Articles

How To Overcome Shame -Teal Swan-

September 2, 2019


How to Overcome Shame Hello there. Few things on earth feel
worse than shame. For those of you who don’t
understand what shame is: It’s that painful feeling state that results from comparing yourself to your standards and falling short. This leads to self-worth problems. But the question still remains: Where did these standards come from? When you were young
you came into a society. Socialization is a must
in an unawakened society. In an unawakened society there are
collective social and cultural values. When we value one thing we
often condemn the opposite. For example, self-sacrifice
may be a social value and selfishness is condemned. We deem one good
and the other bad. In order to keep the social
order we socialize children, which basically means we train
them to behave in a way that is acceptable to
the society we live in. We indoctrinate children with
our social and cultural values and reward them when they
adhere to those values. We punish children when
they demonstrate behavior that contradicts our social
and cultural values. If we want our needs to be met, survive in a society and have
a chance at feeling things like love, belonging, contribution and
safety we have one option: To adopt those values of the
society we are born into and hold ourselves to them. Let’s say when you were younger
you ran into the room naked but you were raised in a society
that valued modesty and that condemned public nudity. When you ran out into the room, your parents would instantly disapprove
of that particular behavior. They might punish you, they
would definitely scold you, they would send you
back to your room. That disapproval would be painful
enough that you would decide “I can’t ever have
this happen again!” So you would adopt
the value of modesty so as to never feel that
type of disapproval and embarrassment again. To avoid hurt in the future,
what we do is we adopt the cultural values of the society
that we are born into. By doing this we become our
own corrections officer. We get to police ourselves,
which is a lot less painful than being policed by other people. We become absolutely
obsessed with being good. After all, being good means getting your needs met, being
loved, belonging, survival. And being bad means
getting ostracized, feeling pain, not having your
needs met and being unloved.>From this point on shame takes over. It takes over to save you from
negative future consequences. It exists to keep you in check. It is a function of the conscience. Anytime you violate your own adopted
rules, you slip into shame. The people who struggle with
shame the most and chronically were raised in societies
where their caregivers did not differentiate between
doing bad and being bad. For example, a little kid takes a
cookie off of the counter that they aren’t
supposed to take. And the parent responds
by saying something like “Bad girl!” or “Why the hell did you do
that, that was so stupid!”. That child is actually incapable
of differentiating between the negative action and
themselves being negative. Shame is all about being
bad in contrast to guilt, which is about doing
something that’s bad. Now this is painful enough
when that shame is coming up as a result of individual experiences
that are occasional; it’s an entirely other monster,
when it’s a chronic thing as a result of thinking that
something about you that you can’t change
is chronically bad. If the truth of yourself violates social values that you
yourself have adopted, you will forever feel that conflict
or contradiction within yourself. You will have determined that because
there is an aspect of your truth that conflicts with the social
values you’ve adopted, that must mean something’s
wrong with you. And if something’s
wrong with you, that must mean something’s
bad about you. Early on in life people develop an
internalized view of themselves as either adequate or inadequate
within the world. If we find that something
about us conflicts with the values
of our social group especially if we experience negative
consequences for those things, we get the message that we
do not fit in the world, we are inadequate, inferior, unworthy
and not good enough. Shame is in fact the root
of low self esteem. For example, let’s say that you were born into the
typical Christian bible-loving family but you are gay. And let’s say that because of the
society that you were raised in you adopted that belief that
being gay is an abomination. Your standard will be
“I must be straight.”. But internally you know
you are not straight and so you are going to permanently
fall short of your own standard. You will feel shame all the time
as a permanent state of being as long as this is in fact your standard. And keep in mind that you can
have conscious standards but also subconscious standards. If you feel shame but
you don’t know why, it’s because you have a subconscious
standard that you are unaware of. It must be known that
shame manifests as some vicious, vicious
physical ailments. One of the most glaring examples of
these physical ailments is Aids. The most prevalent cause
of Aids is in fact shame, especially shame relative
to one’s own sexuality. Some other ailments that
can be caused by shame are: Chronic fatigue syndrome,
acne, addictions, eating disorders, impotence,
kidney problems, cancer, yeast infections, stuttering and
other speech problems shinbone injuries, chronic
pain, depression, anxiety, all immune system disorders, especially disorders where the
body begins to attack itself. When people feel shame they
often defend themselves against that shame in certain ways. When you’re around somebody
who feels shame, it can feel almost like you’re walking
on broken glass or on thin ice. They are in a permanent
state of defense. They blame others
often aggressively. Blame diverts attention
from one’s own insecurities and perceived flaws. It makes someone wrong
so we can feel right. And when people
struggle with shame, they become consumed by
contempt for other people. Other-contempt sometimes prevents
us from feeling self-contempt. Contempt protects us
from feeling shame because it gives us a way to
deny the fact that in truth at our core we feel
beneath consideration, deserving of scorn, worthless and as if something
is bad or wrong about us. People who feel shame become
excessively narcissistic. Never confuse self-love
with narcissism. It could not be farther
from the truth. But people who feel
shame become preoccupied with their
own self-interests. They go on a quest
externally to find approval, superiority, admiration
and significance. The quest for attention is an attempt
to fill the void of feeling worthless. To understand more
about narcissism you can watch my video on
youtube titled “Narcissism”. So what do we do,
if we feel ashamed and we want to stop
feeling that shame? The first thing we have
to do is to become completely aware of the standards
which we are holding ourselves to. This requires us to be brave enough
to be completely honest. It’s not very much fun for us
to admit to the standards that we actually hold ourselves to. Some of those might actually
