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Ep. 91 Overcoming Shame

by Claudine Sweeney
August 25th 2021

Shame. We have all felt it at one point or another. It's that single emotion that can cause such devastation in our lives by making us believe the painful narrative in our own minds. And that is wh... More

This is episode 91. Overcoming Shame. You're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and Shine podcast. Yeah, welcome back everybody. Okay, I'm going to start us off with a quote here. It says you are imperfect, you are wired for struggle. You are worthy of love and belonging. How many of you listening right now? Even Claudine and I'm talking right now have can that really strike our hearts? Oh my gosh feeling worthy of love and belonging.

I know for myself that has been a struggle in my life, especially it can still be a struggle, but especially even before, just a bigger transformation I had several years ago when I was intentionally working on my health and well being. But really, I mean, just shame, shame is what we're going to be talking about today. Shame can be so overwhelming and so consuming in our lives that it keeps us stuck, keeps us fearful. Um it hampers our relationships, our friendships, our health and well being even which will dive into more later on. But shame is one of those emotions that can be a real challenge to overcome. We don't always know what to do because basically what shame does is lie to shame has provided some of these beliefs about ourselves that we believe poor. That feels so true. That makes it very difficult to overcome. And part of that is because what happens well, again, we'll dive a little deeper into this is shame causes us to withdraw and just kind of retreat and keep to ourselves.

And it's a very dangerous place and it's going to be so hard to overcome shame. The emotions, the feelings of shame if we do that. And I know you know, it's easier said than done because for myself, struggling with depression for several times throughout the years, when you get into that shame spiral, it's very hard to recognize and it just keeps you so stuck and you're so tired. I just don't feel like doing anything. It's hard to rise up and shine when you're overwhelmed with shame. And today we're going to talk The difference too between gloomy, right? Yes, dark and gloomy. The difference between shame and guilt because for me in my mind years ago, it was very commingled. I didn't know there was a difference. So just to give us a little more clarity, guilt is a sense of remorse and the desire to make amends. Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging, which is what you were referring to guilt is action based.

I did a bad thing shame is character based. I am a bad person, guilt identifies an action that you regret prompting you to change for the future could be helpful, shame leads you to want to shrink, hide and disappear again when you share it. So there's distinct differences. But for me in my mind, they were very commingled. I figured if you were guilty, you were ashamed, ashamed or shameful. Um, but they are very different. So that's why we're talking about it today because it can really keep us down, right? And I know for ourselves and other many women we've talked to, we don't always realize how mean we are to ourselves, basically those negative thinking patterns. I mean how we talk to ourselves, what we think about ourselves. We don't always stop to pay attention to that. And that's where that shame will always be following us because we feel like we're inadequate. We feel like we're not enough, we feel like we're not doing enough or being enough and so that will keep us so stuck. But when there's no awareness of it, there's no way to change it.

We don't really, we don't always think something's wrong. We just know I feel off, I fell off. I don't feel good. I don't think about myself, but we can't always pinpoint down to, wow there's just a lot of shame that I'm carrying around and once we realize that then yeah, we could dig it out and we can start overcoming shame that it takes certain steps, practical, intentional steps to overcome. And obviously the first one, like we said, is awareness and knowing the difference, like you said, between guilt and shame, guilt can help us, help motivate us to change maybe a certain character flaw or apologize when we need to apologize or to own up to something that maybe we made a mistake or could have done differently, right? So like I'll give an example, so this morning right with my kids trying to get out of the house to, you know, get to school on time, it tends to be a stressful time for us, but I can fall into the trap of getting frustrated and trying to rush the kids and like you guys need to wake up earlier and you need to do this and you need to do that and that will cause shame for my kids or they feel bad, like my child was like, I feel like you're blaming us and I guess in my heart I kind of was, well you need to wake up earlier, but also after after that I send the kids to school, I feel a lot of shame.

So I think I totally was just not my best, I was overreacting, I was being harsh. Um I was not using it as a healthier, you know, teachable moment, okay we do next time to help set us up for success, but then I feel shamed, so now guilt would tell me, oh my gosh, okay, so I did not handle that very well when I pick the kids up, I'll apologize and let's try and figure out a solution or strategy to do better next time and I will be more aware to respond better next time, shame will tell me, oh my gosh, I'm a horrible mom, right, horrible. I sent my kids to school and yelled at them. They're probably sitting there thinking about how horrible I treated them all day long. I am so horrible, I'm such an awful mom, you know and I used to live in that space, I used to live in such a shameful space where I was punishing myself basically for overreacting or Well that's what shame does, it only punishes ourselves. It doesn't punish anyone else.

