06 Jul DRAINING THE SWAMP OF SHAME
Moss Jackson, PhD
Psychologist and Success Coach
In my last post “The Swamp of Shame,” I wrote about the devastating and toxic impact of the shaming experience. Shame is when you turn your emotional autoimmune defenses against yourself, causing you to experience self-disgust, not love yourself and conclude there is something fundamentally wrong or flawed about you.
IS THERE A WAY TO ESCAPE THE SWAMP OF SHAME?
In my shaming experience back in second grade, my kind teacher helped to mitigate against my upset and hurt after the elementary school audience erupted in laughter when I poorly articulated the words “Thanksgiving” and “Xmas.” Through her touch, comforting words and reframing of my perceptions, she helped to lessen the toxic and painful shame I was swept away with. She was my “Lifeguard.” Whether or not she understood my childhood shame, she did some things that I now wish to share with you to help you to be your own Lifeguard when you slip under the water in the Swamp of Shame. In this way, you can retire your brain and reverse the emotionally inflammatory shame disease process. Much of this strategy comes from Linda Graham in her book “Bouncing Back.”
YOUR WISER SELF
First, welcome what I call your Wiser Self, that compassionate person you can be when someone else is devastated by a perceived failure.
Bring to awareness a small moment of your failure and shame. You stumbled on your face on a first date. You got a ticket with a new client in the car. Or you were the only one who flunked an exam. As you do, hold on to your compassionate wise voice. Notice your experience but do not become infected by it. It’s like walking and chewing gum.
PAIN COMBINED WITH LOVE
Hold your painful memory and also remember a time where you felt loved and cared for by someone else. Feel the care and love, much like I did with my second grade teacher.
PLAY PING PONG BACK AND FORTH
Next, move back and forth between the shameful and loving experience. Spend more time experiencing the loving feelings.
Holding on to your painful memory, bring to your awareness an even stronger feeling of compassion toward someone you care for. Then, redirect this warm and loving feeling toward yourself. Next, let go of any pairings and bathe in the comfort of self-love and self-acceptance.
Repeat this experience of reconditioning until you start to feel settled and re-stabilized. You are now rewiring your brain and lessening the neural programming of the shame experience.
Hopefully, through this experience, you are practicing neuroplasticity, the art of Brain reprogramming. So, yes, you can be your own Swamp of Shame Lifeguard, an inner resource who can add to your emotional resilience and self-esteem.
LIVING LIFE AS A NAVIGATOR
Navigators consistently combat negative thinking and shame in their pursuit of living abundantly and successfully. They bring forth gratitude and self-compassion as a daily practice. Under tense circumstances, they call upon their Wiser Self to remind them of their innate goodness and self-worth.
I hope you enjoyed these two posts on shame and shame management. If you would like further guidance on living your life as a Navigator, you might like to order my new book here on Amazon.