Burnout to Leadership

Ep#32 5 steps to manage shame

May 13, 2022 Dex Randall Season 1 Episode 32
Burnout to Leadership
Ep#32 5 steps to manage shame
Show Notes Transcript
  • Where we get shame from.
  • How shame differs from guilt.
  • The redundancy of shame.
  • 5 steps to reduce shame.


0:00:09.3 Dex Randall: Hi everyone, my name is Dex Randall, and this is the burnout to leadership podcast, where I teach professional men to recover from burnout and get back to passion and reward at work. Hello, my friends, Dex here. Let's get into some investigation of shame today, shall we? I'm gonna look into what shame is, why we have it and what to do about it. It sounds like a fun thing to do, because I think shame is such a fundamental part of many people's anxiety, feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem, such a powerful emotion, one that we're not always very keen to acknowledge and experience, most of us would like to make it go away, I know I would, even though I entice myself to deal differently with it these days. But for those of you who know what we mean by the word buffering, Shame can be a big trigger to buffer, and for those who don't know, we use buffering as a term to describe the wilful avoidance of a feeling, a painful or unwelcome feeling by over-consuming something, like by food, alcohol, social media work, exercise, gambling, sex, you name it.

0:01:29.9 DR: And we do this in order to create a different feeling, we do something or we over-do something to change emotional state, buffering is actually the basis of all addiction it's subject to the law of diminishing returns however much we consumed yesterday to avoid a feeling, we'll probably need to consume more today to avoid the same feeling, because really, we can't eliminate any feeling, we can only distract ourselves from it or suppress it, and it's gonna return later with the bells on, you might have tried this experiment, I sure have. Buffering has a net negative effect in our lives, we consume rather than feel, and in doing so, we limit our human experience, we lock parts of it and with thus, limit our potential to grow, learn, connect, explore, have adventures and achieve goals.

0:02:29.0 DR: So anyway, buffering might well happen when shame raise its head because shame can be a very uncomfortable experience, shame is something we're taught, a baby doesn't come into this world with shame is my personal belief. At some point somebody, probably a well-meaning parent, relative or teacher, tells us how to be ashamed of ourselves, they tell us how to do it and why we should do it, but it's the very same shame they've been told and carried all their lives, they just pass it on to us as received wisdom, it's based on their thoughts and beliefs about what constitutes a decent human being, They probably teach us these things to protect us from being bad and therefore being rejected a little bit misguided as it turns out. And we, knowing no better as children take on this shame story, unquestioningly, we kind of realise we're bad, and then we adopt their same story as our own, as if it's fact, and we faithfully bear the pain of that for the rest of our days. Unless we question and refute it, unless we choose to heal from it, which is what we can do here with coaching, we can release this old story.

0:03:53.8 DR: I teach my clients how to let go of shame beliefs, it benefits everyone, because a person in shame is carrying a wound hiding away who they really are and feeling terrible about themselves, it really cramps our style to be in this shame and dwell in shame. Good work, good behaviour, good connections, good relationships, love, enjoyment, fun, do not spring from shame. From my view, shame has no upside because there's no solution to shame, we can't change our behaviour and fix it, because it doesn't actually arise from behaviour. Guilt is something we feel when we think we've done something wrong, that we can remedy, we can offer apologies or recompense. We can make amends, we can examine our values and decide not to do it again, but with shame, it's not actually something we've done, we're taught to be ashamed of, or if it is, that behaviour is just an external manifestation of inner wrongness. And by the way, that behaviour itself is almost certainly a coping mechanism for us. Think about being ashamed for being overweight or drinking too much, or spending too much money, or having the wrong religious beliefs, or being of a certain race or gender, there's gonna be a big story and others judgment on us, and they may feel certainly right and justified in shaming us.

0:05:32.0 DR: Now, here, I've mentioned intrinsic attributes such as race, but also behaviour, such as spending. Notice how the behaviours have an almost involuntary theme to them too, for example, if we're over-drinking, we're doing it to escape a feeling, it's essentially an attempt to control and protect our emotions, any addictive process is trying to escape a feeling, and if we habitually escape inadequacy or shame with alcohol, for example, then those who judge and shame us are shaming us for the invisible after-effect of our existing shame thereby perpetuating the original shame.