That's why we're talking about it because none of us need to or should, nor does God desire for any of us to live in this place of shame. Yeah, we are supposed to be living in freedom. You know, jesus came died to give us a life, you know life here uh as well as after life, eternal life, but we keep ourselves stuck in this place because of the shame. We don't get to experience true freedom, which he came for because we are shaming ourselves. We're self punishing, right? We have these negative self talk patterns, right? And that impacts our self esteem and are feeling of self worth and when we're stuck in shame, especially if we want to shrink and hide it affects our connections with others. I mean, how do we have deep satisfying relationships, healthy relationships when we're stuck in shame, it becomes very difficult because we're already struggling with our worth and our self esteem. So we don't think we deserve anything or were not good enough. So how do you really give of yourself 100% when you're stuck in shame, you really can't.

So that's shame. That's why it's so unhealthy. And that's what we're talking about today. And guilt. You know, each one of us got his designed, each one of us with a conscience. We know what's right and so much like the body has pain sensors, The soul has a conscience. And so we know when we're doing something that's not right, it's kind of like a little warning signal. Don't do that again, Don't do that again. And it's for our own good and for the good of the common, the common good. So, but guilt can be healthy when we take some time to reflect we feel that right? You feel like, oh, that wasn't good and then we reflect on it, realized. Yeah, I probably shouldn't do that behavior again. That was not acceptable behavior. I know it was wrong. I either hurt someone or did something that maybe went against our values. Unhealthy guilt can be more like shame. It's not exactly the same, but it's discomfort of doing something that really doesn't align with your values, right? But you're not trying to make amends, you just are like stuck in that and it can lead to shame.

So I think about that scripture in second Corinthians seven you, it talks a lot about godly sorrow versus worldly sorrow. I know we talked that one to our kids when they were younger. We really, you know, there's a difference when you tell your kids, hey, I need you to work on this or you did this and they're like sorry and they turn around and walk away. You know, they're not really sorry and you know, it's not going to produce change, right? Just like sorry. Yeah, we have them apologize to each other whenever they had little fights and you can tell when one of them was sincere or not, it was like, okay, let's try that again. And then the other ones, they do me a, they're just saying it right. Exactly. But Godly sorrow produces an eagerness and earnestness to clear ourselves. A longing, a concern, a readiness to see justice done at every point. You have proved yourself innocent that matter. And that's that's the point of guilt, guilt should be healthy and like, oh, I need to change this. But if we don't deal with it in a healthy way. If we don't make amends or we just keep on doing the same pattern of behavior eventually will lead to shame because then we is going against our core values and then it's like, yeah, I'm a bad person, right, It's just going to lead us to start thinking and feeling that true or not.

We're all worthy, we're all worthy of love and belonging, but we start to believe those lies like you said, I know for myself when I was learning a lot of this and going through counseling and doing my own research and trying to, you know, have my own healing. One of the things when Shane became such a prominent uh issue, root issue, basically I realized I had to do a lot of digging, I realized that gosh, a lot of this is coming from way early on in my life, you know, a lot of these things that I say to myself or believe about myself are things that I just somehow decided to believe when I was a kid. And as we've talked about many, many times on this podcast, our prefrontal cortex, our brain is not fully developed because of that. Prefrontal cortex is the last one to evolve. Right, right. One to fully develop, which is a good thing because we need a little bit more wisdom and maturity for that one.

But a lot of these beliefs come from an underdeveloped brain and so and we don't realize that that gosh like these things that I'm feeling and they feel so true, that's the thing about shame, shame feels so accurate, it feels the things that you think about yourself, you believe about yourself, they feel so true because we thought it's for years and years and years, that that's just our way, our natural, you know, default, it's a natural way of thinking about ourselves, especially if you have gone through traumatic experiences. So trauma, there could be big traumas, there could be little traumas, right? Big traumas. Obviously if a parent was incarcerated or if there's been divorce or death or sickness or abuse, you know, those are big traumas, Little traumas could be the mean girl on the playground that said something hurtful to you and you just kind of recite it in your mind and what do they mean? And unfortunately no matter big or small traumas, what kids tend to do, they tend to turn inward and something must be wrong with me, right?

