Shame Keeps Us Stuck. Taking Responsibility Frees Us.
How often have you felt guilty or “ashamed” about yourself or about something you did?
For example, have you ever felt “ashamed” about:
- yelling at your kids?
- being overweight?
- drinking one too many glasses of wine the night before?
- not being further along in your career than you “should” be?
As Don Miguel Ruiz writes: “Human beings are the only species on the planet who punish themselves over and over again.”
Repeatedly feeling ashamed just keeps us stuck.
How Can You Take Responsibility Instead of Sitting in Shame?
When I feel “shame,” it is because of my thinking. It is an emotion that really doesn’t move me forward.
When I feel guilty or ashamed, I try to be curious and compassionate about why I am thinking that way.
Then I do my best to take Responsibility for what I am feeling badly about.
For example, if I yelled at my kids (which never happens 😀) and I didn’t want to, I might feel ashamed.
However, if I take responsibility for yelling and admit I was wrong, my shame dissipates.
I can say to my child, “I am sorry I yelled, but I was very angry that you lied to me about X.” If this happens again, rather than yelling at you, I am going to enforce the consequence of Y.”
How Taking Responsibility Can Free Us of Shame
In response to the questions above, ask yourself this – instead of feeling ashamed…
- How can I take responsibility for my weight and health, and also get support to help me lose it?
- How can I take responsibility for drinking too much and make a plan to not do it again?
- How can I take responsibility for where I am in my career and make a plan to figure out my next steps?
As with everything, remember to be curious and compassionate about your “shame” first.
Then see how you can take responsibility – even in the tiniest way.
Try it, and let me know if you feel more FREE!
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I like to think of any emotion I have as a choice.
I have written before in a blog about how science supports that we don’t have to be a victim of our emotions.
If I work on my thoughts about the emotion I want to feel, I can change that emotion — or generate a new one.
Two Types Of ‘I Don’t Know’
Choosing to be “Confused” or stuck in “I Don’t Know” mode about anything is generally not helpful to anyone.
There are two ways to interpret “I Don’t Know”:
1) “I Don’t Know” because you need more information. For example, this “I Don’t Know” could be when you are deciding on a car purchase, and you are not sure which one to buy. You may want to look into types of cars, their safety ratings, and prices. You may stay in “I Don’t Know” mode until you have accumulated enough details to make an informed decision. This type of “I Don’t Know” can help drive you to seek the right solution.
2) The second “I Don’t Know” mode is when you are unwilling or afraid to commit to a decision. For example, stating, “I don’t know what to do with my career,” typically makes you feel stuck. It usually does not move you forward in any way. Notice if you have been trapped in this thought pattern. When I am, I typically do nothing. Deciding to pick an area that you are interested in can be really helpful.
So often we get stuck in the “I Don’t Know” mode because we are afraid to make a ‘wrong choice.’ Or we know the choice to make, but we don’t want to voice that choice.
This “I Don’t Know” mode is never helpful.
Decide And Commit To Knowing Your Next Step
The solution to the stuck “I Don’t Know” mode Is Deciding and Committing.
If you are confused about your career or a relationship, Decide to take one small step to help you clear the confusion. Then, Commit fully to that next step.
For example, you could “Decide” to pursue one project at work that falls outside of your regular job description because you find that work interesting. You then commit for the next 3 or 6 months to that new work. You don’t allow yourself to go into the “I Don’t Know” stuck mode because you have made a decision and commitment to your next step.
The same holds true for a relationship you might say you “Don’t Know” what to do about. You decide to stay, to go, or to get counseling. You can then commit to a time frame that feels comfortable to you.
Knowing your next small step is so powerful and always keeps you unstuck!
Or, if you are still overwhelmed and not sure about your next small step, you might consider committing to work with a life coach who can help you find it! 😀
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