0:06:16.2 DR: We're taught to be ashamed of who we are, of our own personality and nature. Our identifying features. So we know inside of us, it's a permanent stain that can never be removed. We are intrinsically not good enough. So here again, guilt is, I've done something wrong. Shame is I am something wrong. It's no wonder we hate ourselves. Anyway, I'm calling bullshit on all that, it's rubbish. Every baby is born perfect and sorry Catholics. You can keep your original sin. Okay, not literally you if you're a Catholic, you might be one of the people who needs shame healing the most, but the concept of original sin that humans through the fact of birth inherit a tainted nature in need of regeneration and a proclivity to sinful conduct. Thank you, Wikipedia. That concept I'm not so keen on, it breeds shame. People can be easily controlled when they're in fear and shame is a great way of cultivating fear. Shame, as you of course know, is crippling. Think back on all the opportunities in your life that you've missed out on, because shame held you back.

0:07:35.9 DR: The damage, I think that shame inflicts on the psyche is enormous. Marital conflict, broken families, crime, addiction, dysfunction, poverty, job loss, homelessness, suicide, aggression, and loneliness can all arise from shame. I've really got nothing against any religion, but I do fear for people growing up in any kind of cultivated shame culture. Myself I studied Buddhism where the teaching is that all babies are born perfect. And that that perfection endures like a diamond locked inside of us. Indelible, always there ready to shine out no matter how our lives turn out, how we behave, we can always return to our innate perfection inside. Our so-called bad behaviours coming from fear and lack are just like clouds passing before the sun, when they pass the sun still shines. Think I've mentioned this before, but when the Dalai Lama was asked by a student on an early visit to America, what to do about self hatred, he didn't know what it was. He said in Tibet they don't experience that. The children are regarded as perfect. And the role of parents or teachers is to help them know and connect or reconnect to that perfection. Slightly different to Western culture.

0:09:09.8 DR: But here's the kicker. Shame is simply a judgment. If you are carrying shame, it's based on someone else's belief and judgment that they've passed on to you. So unless it serves you to keep believing that and why would it, how about simply letting that person's belief go. Anytime you're ready, you can choose a new belief about yourself that fits your values. That allows you to be the full authentic you and live with all your emotions, all your potential, your current and future goodness. And I know, yeah, the golden rule of shame is that you don't talk about it. It's like fight club. No one must know. So you hide away your shame in a dark corner of your soul, where no one will see it. And thus it festers and grows and poisons your system. It poisons, not just your soul and your feelings, but your body, your relationships, your performance, and your success.

0:10:11.1 DR: Shame thrives in silence, but we don't have to be silent. The antidote is to develop a fierce and unconditional love for yourself is to be brave, to purposely commit, to being your own defender, your own champion. To nourish and cherish the inherent good that's in your heart and not back any attempt your subconscious mind may make to bring up shame in you. And that means you need to first notice shame when it comes up, notice how you feel in your body, your face going red, or the energy curling up smaller inside you, the urge to withdraw. And in that moment, choose to actively heal just right there in that moment. And here's a way you can do this.

0:11:02.5 DR: So step one, make a one-time agreement with yourself that you're a good person. That you have good heart and basically good intention. Notice what attributes you have that embody this goodness, which despite momentarily having bad choices or poor behaviour, that goodness prevails. Look for the proof that you're good for change. And remember that so-called bad behaviour comes from fear, from feeling unsafe. So it can be disregarded entirely in terms of your underlying good nature. So that's step one, agree that you're a diamond fundamentally good, and therefore, undeserving of shame. Step two. When you experience something that brings up shame in you, notice it and call it by its name. Oh, this is shame. I'm feeling shame. It's okay for me to experience any feeling. It's just a vibration in my body. And this one is shame. This is how shame feels. I don't need to react to this feeling. I don't need to act out. I can sit quietly and simply observe it and feel it because really a feeling is just information. I don't need to reject my experience of shame or reject myself because I feel it, I'm okay.