If there is something that a parent said or a teacher said or you overheard or or didn't say even even my family, we had a lot of my brother had some health issues growing up and so my mom obviously had to attend to him a lot of the time and I didn't get as much attention inadvertently, but you know, I realized going into adulthood that that has affected me, you know, feeling not very important because I didn't really get one on one attention, you know, were you know, I mean with young kids, they're always, oh mommy look at this, Oh dad, I want to show you anything and everything I possibly have drawn or seen or read. And so when the kids aren't getting certain attention because of just life circumstances, then the kids can grow up and feel like, oh, maybe I, you know, I don't want to be a burden, They have too much going on. And um, you know, it it's the sad truth. It really is a sad truth. That's not like your parents don't love you, right?

But with our child brain, we're going to have to come to a conclusion. Our brain tries to make meaning and make sense of things and that's, that's you hit the nail on the head because a lot of shame comes from our childhood and it's other people's behavior that are immature brains are underdeveloped brains try to make you know, sense out of and it becomes about us and our worthiness and I must maybe good enough even with abuse Children at a young age, blame themselves. And I remember for me, I had a boyfriend, I'm still my teens but an adult, I guess quote unquote. And um he was very abusive and I remember thinking something wrong with me and I really spiraled down for a couple of years that relationship lasted about a year. I really thought there was something wrong with me. Like I must be broken. I must be bad that someone would treat me that way. And it was until a few years later. I'll never forget. I was pregnant with my first child in Greece visiting family and I was alone for a few hours and I remember all the sun.

It was like God whispered in my ear. He was not well that was it. I didn't literally hear a voice, but it was like it spoke to me like it was the first time in those 23 years where it hit me, wait, this wasn't my fault. But how many Children that are young that go through these traumas like you talked about that may not hear that voice until much much later, but now they've had years of feeling unworthy or broken or something's wrong and that's why we need to address it today. And the truth of it is, is shame. This is a quote from Renee Brown. But shame derives its power from being unspeakable. And so many things that I've talked to many women as I'm sure you have more than either one of us should have that have had some serious abuse in their childhood and it's really hard to speak about it. And as long as they don't speak about it, then it maintains its power. Oh, absolutely. Because another lie we buy into is nobody will understand, right? And as you've mentioned, there's so many other women that I've experienced that to even depression.

Depression earrings, right? Yes. For so many years, there's been a stigma on that. Something is wrong with you. So especially as a christian woman, right? We talk about that a lot of shame with that. Yeah, I don't want to tell anybody. You know, I already feel bad enough in myself, you know about myself. I don't need someone else telling me what I should be doing or that I'm not good enough for doing the right thing. And when we're stuck in that cycle, that shame cycle, it's a very fragile place to be. You know, we're very definitely much more sensitive. It can be hard to hear things and so that's why we don't reach out. We don't we don't give it a voice and I feel like, gosh, the last time I experienced depression which was several years ago, that was probably the last lesson that I learned that has helped keep me out of depression in the future is because I did not keep myself in silence. I started speaking openly about it is like this is just something I'm experiencing right now.

And I know many, many other people experience as well. And it gives a sense of comfort knowing that someone else can understand because with shame we don't believe that we don't think someone else will understand and that's going to keep us stuck right there, not what we want, right? We want to overcome. That shame is not something we're supposed to be carrying around again. It comes, it can be so deep, it could be so deep from going way back years and years. I'll even share one that I've even talked with my mom about this. I, my parents divorced. I was really young, I think around six. Um, and middle school, I never knew why. I never, a lot of parents don't not, you know, an intentional keeping this secret or anything, but it's very much between a husband and wife trying to protect, trying to protect the kids. Exactly. They don't need to know all the details. But what happened with me as my brain trying to make sense of what happened, why dad's not living with us anymore. I, for whatever reason, I don't even remember how I how or when I got onto this belief, but it was, it must have been me because my mom had two boys and then a girl maybe he didn't want a girl, maybe he wanted all boys.

