I have been getting this question a lot recently. Trust me when I tell you that it’s a valuable and important question. My philosophy is that once we know what it actually looks like to heal our Shame, it becomes more manageable. We can begin to measure our own progress and imagine our own healing; it frequently empowers people to create the change necessary to heal their own Shame.
I want to reiterate that Shame is that feeling or sensation that destroys our ability to connect with other people as well as robs us of the feeling of being worthy of connecting with other people. One of the best feelings and sensations that we regain is that sense of connection. Not just with other people but with ourselves as well.
I would love to be able to sit down with each and every one of you and have a direct conversation about what Shame has robbed you of from your life. However, I’m not sure that would be helpful in the form of a blog. I tend to notice that even the mere word of Shame typically triggers people feeling and experiencing the Shame all over again.
I hope this blog serves as hope for you! I hope that it inspires you to find a way to move forward with your healing journey. I absolutely believe that human beings don’t deserve to live with, or in, Shame. I long to experience a
So what does it look like to have healed your Shame? There was a point in my life where I could not even imagine what my life would be like if I was actually free from Shame. Looking back, I’m not even the same person I was before. Today I KNOW that I am worthy of love and I settle for nothing less. So what does healing Shame look like? The following are areas where I have noticed my clients healing themselves:
Finding Your Voice: I was literally talking just this week to one of the clients I work with about how she has suddenly found her voice. The best part is she is not afraid to use it at all. When we discard the shackles of Shame we begin having an opinion on things and subsequently feel a right to be able to express those opinions. It’s a very freeing concept in the middle of the journey. However, at the beginning of the journey it feels a bit overwhelming. When we have lived a Shame filled life for so long, we slowly begin to loose our voice. For many of us we have lost the ability to have preferences or wants, let alone have opinions. When that begins to change we will absolutely celebrate.
Knowing Your Wants, Needs, and Preferences: I’m sure many of us have had that experience where someone wanted to know our preference (or what we wanted) and we just came up blank. It’s a bit different than just not having a preference. It’s the absolute inability to form a decision, because you just don’t feel worthy of having a need or want. At that point in our journey, preferences seriously just feels too arrogant. Once we begin clearing the damage that Shame creates, we slowly begin to find ourselves again.
Claiming Your Worth: As you begin to heal your Shame issues, you will find that you no longer settle for relationships that don’t bring you happiness or joy. You will begin to not tolerate unacceptable behavior and will not allow yourself to be put down. Even things that are seemingly no big deal, such as being the butt of other people’s jokes or being talked down to; become absolutely unacceptable and not tolerated. You will (sometimes not so slowly) find yourself choosing YOU and standing up for YOU in many situations. It will be a remarkable sight from where you started.
Consistently Choose YOU: This is by far my favorite measurement of growth and healing! When people begin choosing themselves things begin to shift and change for them in many different ways. Many people who have lived a lifetime or a lifestyle of Shame consistently reject themselves. Sometimes choosing you means asking for what you need. Sometimes choosing you means requesting that a restaurant fix an order that wasn’t to your specification. And sometimes choosing you just means taking a breath and slowing down enough to not have to push yourself with such a force. YOU get to decide what choosing you means for you, that’s part of the beauty of it.
Cultivation of Positive Supportive Relationships: As we begin claiming our worth, many times our friendship and support circle change as well. Being prepared for the reality that your circle will likely change could save you from the anguish in the middle of the process. It is perfectly okay for you to develop a healthy, supportive, and loving circle of support and friendship. I would love to encourage you to give yourself permission to discard anyone who doesn’t support you in a healthy manner.
Development of Self-Love and Self-Care as a Lifestyle: I’m a huge proponent of this one looking different for each and every one of us. What self-love looks like for me is different from what it looks like for you. How you apply self-love is different for you versus your neighbor or your best friend. I think you get the point I’m trying to make. I will no longer engage in those ridiculous debates of “this X thing isn’t self care”. Mostly because what that really communicates is that YOU are wrong for using that for self-care, but I am superior because I do self-care correctly. I’m a firm believer that you are the expert on you, therefore you don’t owe anyone an explanation about what you choose to do in an attempt to commit to a self-care or self-love lifestyle. Experiment! Have fun! There are literally no rules in this one for me.
This is not a black and white architecturally cemented plan of what healing Shame looks like. These are just the top six things I have noticed in the clients I have worked with that are aiming to heal their Shame issues. I’d love to hear back from you about what you are noticing as you are healing the Shame you have experienced in your life.
Jenn Bovee is a Shame Coach who works with people all over the world. She helps people to eliminate what is standing in between them and their perfect life! Jenn would love to invite you to check out her Living Out Loud Community. Learn more about it here: https://www.jennbovee.com/living-out-loud/