love within me to light my path.

I will communicate with my creator, family, friends, co-workers, community members and strangers with the love and respect that I feel for myself. This will keep me safe from their opinions of me. This will help me to have the healthy boundaries I need when serving others. My value doesn’t come from the outside of me. That was just you telling me that I’m not enough.

Nothing I’ve done can keep me from being lovable unless I CHOOSE to let my actions and the actions of others feed that belief. I’m exposing the shame within to let go of the fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate that has been trapping me in a hell that I no longer want to live in. I can feel these feelings without having to live my life according to them. I will allow the feelings to teach me instead of trap me in your vicious cycle of thought.

Thank you for being my teacher. Seeing you clearly has shown me my strength, courage, and power to change my life. I’m going to choose to live it how I WANT to now.

With Love and Gratitude,

A Better Me

Rachael Wolff ©2019

I hope you are following along and reading the companion pieces: 90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 9 – The Secret of Shame

If you want help in going through this process and want to do the work to change your life at an accelerated pace, check out the 35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp. It is a personalized course where you get to work through changing unhealthy thought patterns daily. It will help transform your thinking into seeing the value of the life you’re living and treating yourself with the love and respect that you deserve. You also get to work personally with me holding your hand through the entire 35-day process. Spaces are limited because of how personalized this process is. Reach out now on Facebook Messenger: http://Facebook.com/FromALovingPlace

or e-mail me at LettersFromABetterMe@gmail.com.

No matter how you decide to proceed, today you can CHOOSE how you want to live, you just have to KNOW you’re worth living your best life.

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 9 – The Secret of Shame

90-Day A Better Me Letters Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 9: The Secret of Shame

“Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: Secrecy, silence, and judgment.”

-Brené Brown

Shhhh…If they know you, they will see how pathetic you are. If they knew what you did, they would hate you. I hate you.  Just keep doing. Just keep giving. You are nothing. You don’t deserve to be alive. You don’t deserve happiness. You’re a fraud. You should have been the one to die. You don’t belong here.Just try to be the perfect wife, husband, boyfriend girlfriend, employee, church member, mother, father, daughter, son…

Shame keeps us trapped in a hell within our own skin. Shame is the reasoning behind the messages in our heads that tell us we are unworthy and unlovable. We could have been told shhh…don’t tell or your mom and dad, if you do they won’t love you. We could have told ourselves that just as easily. We might have kept secrets fearing we would be exposed, abandoned, yelled at, and overall shown that we really are unlovable.

Shame puts our value in what someone else might think of us. We judge ourselves according to what our mind tells us others are thinking. We make up story after story in our heads—Still not dealing and facing our secret feeling of being so bad that we are utterly unlovable.

Our reality is a mirror of what is going on inside us. How do you know if you have secret shame buried under the layers of defense mechanisms? In my findings and studies I found that shame is present:

  • If you don’t like your life
  • If you attack and gossip about others
  • If you think the world is against you
  • If you attract abusive friends and partners (and keep them in your lives)
  • If you self-abuse
  • If you engage in addictions
  • If you feel the need to numb yourself
  • If you self-sabotage
  • If you are a doormat in your life
  • If you feel like you are used by others
  • If you give so much that you don’t take care of yourself

I think I made my point. SHHH…Don’t tell shame but you are about to break your life wide open if you are open to face it!

If you found yourself shifting in your seat or getting emotionally triggered…It’s time to start digging into how you really see yourself. We do our best to suppress shame the best we can. I know I did, I went through years of unhealthy relationships and didn’t uncover my stuff that was keeping me there. It took me going back to school and my professor explaining to me that if we stay in an unhealthy relationship, it is because we are as sick as our partners. That one knocked the wind out of me. I had just moved from one unhealthy relationship to another and I kept focusing on their sickness.