And so I just started kind of focusing on entertaining that one thought that just popped up in my head out of nowhere and I started to believe it for years. That must be why. That must be the reason. And it was years later until I was in middle school I asked my mom like what happened, why did you just get a divorce? Was it my fault? And I know that is something that's very common with kids. Kids will tend to blame themselves. Again. It must be my fault must be something I did And I mean really like again I was stuck in that spot as a kid because I didn't give it a voice and ask sooner, hey, what happened? Right. I just kind of let myself capture that thought and believe it. Yeah, so true. So easy to do. Well that's why we're talking about it today because we have some practical, if you're struggling with shame and or guilt, I mean for guilt, it's kind of a no brainer because guilt is about a behavior in action you've taken. So if you've done something that you feel guilty about, here's, here's the practical go make amends, go make amends as much as you can.

I mean obviously, you know when I talk disrespectfully to my husband and I feel guilty about, I feel pricked like yeah, that was kind of ugly. That wasn't out of love, then I can just go to him and apologize. Hey, I'm sorry that didn't come out the way I intended it to, I'm sorry if I hurt you or you know, keeps you and him out of that shame. Yeah, stepping over into that shame. Yes, Yes. So guilt should produce change. That's the good part of guilt. And even with that, forgive ourselves because we're going to make mistakes like we're human. We're human, right? We're wired for the struggle. So we're going to make mistakes and learning to forgive ourselves. Like not beating ourselves up because we did that for me to sit around and go, oh man, what a terrible wife I am. I spoke disrespectfully to my husband and keep beating myself up Does not produce change. That's not an earnestness or an eagerness to see right done. But going to my husband saying, Hey, I'm really sorry about that.

That does that takes like 30 seconds. The other one is like months and months of beating myself up. So beating or just move on so quick. Yeah, forgive and move on and right. It's like we try to do penance by beating ourselves up right? Like we deserve because we're guilty. So we should beat ourselves up because that's the way I'm going to pay for this so unhealthy and so not the way God wants us to deal with it. So if you're struggling with guilt, the first one is make amends and forgive yourself. Don't beat yourself up. But let's talk about shame and practical is to deal with shame. So first one for me that was so crucial in me. You know, working through my shame, is that learning who I am in God's eyes? How does God see me? And obviously that goes, you need to dive into the scriptures and God tells you all over the place how wonderful how fearfully may how dearly loved, how chosen, how redeemed, you know, we are all these things and we were made holy because the blood of jesus.

We were made holy. But what happens with shame? We don't live like it, right? We don't live in that. We don't live loved. So it's very hard because we feel like, well I don't deserve it. And as you said, like a penance, right? Like we punish ourselves well, I need to punish myself until that's the way I know. Until when to win, hit the gavel. And you're done, good job, good job! You beat yourself up a sufficient amount of time. Now you get to advance to the next pig on the board. So instant it could be, you know, just starting to believe this is who I am in God's eyes. This is how God sees me. Why can't I see myself that I can see my Children like that. I can see my friends like that. How come I can't see myself like that. And so affirmations were one of the things that were huge. And obviously my affirmations were based on truth. God's truth, not just things I'm making up out of thin air. It's like, okay, I am chosen.

I am wonderfully and fearfully made. I am God's masterpiece. I am redeemed. I am holy. I am dearly loved. I already said that one, but I like that one because I loved loved loved, I am loved, But we don't always live from that space work when we're in You know, shame and shame. And so in order to live like that. And one thing that has really helped is with the affirmations, you have to repeat, repeat, repeat. It's a meditation meditate on these things, right? Meditate on what God says about you. Because it's like, um intellectually we can know it, especially christian women, we can know it, but we don't feel it in our hearts. And so to get our hearts to catch up, we have to just say it over and over and over and we are renewing our minds. We're reviewing our mind when we're saying those things to ourselves and building those new neural pathways and you will start believing that you'll start feeling it and then you're going to start living from that place.

