If you are ready and willing to do to the work, come with me and set the stage for the exploration of your shame. Find moments of stillness when you can tune into what is going on inside yourself, turn inwards and get curious about what you will find when you do. Be compassionate when you find something you do not like and find the courage to sit with the uncomfortable emotions and feelings. If you need, find support and seek professional help.
Find a gap between where you and your shame stop and start, and if you cannot go about actively creating some distance between you and your shame, practice watching the shame, and the emotions and feelings it brings, from a distance to get a sense of actually being separate from it.
Ask yourself what the story is that you are telling yourself around your shame. Spend a little time with the story and then decide to leave it behind, or start editing the story so you can begin to change the way you talk about what started it in the first place.
Bring your attention into your body and find out where shame lives in it. How does it feel? Just sit with it for a while and allow yourself to experience that feeling without doing anything else. Ask questions like I described the in the earlier Shame post.
Pay attention to when you judge others and realise that it is really about you. Examine why you feel a need to externalise the shame, and take note of what you are feeling and thinking when you do. Examine the possibility that you could empathise with the other person instead based on what you know about your own shame.
Check to see if there is fear involved and allow yourself to feel that fear and pay attention to where that fear is present in your body. Embrace it and begin to understand that it is not a threat to you but that it wants to protect you even though its logic is flawed.
Practice becoming accepting and even comfortable with whatever you are feeling at any given moment. Especially pay attention to when you fear something and it did not happen, and even more so when you feared that something negative would happen but everything turned out well.
Actively seek the truth and challenge how you think about yourself. Put yourself in situations where you cannot anticipate the outcome fully and in situations where people do not know you so their reactions to you are not rehearsed. Do it just to see what happens.
Turn from shame to opening your heart and daring to be vulnerable. The most effective weapon in the fight to rid yourself of shame is to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Notice how when you are vulnerable others will allow themselves to be vulnerable around you too. Notice how when you are vulnerable others still accept you and even feel more relaxed about themselves, and how they begin to share more of themselves with you.
The steps I have just described are just some of the ways you can begin to more lovingly work through your shame to begin to release it.
Check out next week’s post for more information about shame.