The solution to shame is releasing the secret. Sometimes we think that we are such bad people because of the thoughts that float around in our heads.  This can come out in a myriad of different ways: thoughts about family, money, relationships, friends, careers, community members, or perfect strangers. We think people won’t love us if they only knew all the horrible things we’ve done and thought. I thought so bad of myself as a teenager that I tried to kill myself multiple times and ended up in a hospital. I thought that everyone would be better off without me around. When a person is suicidal the outside world may see that person as selfish. Most times the person wanting to commit suicide feels like they are doing the world right by killing themselves. That is about as deep as shame can go. It can tell us not only do we not feel worthy of breathing air, but the world would be a better place without us in it. No one knew the depth of how much I loathed my very existence. People couldn’t understand because I had lots of friends and I did good in school. Though I stopped trying to kill myself, I didn’t starting healing my deepest levels of shame until I was around 40. My life changed in the most miracle-filled way possible as I dug down deeper. Does that mean my life if perfect and things don’t get to me, HA HA—NO! As long as I’m living here, I’m learning new things about myself, life, and how I choose to live it in each moment. Just because I don’t feel shame now, doesn’t mean a layer of shame won’t expose itself. That is why I created the 35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp, because I wanted to help others transform their lives in miraculous ways and have tools to move them through the process of healing as many times as they need it.

“Shame is a soul eating emotion.”

– C.J. Young

Shame is so sneaky that it will creep into our spiritual practices, careers, volunteer hours, causes we support, and family lives. Sometimes we get caught up doing so much just to try to run from the one thing that we can’t escape—Ourselves. It is our perspective of thought about ourselves that keeps us trapped in our own vicious cycles. When we don’t face the shame inside ourselves, we taint everything we touch in our lives. That is the secret of shame. That is why the houses we build on our foundations of shame will always crumble and deteriorate. Too many of us believe the answers are in what we do on the outside…that is how shame stays alive. We think we might accept ourselves if we make ourselves look better on the outside, but those messages in our heads won’t change if we don’t face where they are coming from. We have to release the secret, even if it is to a journal or a letter that we never send and burn as a release. We have to get these secrets out of our bodies.

No one is too young or too old to change if they want to. There are healthy people amongst us living without shame or with very low levels. 12-Step programs succeed because their steps move a person through releasing their secret shames and healing with the support of a community. Many who fail are so scared to look at the person in the mirror, and the work of the 12-steps is all about looking at that person. We will repeat the same unhealthy patterns over and over until we stop, look, work through, and accept the person standing in front of us.

In my 30’s I started attending AL-ANON, which is a 12-step program for friends and family of alcoholics. It is not a program about changing the person who suffers from the disease. I needed AL-ANON to fix my warped perspective that had me focusing on fixing others instead of working on the one person I actually could change. I went to AL-ANON to get MEback. I was just a shadow of a person when I walked in that door. I felt like a series of titles, mom, wife, daughter, etc. I didn’t feel like I had a true identity because I was so busy defining myself in roles to please others. That is how little I thought about myself. In the program, I peeled back layers of shame (I will talk about that in the days to come). It wasn’t until I was around 40 that I healed HUGE chucks of it to the point where as of this very moment, I feel amazing inside. Getting here took a lot of work, focus, and commitment. We don’t have to be the victims our pasts if we heal the shame that past traumas and beliefs caused us. The process takes time, patience, and the openness to see other perspectives and thought patterns are possible.

Everything I write is perspective. It is the perspective I choose to live by because it fuels my happiness, joy, peace, and serenity. This perspective helps me look at myself with love and respect on daily basis. When I thought differently about life, I didn’t want to be apart of it. I CHOOSE to see things the way I do because I know it works for the life I WANT and AM living. You get to make that choice for your life. You don’t haveto agree with a word I write. You can actually get angry and rage-filled if you CHOOSE to. If how you are responding to other’s perspectives is causing you to spend energy in fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate this first part of the 90-Day A Better Me Series may be VERY challenging for you. I highly suggest getting a journal and writing down what is going on inside of you. PART II (Acceptance) and PART III (Action) will help you IF, and only IF, you CHOOSE that you don’t want that to be how you live your life.