I am loved, loved and redeemed, I'm forgiven, I'm worthy. Yes, I'm worthy. This is great. So that's where that's the goal, that's where we want to be. But it's going to take work. It's going to take intention and do the work. You know, practice practice Practice practice is huge. You have to make sure you're doing it. That's why they're practical because you have to practice Yes, well, that practical goes along with mine, which was replaced the lies for truth and it's the same thing like, we have to take those scriptures, the things we believe to be true and replacement for the lies that, you know, we get whispered in our head, right? It's like, you're not good enough. You're not worthy. You're not love. That's not the truth. Those are the lies, right. Um we have to steal. He doesn't destroy Yes. You know where those thoughts are coming from and he's doing it mostly in our mind. That's where it all begins in our mind, right? And it's so easy to buy into it. So you it must be true. Yeah. And I feel it and I feel it right, because our thoughts trigger our emotions so we feel it.

And then it's like, well it must be true because I feel it and I think it and I only think right things right. And then when someone wrongs you, it's like, see there's right there, there's that must be Yeah. So we replace the lies for truth and it is digging deep. And it is I think we both have resources on our websites that mind over chaos dot com or Claudine Sweeney dot com. Where we have resources that can be put up or set up as reminders, we have those positive affirmations. We have those words, those truths that can encourage us and build us up so we can rise up and shine. And lastly, the last practical I have is talk it through. It really does help. I mean, I know there's some things are far more private and personal, but it is that keeping it in the dark if you have a trusted friend or a coach or a counselor that you can talk things through because once you get it out in the light darkness has no more hold on it or on you and your heart. So talk it through. I know there's things that I've shared publicly.

I've spoken publicly over the last well many years, but there's things I've shared publicly. I thought I would never share. I'm like, no, this is a secret. Like I don't want anyone to know this about me or know that I did this because then they wouldn't like me or they wouldn't respect me or they would think less of me. And then what we find what I found for sure is as we share those things, there's actually a greater connection because then women who have been sitting in the dark with their story, with their shame with their guilt. They come out and they're like, oh, I thought it was just me. Yeah, I thought it was just how many times I've heard. Yeah. And so when we bring it out into light, not only do we connect with others, but we can be an instrument of change and instrument of hope to others. So that's a beautiful thing. So talk it through with someone trusted, don't give your, you know, don't give these um, fragile parts of you to someone that you don't trust. Right? So make sure it's a confident, very close friend or accounts or coach, someone that has some training that can understand these things.

Yeah, I've heard so much over the years. There's not much that I can hear these days that would make me flinch, but you know, you know, I want to add in there also, so shame. We can be so susceptible to shame when we have a lot of stress going on in our lives and think about even the last year and a half with the pandemic. And you know, I mean obviously for any stage of life, but I know for myself as a mom who had kids home i recently, because now they're back in school. I feel like, gosh, is this the first time I'm actually processing the whole year and a half of what? Just what just happened. That's why I feel like I'm asking myself what just happened here? How did I get here and what happened with my family all this. So but I've been really paying attention and I can almost feel the temptation to go down that shame pathway of I didn't handle that the way that I wish I would have, wow, I'm not questioning myself in a this is danger danger zone.

Danger zone still go down this path actually. Yeah. And so just recognizing your stage of life, what's going on in the world, anything I mean really take into consideration, I have grace on yourself. That is huge. We don't give ourselves grace, it's easy to give other people grace. It is very difficult to give ourself grace and we're human, we're all human, we're all in this world on earth together and we can understand each other's struggles. We really can't, especially as women and so giving it voice is huge, especially right now and coming back, I mean the pandemic still going on, but we're kind of moving forward a little bit. There's more light at the end of the tunnel, right? There's a little bit more freedom. Kids are back in school. Um, so, but just really paying attention to uh to that. I mean, there was a big heavy year. There was a lot, not just the pandemic, but there was a lot of political stuff, race stuff, you know, natural disasters. There's a lot going on in the world.

That's very stressful. So just be very careful of what you're saying to yourself and how you're treating yourself because you are just as important and worthy. Then your spouse, your best friend, your coworkers, your Children. You know, you're just as important Grace and compassion. I love him. Well, before we close, I'll leave us with this quote God has already taken into account the wrong turns and the mistakes in your life, quit beating yourself up and accept his mercy until next time. All right, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rice. I've been shine podcast. If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode. And while you're at it share this episode with a friend who, you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our websites, you can catch clotting over at Clotting Sweeney dot com and Ashley at Mind over chaos dot com Are links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well.

So remember, ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life. Mhm. Yeah.

Ep. 91 Overcoming Shame
Ep. 91 Overcoming Shame
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