Life is so hard; shame is so evident. Can we really combat shame? We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and night in us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us – that we are bad, flawed, and not good enough – and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs – Brene Brown Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness; we will discover the infinite power of light. Here are the tips to combat shame that inspire your self-esteem:
Accepting yourself as you are
As Carl Jung said – “I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” Nobody is perfect; after all we are human beings. Accepting yourself as you are is the primary requisite to combat shame. We can’t let ourselves be seen if we are terrified by what people might think. Nothing is going to work unless you do the work. So take the decision to love yourself with all your imperfections.
If others hurt you, the reason may not be always you
Most of us commonly attribute others’ rejection as a hallmark to validate ourselves. Just stop that. You are officially a prisoner of “pleasing, performing and perfecting.” Sometimes it’s just what you do not who you are. I’ve spent many sleepless nights thinking over fitting myself according to others expectations. Once I realized the fact, my heart is at ease.
Express but don’t defend
Sometimes we may hurt others too. Let us not be arrogant and stupid – that may erode our relationships and enhance our shame further. In that case, the best tool is, “Express but don’t defend”. If you feel, you have done a mistake; just express your feelings but never ever defend. If you start defending, you give an impression that your feelings are not valid. Be proud by not defending your feelings. Usually inner strength is respected; we get back what we put out.
Let go of need for approval
You are not here to please others; you just have to please yourself to live truly. Look at people in your life as “practice”. The way they react allows you to see what has to work on within yourself. Through them you can practice to let inappropriate reactions go off and develop more responsible ways of behaving. Instead of getting approval, if you practice the above said principle – you can miraculously improve your social relations with your needs keeping integrity intact.
There is always a truth in paradox. You may think that being vulnerable is letting others to give the power to shame us. But the truth is vulnerability is the best antidote to shame. When we are vulnerable, we indirectly inspire others to be vulnerable too. Vulnerability is life’s great bravery. Inculcate it; embrace it to combat shame effectively.
Seek out empathy
The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives. Whenever you come across shame, just share with whom you trust; it relieves you to the core. Empathy is connecting with the emotion that someone is experiencing, not the event of circumstance. It conveys a simple acknowledgement, “You are not alone”. Before concluding, just remember these words from Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling – You are not a bad person. You are a very good person who bad things have happened to. Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We have all got both light bad dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.