3 Ways to Battle Shame

Last week I wrote a bit about Brene Brown’s concept, the Shitty First Draft, and how to counter it. If we slow down to pay attention, we see the many small moments our shitty first drafts fight for our attention. It can be as simple and subtle as the moment your spouse looked away from you when you came out in your new sweater for the first time (SFD: He thinks it looks bad on me, I’m not good enough), or the look that stranger gave you walking Lake Merritt (SFD: She heard what I said and is judging me), or the drop of your stomach when a group of coworkers make lunch plans without you (SFD: They don’t like me, I’m a tag-a-long).

Once those everyday shame moments are in our awareness, how do we battle it?

TIP #1: Battle Shame Through Journaling

Carve out 10 minutes to write down, unfiltered, what you are thinking & feeling. We can’t rewrite our stories if we don’t know the original draft. Brene Brown recommends jotting down:

The story I’m telling myself:
My feelings:
My body:
My thinking:
My beliefs:
My actions:

TIP #2: Battle Shame Through Affirmations

Rewriting the story shame is telling about us requires movement towards a more truthful, more productive story. Affirmations are a great way to remind ourselves of what is true, or what we are working on becoming true, about us. These are positive statements that help challenge the negative self-talk in our heads. Find affirmations online, or write ones to counter your shitty first draft. For example: “I am worthy of love”, “I am generous”, “I am enough”, “I am learning and growing”, etc. Put these on sticky notes, as reminders on your phone, on your bathroom mirror.

TIP #3: Battle Shame in Community

The half-truths of shame thrives in secrecy. Sometimes we need to get out of our heads and and consult with trusted others. Breaking the silence is a huge first step in battling shame. Safe friends can offer empathy and remind us what is most true about ourselves. We often are much more generous and kind hearted towards others than we are towards ourselves. Borrow a friend’s compassion & perception until you can wear it on your own.

Take a moment to commit what you will try this week to battle your shame messages. If you need a therapist in your community to help rewrite your negative core beliefs, reach out today