Clear up these hidden shame structures BEFORE you have children!
I am a counselor who helps people who feel afraid, sad or hopeless. Many counselors, like me, who work with children and families, have known for a long time the importance of helping people feel less embarrassed or ashamed.
Scientists are now proving that our habits when we feel bad about yourself keep growing if you do not change them. The feeling of shame is deep inside us and can seem like all that we are.
You are not bad. You do not have anything wrong with you because you feel embarrassed. You may feel bad about something you did or did not do, that does not make you bad. When you can see the habit of how you think about yourself, you can change that habit of thinking.
Scientists let us know that our shame needs to use the language of our thinking to grow inside us. It does not always make sense. It feels like it makes sense, though. If I feel bad about myself I can then think bad things about me and believe them.
This makes me feel worse and which leads to thinking worse things about myself. If I think “Nobody loves me.” Then I hide in my room because I feel so bad, it is very hard for anyone to show that they love me. Then I get mad because no one loves me.
When they try to be nice to me I am mean to them, which proves I am bad. What actually happens, is I feel bad so I act badly. I am good and want to be better. You are good and want to get better.
The way we feel bad about ourselves grows in two different ways inside us. One is connected to our sense of touch and smell. The other is connected to the way we see and the way we use words. As much as shame hurts it is easier to heal because we can use words to discover it.
Disgust with ourselves and others develops out of touch and smell. It is difficult to uncover, especially by talking.
So let's heal our shame. When you think you are bad, the thinking part of our brain is adding to the problem. Talking with someone can help you understand that you do not need to think you are bad. Secret bad feelings are ones that grow.
Be sure the person you are telling your troubled thinking to is kind and will listen to you. Even the things you feel the worst about will feel better if you share them.
Deep inside our brains and bodies, when we are very young, we begin to get the habits of feeling shame. Usually our friends and family help us stop believing we are bad in most of our thinking.
If we never tell anyone, or no one seems to understand, the bad feeling gets worse and worse. It is harder to change this thinking as an adult. Thinking you are bad is not right. You are a person like everyone else.
People can do bad things, they are no bad people. If you did bad things you can stop doing them. If you were mean to people you can practice being nicer. You will feel much better. Look people in the eye and try to find out what they really think about you.
Do not guess they are thinking bad things about you. Ask to see a counselor if you cannot stop thinking they are thinking bad things about you.
A counselor is someone you can feel safe talking with about confusing things. They will help you see your goodness. They will help you feel that light is shining in dark places inside you.
Bill Maier, LCSW is complying a book for therapists on softening shame structures by utilizing sublimation, with chapters appearing on his website. He has successful used this non-formulaic approach with hundreds of adults, youth, couples and families in a private practice setting.