If you want to go through a more intensified and faster process of getting there, I hope you will look at doing my 35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp. It is a personalized program where I work with you daily as you work through the process of developing new thought patterns about your life and yourself. You also get 3-hour long sessions with me. I know the pain of living my life according to the fear, shame, blame, judgment, and hate filled perspectives of living life. I don’t wish that pain on anybody. I heard someone years ago say, “If I want my life to be different, I have to do things differently.” That stuck to me like glue.  Along with a message I got in AL-ANON,  “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

We each get the power to CHOOSE how we see things. When we take back that power, we start living our lives instead of letting our lives live us.

Facing shame can be very intense work. I hope you have a support system to help you process what comes up. If you don’t, being open to change will light a path where people will show up in your life to give you support. STAY OPEN!

Just For Today

Look in the mirror and tell yourself you are lovable. You are worth living. You are capable of changing old thought patterns that no longer serve you. If you are carrying around belief systems that tell you that you are doomed or that you can’t change, ask yourself how those beliefs serve you?  All beliefs are just perspectives of thought. That is why we can have so many people with so many ways of interpreting the same exact material. Only you can decide what perspective works best in your life. Be honest with yourself. Don’t confuse perspectives of thoughts about yourself with an absolute truth.

With Love and Gratitude,

 

Rachael Wolff ©2019

A Better Me

Don’t forget read 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 9 – Exposing the Shame Within to get an idea of how to write letters to help you process and work through transforming thought patterns that don’t serve you.

 

If you want to follow along with the series, scroll down and enter your e-mail. 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 8 – Childhood Shame

90-Day A Better Me Series

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 8: Childhood Shame

“Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.”

-Anais Nin

Some of us go through life not wanting to look back on our childhoods. When we do, we may choose only to look at the surface layers of our youth. Some of us look back horrified and don’t wonder why our lives have taken the trajectory that they have. If you have wondered where the shame cycle starts—the answer is childhood. This is why shame is what makes our foundation extremely unstable. Shame makes our internal ground toxic. If we think we are a bad person at the very core, we will sabotage anything that tries to tell us otherwise.

Childhood shame doesn’t have to come from the home, though it often does. It is in our schools, churches, youth groups, after school programs, daycare, and entertainment. We are surrounded by shame and shaming from the time we can comprehend body language and words.

Before I get into the meat of childhood shame, I feel it’s important to state that not all adults use these tactics, but many have and do. The ones who don’t aren’t the majority. A person has to be EXTREMELYaware and have an understanding of psychology to understand what most of these tactics do to a child’s way of thinking. The majority of people didn’t mean to hurt us at the core of our self-worth. Just like we don’t mean to attack others at that level. It is so easy to fall into manipulation, guilt, and shame tactics to get what we want. Most times it’s a person’s own lack of self-worth trying to say: Hey I’m important. Why don’t you want to do this for me? Why do you think I’m not worthy of being listened to? Why do you not care about me?

We also have to remember that it is what most of us were raised to do as a form of communication. It doesn’t make people bad for using these techniques. We don’t know what we don’t know. We can only do the best we can at any given moment. Reminder Part I is “A Journey of Awareness”. Try not to criticize others for their imperfections during this series. Write out all the things that are coming up. I will give you tools to process what you see.

We don’t have to come from abusive homes to have been shamed. Shaming has been used in parenting for generation after generation. When a parent is frustrated with a child for not doing what they’ve been asked to do it is so easy to jump to shame and guilt tactics to get a child to do what is wanted of them. The underlying message of guilt tactics to a child is if you don’t do it you’re not a very good person. When a child is questioning doing the task, they feel like they are a bad person if they don’t do it. When they choose not to fall into a guilt tactic, they are internally accepting that I guess I’m not a good person because I don’t want to: clean up my toys, stop the rough play, clean my room, do my laundry, do my chores, and the list goes on and on.