be embarrassing. Just becoming aware of
what our standards and social values actually
are is enough to decrease the power that those
particular standards hold over us. Then we make the decision: Do I want to keep this
standard or do I not? If you do want to keep the standard,
that’s all well and good and it also decreases the amount
of shame that you hold. Why? – Because it means you’re
now consciously choosing to allow that feeling
of shame to stay. That gives you a sense of
power over your shame instead of feeling
powerless to it. Step two – If we want to
change our standards, we have to change our beliefs. Standards come in
the form of beliefs. For example, one of our
standards could be “I should be straight instead of gay.” Another belief is “If I’m gay,
I’m an abomination.” Once we find the beliefs that
we have about the standards we’re holding ourselves to we have
the opportunity to change them. To find out how to change a
belief your can watch my video on youtube titled
“How to Change a Belief”. Also apply these beliefs to the Byron Katie process
called “The Work”. Three – We need to have a serious
think about right vs. wrong. If we feel shame we have already wandered
deep into the land of stigma. We have to question our social values. We have to question what it is that we are holding ourselves accountable to. Now, it seems straight forward: Question the rightness or wrongness
of your cultural and social beliefs. But unbelievably enough
people don’t usually do this. If you’re born into a catholic society
you don’t question those beliefs; you automatically adopt them. Most of us never actually
make a conscious choice to be a certain religion or to follow a certain practice
or a certain set of beliefs. We call ourselves catholic because
our parents were catholic. And their parents’ parents were
catholic and so on and so forth. No matter what we are a part of, we
need to be questioning our beliefs. Because this particular way
of contracting a belief is more like contracting an illness.
It’s so unconscious, it’s like it just rubbed off on you
and now it’s part of you. It’s not really yours and I would
be as aggressive as to say that it doesn’t actually
belong to you and you don’t actually
have the right to say you believe it until you have
questioned it completely. You need to question the rightness
and wrongness of everything. Even the things that seem
obviously right or wrong in order to reach
full awareness and also in order to stop
feeling like you are bad. You should also question
whether it is possible for there to be right or
wrong in this universe. Step four – We need to
integrate our feelings of shame which result in
fact from our childhood. If we feel shame in
our adult lives it is because we have been
shamed in our childhoods. We have experienced that
emotional wounding. And what we are experiencing
in our adult life is in fact a reflection of
that original wound. So what we need to do
when we’re feeling shame, instead of try to escape from it, is
we need to sink into the shame and be completely unconditionally
present with it. We need to find the child who was wounded who
was shamed to begin with and we need to re-parent
that particular child. To understand how
this process works you can watch my video
on youtube titled “How to heal the emotionaly body”. Step five – We need to be disciplined
about our self-approval process. This means that every day we
need to pick one thing at least that we don’t approve
of about ourselves and we need to find approval for it. We’re looking to feel better about
what we reject about ourselves. For example, if we
think we are dark, we need to find approval
for being dark. If we think we have cellulite, we
need to get way outside the box and find approval for cellulite. We can also invite other people to
contribute by having them brainstorm ideas with us about how we can
approve of what we disapprove of. Ask yourself: “How is this thing
I disapprove of…Good?”. We can also do this
relative to other people. If we hold ourselves to standards,
chances are really high that we hold everyone else
to a high standard as well. We have a high level of condemnation
for them or things about them. So we can flip this process
and do the same thing. Only this time our question
to ourselves is “How is this thing I disapprove of
in this other person good?”. Step six – We need to recognize our
insatiable desire to be good. And also we need to question why it is that we need
so badly to be good. Then we need to look for
proof that we are good. Positive self-focus is of
paramount importance. Again we can involve other
people in this process by asking them to tell us
what they like about us. Ask yourself: “How would someone benefit by
having a relationship with me?” “How am I a good person?” I’ll start by telling you that people
who experience shame have a very strong conscience. And over the course of history this has been seen as a trait
that only good people have. Because people who have
a high level of conscience also adhere to strong morals. Meaning that this is a person
– you are a person – who is not going to deliberately
harm other people. There is an innate yearning
in people to connect, to be seen, to be heard, to be felt, to be understood,
to belong. If you feel shame, these things in life are not
something you have tasted yet. You have been met
with the opposite. As a result you withdrew
and closed yourself off and shut down
to the world. Now there is a split
within your heart between the insatiable yearning
for those things and the fear and pain of opening
up and being hurt again. You need to address this
split within yourself with empathy and compassion. Many people within society
carry this same split and you have the opportunity
to heal it in yourself by practicing the art
of seeing, feeling, hearing, understanding and
seeing the value in yourself. And you also have the power
to heal it in other people by practicing the art of
seeing, feeling, hearing, understanding and seeing
the value in them. You did not end
up this way because something is wrong
or bad about you. You ended up this way because
during the process of socialization, which hurts so much more of us
than you know, you were hurt. The more you see that
you were hurt because of ignorance and also because
the very same wounds that were given to you were
given to the very people who perpetuated those
wounds to you, the less personal this
wounding will seem. It really isn’t about you. If you can begin to see
yourself through the lens of empathy and compassion,
you just might be able to see that maybe there is a big picture
to why you were unable to conform to these social
standards and values. Maybe there is a deeper reason. Maybe you didn’t come here to fit into
those standards in the first place. Maybe, if you had been able
to fit into those standards our society would have no
hope of evolving at all. Have a good week. ♪ (outro music) ♪ Transcript by Jason Kraus
Proofread by Friederike Peters
Synchro by Jason Kraus
Re-edited by Tanya Duarte Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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