0:12:29.1 DR: Once you're the conscious observer of shame, you've basically separated shame from who you actually are, and you're giving yourself the power to make a new choice about it. And you can do this with any emotion of course, and interestingly shame or any other emotion can be associated with a particular part of your body. So it's possible you always feel a specific type of shame in the same place and notice that it's information for you. So step two, notice that shame has arisen and how it feels. Become the watcher of shame. Step three. Now you've seen it, track down the thought you had that triggered shame to arise in you. It's not what happened that triggered you, but what you thought about what happened. Perhaps what happened was you felt that someone insulted you, your body, your abilities, your behaviour, your mind, see that's straight away a thought.

0:13:26.5 DR: For example, somebody might have said you gamble too much, or you're too small or too big, but without having a thought about that, you'll not feel shame. Shame is only going to arise if they hit a nerve and you agree a little bit that you gamble too much or you're the wrong size and that that's a bad thing, then you feel shame. It basically shows your belief you have about yourself. That's unkind that isn't loving. It might be an old belief that you forgot you even had. And now here it is popping up like a weed. So just become aware of it. So that's step three. Notice the thought you had that created shame. Step four, decide quite simply not to believe or accept that thought anymore. Remember, you've already agreed that you're a diamond, a basically good person with a good heart. So you don't actually need shame because of this.

0:14:25.0 DR: It serves no purpose. You can outlaw the shame thought on the spot gently, but firmly. Don't attack yourself anymore with this thought, don't let shame be an inside job. Tell the thought as if you're talking to a person, because in fact, you're talking directly to your inner critic. Thanks, but I don't need you anymore. That thought is noted, but it can go now. You don't need to get mad about it. Just dismiss it like an unwanted gift. Simply let it go. Let it drift away. Don't invest any further attention to that thought. You don't believe it anymore. So step four, refute the shame thought and let it go. Step five, choose instead to think a thought about your diamond self inside. Choose to think that you're a good person. Be the champion of you, the protector of your own body, mind, heart, and soul. State out loud, or in your mind that you believe in yourself as a good person who doesn't need shame.

0:15:34.5 DR: Tell yourself you love yourself and okay, [chuckle] if this is new for you, don't worry, no one is listening. The person you're telling is actually your inner child who felt unsafe in that shame. You know you get a bit jittery and a bit uncertain about yourself because really would you like to feel safe and secure inside? Because this is how you can do it. You can champion yourself, do not skip this step. Loving yourself is actually your job. And if you don't do it, no one else really can or will. If you don't love yourself, you will never fully receive and feel the love of others. If you experience shame at all, you know this. 'Cause how keen are you to talk about your shame with your partner or your family? But when you truly believe and act on this love for yourself, your relationship with you will start to heal and become much lighter and more joyful and your relationship with others will organically improve along the way.

0:16:42.6 DR: So step five, I don't care how it sounds. Tell yourself you're good. So these steps I've outlined here, these five steps, they're simple, they're easy, anyone can do them. So choose it for yourself, I beg you, and every shame visits you, every time you practice these steps to disarm shame, you are de-conditioning your shaming beliefs and they become weaker and starts to fade away. Be kind, choose love. Don't based in shame, my friends. There's just no point. Live a full and happy life. Let the full goodness of you come out to play. Thank you for listening today. I'm thankful to be here with you. If you have a lot of shame and it's cramping your style at work and at home causing ongoing stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem, irritability, poor mood, etcetera, compromising your work performance and relationships, contributing to people-pleasing behaviours, stopping you following your dreams. You must come and talk to me about how to recover quickly and sustainably and get back to your best performance and enjoyment inside work and out.

0:17:52.8 DR: If you're in burnout and ready to recover, come and join my burnout to leadership program. You can book in to talk with me at burnout.dexrandall.com. Just tell me what's bugging you and let's make a plan to fix it.