Side Note:

Some of you may be thinking how this has been carried into your adulthood already. If you are shaming or blaming yourself right now, STOP!!! Even when we know about shaming it is difficult to stop using the techniques in our lives because we’ve been using them so long that it is in autopilot mode. Just be AWARE! The more you can get through this series just being aware of yourself, the more open you will be to change behaviors that no longer serve you.

Teachers and daycare providers may use shaming tactics to get children to do things too. They call out kids who they know are choosing poor behavior and try to shame them into submission. They can force kids to get up in front of the class who don’t feel worthy enough to be there, so it creates extreme anxiety. They can shame kids for not completing assignments, which an underlying problem may be a learning disorder. A child can feel like there is something inherently wrong with them because they don’t understand why things are such a struggle for them when it seems easy to everyone else. I won’t even begin to go into what paying teachers for test results can do the shame cycles in children or making standardized testing pass/fail does to a child’s sense of worth. I have personal experience with that and it has been one of the most challenging processes I have had to face as a parent, and I have had my share of traumas, but I have to keep re-exposing my child to testing over and over which the challenge a very long and awareness demanding process to help him through it.

Churches and religious practices sometimes will use shame techniques to get there congregations to behave the way the expect them too. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m a God fearing…”. Why would a person fear God? Because they are scared of not being worthy of God’s love. They question whether their thoughts and actions make them a good enough person to be valued by the Being who is supposed to love them the most. I will tell you GOD didn’t tell them to fear him, a human using shame tactics did. This can be true in any sector of religion, but even within the same sector, shame may not be used as a tactic. Love can be used and often is. Love has no place for shame. Shame comes from fear. When we serve religion out of fear, we are saying we aren’t worthy of our Creator’s love.

I remember being a small child sitting in church and hearing how unworthy I was to get to live this life as a “sinner” and how I was responsible for Jesus dying on the cross because of my lack of worthiness. I’m sure those weren’t the words used, but as a child that is what I heard. I was responsible for a man being killed. I must be a horrible person to let someone die for me. God must hate me for being responsible for his son’s death. So as I grew up and bad things happened to me, I actually felt like I deserved it and that I was being punished by God. It took me a LOT of years, spiritual quests, education, and healing to stop believing that. I spent years self-sabotaging myself with the underlying thought that I wasn’t a good person and that God hated me.

Entertainment, advertising, and overall is riddled with shaming tactics for a child’s viewing demise. Messages continuously come across the screen saying, you’re not good enough the way you are. You need to be this or have that in order to be a worthy human. TV shows exhibit people shaming and/or being shamed because it is how most us have learned to communicate so it just perpetuates the shame cycle in a child’s head to question their own worthiness. People may be portrayed as villains and the child has thought some of those same thoughts the villain did, so does that make them a villain too?

I’m not going to spend too long on trauma-filled childhoods, but you can only imagine that if in a generally healthy family environment shame is used, the extent of the damage when there is abuse, rape, incest, addiction, abandonment, mental illness, and/or suicide. I will tell you that seeking trauma therapy, which can include a variety of techniques such as EMDR, have done wonders to help individuals break-up the toxic messages and patterns we learn from being raised in these environments.

Shame tactics aren’t going away. The best we can do is being AWARE of them, catching ourselves from using them, and teaching the generations that come after us that how others behave is their own stuff. We don’t have to make their messages of lack ours. We are all worthy of being here and getting the opportunity to make mistakes so that we can grow and learn. We will all have thoughts that aren’t healthy, but if we are aware enough to question those thoughts we will grow from them. We aren’t bad people because we sometimes make poor choices. We are all humans and we have our own journeys and opportunities to be and live the best we possibly can. No other human can tell us if we are a bad person. If that is what they choose to see that is their choice. We don’t have to live according to any other person’s choices of thought or behavior. This is our own life and we will choose to live it the best way we can in any given moment.

There is ton of support when it comes to healing and transmuting the messages we were raised with. I’m offering the 35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp, which is an intense program to help re-wiring ourselves to see our own value and worth.  If you are interested, you can read more about the program by clicking the link below or there is tons of other support in therapy, 12-step programs, spiritual groups, seminars available on line, and books. Brené Brown is a powerful voice with her work on shame. Just remember, even people who are meaning to help us can use shame tactics, but that isn’t about you. That’s about them. Being aware when you see yourself and others using them is a huge step in the healing process.

35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp

Just for Today

Write down how childhood shaming has affected your life today. If you need to cry— CRY! See those tears as cleansing your soul to be open to experience life differently. Drink A LOT of water today because if this piece affected you, toxic build-up is being shifted and released inside of you. You need to flush it out.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff  ©2019

 

Today’s companion letter 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 8 – Bringing Awareness to My Childhood Shame is to help us heal from our experiences with childhood shame.

Are you following FromALovingPlace.com yet? Make sure to follow by scrolling down until you see the place where it says, “FOLLOW BLOG VIA EMAIL” or if you use Worpress you can follow me there.

 

 

90-Day A Better Me Series: Day 7 – The Unstable Foundation of Shame

Part I: A Journey of Awareness

What Holds Us Back: The Unstable Foundation

Day 7: The Unstable Foundation of Shame

“Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.”

-Brené Brown

Most of us have no idea that depth of our shame, which is why the houses we build are so unstable. Shame is what we carry around telling the world we don’t deserve to be here. Sometimes we are so good at hiding our shame we don’t recognize it. Shame sneaks into our lives and whispers to us as we make receive compliments from others if we don’t feel worthy of the acclaim. Shame yells at us when we are accepting unacceptable behavior telling us that is what we deserve for being who we are. Shame is what sits with us when we are making decisions out of fear of not being accepted. Shame is holding us hostage when we freeze in our addictions.

“The difference between shame and guilt is the difference between ‘I am bad’ and ‘I did something bad.”

–Brené Brown

Over the next six days we will be tackling the topic of shame, and it still will only scratch the surface of it’s power. If we truly want to be better and live better—

We HAVE to face our own shame. If we don’t, we will continue to repeat the same unhealthy patterns over and over again. Shame is one of the most dangerous prongs in our unstable foundation. It lives in our deepest layers of our humanity.

Addictions stem from shame. Even what could like positive addiction to the outside world could carry a level of shame that taints our soil. Shame is sneaky and conniving. Until we face shame head on, it will control our lives. Shame will be in every relationship, interaction with strangers, conversation we have in our heads, and will eat us up from the insides.

Shame can even sneak in when we are serving others. This could be our families, friends, romantic relationships, religious practices, spiritual services, communities, and/or the world. It is not about the act, it is about what lies in our reasoning for doing the act.

Our human thinking can be skewed. We sometimes will wish we didn’t feel the way we do/did.  Horrible thoughts that can be selfish, greedy, resentful, and judgmental sneak in and start unraveling our foundation. Shame is easy to keep alive within us because our world is corrupted by shame. I can say this because shame sells. If shame weren’t so prevalent in the world, gossip magazines wouldn’t sell. Media would have a different focus. Elections wouldn’t be fueled on bashing and shaming their opponents. Shaming others wouldn’t be acceptable by the masses.

Each one of us has the power to change this by not contributing to the shame cycle. The mistake so many of us make though is we try to fix it in the world before we fix it in ourselves. Today, we are a step in the process of looking inward.

It is amazing how many lessons there are to learn when we take our blinders off and open our eyes. We may not like what we see, but the lessons are priceless and in the end will lead to something better, and if it is not better, it’s not the end.

Just for Today

Become aware of how the feeling of unworthiness has affected your decision-making process. Do you do for others what they cando for themselves? Why? Look inside to see if it’s because you want someone else to feel something about you and/or it’s because you want to feel something about you. Are you trying to measure up to being a worthy human? These are just things to investigate that might help you find some hidden shame.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff © 2019

Today’s letter: 90-Day A Better Me Letters Series: Day 7 – Facing My Unstable Foundation of Shame

EXCITING NEWS!! The 35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp is now open for business! See details in the link below: 

35-Day A Better Me Boot Camp

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