Squashing Shame. (Starters guide to shame resilience)

In this episode I walk you through some examples and strategies that 'wholehearted' people live with.  It's not that these people do not experience trauma or are immune, but they do have a very specific strategy to deal with it and ensure it doesn't affect their entire lives. Shame is the feeling of being unworthy of love.

To build shame resilience you need 4 things: 1. Recognise the triggers 2. Recognise social expectations (be realistic) 3. Connect with others 4. Speak out (80% of shame disappears when exposed)

Shame grows when met with sympathy and disappears when met with empathy.

Help someone today and watch what happens.





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Full Transcription Below

Hey guys, Hayden Wilson here for Learn Share Grow live. All this week I’m going to be talking to you about vulnerability and this is a big one that I think a lot of people struggle with, not only because they’re not allowing themselves to be vulnerable but they also don’t really know much about what it means to participate in those behaviours or some of the shame around it and the social altering contributors that stop us from doing what we want to do and ultimately being happy. This is no woo woo video or be yourself and be whole or anything like that, but I want to show you some of the stuff that’s really helped me become more vulnerable and share myself more with people and who I truly am. Hopefully, you can do that in turn and share yourself with those that you love, those that you respect and those that you trust.

The first thing I want to do is give you a bit of a definition on what shame actually is because before we can try to develop a resiliency around shame, we need to know what it actually is. Shame is the feeling that we’re not worthy, that we’re not complete and that we’re unworthy of being loved, we’re unloveable. What I want to talk to you about are the four steps we need to take to develop shame resilience so we can start to have that feeling, that wholehearted feeling that not only can we love, but we are loveable. The first thing we need to do is step expectations around ourselves. We need to know what the triggers are. You know those feelings you get when you feel those shaming feelings. You might feel angry, you might feel depressed, you might feel small, you might get what some call trauma symptoms where you might feel tingles, that gut wrenching feeling when you’re in shame, when someone shames you. A couple of huge ones, one for women is shame around beauty – there’s an expectation that they should be beautiful and it’s a sixty billion dollar a year industry – they’re counting you having those feelings; and for males it’s a feeling of weakness. I can guarantee that all males hate being called weak, it’s just inherent from generations of battering up ourselves, and I want to tell you right now, that women, you don’t have to feel that way and I’m going to go over stuff to help you realise you are beautiful and men; you’re not weak just because you exhibit certain behaviours.

The first thing is to recognise the symptoms and know when you’re in a shame spiral. The second thing is to re-set your expectations around social norms and what is expected of you. I posted quite a close subject to my heart last night about my having this expectation of myself, this expectation of perfection and that everything that I did had to be perfect and it had to be up here and it’s a huge weight off my shoulders, which I’ll talk about in points 3 & 4, but it’s a huge weight off my shoulders just to talk about it and realise that the cultural expectation was actually set by me and triggers that were on me. Everyone’s human and we all stuff up and it’s when you start to realise that you can be normal. Everyone thinks they have to be perfect – you can start to be yourself, put yourself out there, be vulnerable, and you’re going to have a much better time and it’s going to be much easier to live and be in society, to get away from those anxious and depressed feelings, just by exhibiting that behaviour.

The next thing that those people who are shame resilient exhibit is that they connect with others. I’m not talking about just everyone. You need to find focus groups and support groups or individual, trusting friends that really understand your story and can show empathy because without empathy, shame is going to grow. There’s a difference between empathy and sympathy. Empathy is ‘yes I’m with you, I can tell you strategies and let’s get through this together’ whereas sympathy is “oh I feel bad for you’. This is not actually helping and sympathy actually exacerbates the problem so when someone comes to you and they’re reaching out and there is a level of trust there, don’t offer them sympathy, in fact, try to help them and offer them empathy.

Brene Brown offers a fantastic analogy and she’s helped with a lot of the material I’m talking about and that is, empathy is when you see someone struggling and just say they’re in a hole and they’re saying ‘hey, help me out’, and then you jump down – and you know your way out – you’re down there but it’s not your hole. Sympathy is when you’re looking down the hole, and this is the example Brene uses, you say ‘hey what are you doing down there?’. They might say “I stuffed up, I had a really bad experience’. Then you just say ‘damn, that it bad’. That’s sympathy, you’re saying how bad it is, but you’re not offering any help. So I want you to get involved, connect with others, just show up and be seen.

The last thing that you need to do is speak about it and I did this in my post of last night which you can go back and see on my facebook wall. You need to speak about some of the things that you’re ashamed of because what you’ll find is 80% of all that shame is going to disappear as soon as you start to talk about it with those that you trust and those that you respect. There must be that trust, respect and empathy there, otherwise it’s just going to fall on deaf ears and this is called floodlighting which we’ll talk about later in the week. But I want you to reach out and speak about some of the stuff that you’re ashamed about, whether you need to send me a message if you trust me, maybe you can find a close family member or something who you really respect and know that they can understand your story. There are also helplines if there is no-one amongst your family and friendship groups that can help with that, there are tons of services around that can really help with this kind of stuff that you can look into. But, you need to be speaking about it. This whole cultural thing about men having to be strong, you can’t be weak, you’re definitely not a man unless you keep it bottled up inside and whatnot. These are just the feelings that I’ve had – and I’ve had those feelings, trust me, but it’s when you can put yourself out there and take a look at that post that I put up or any of the other vulnerable posts that any of us share, and we get the best response when we acknowledge that we may be feeling a certain way, or we acknowledge that things didn’t go in our favour.

So exhibit to these four behaviours and you’re going to start to build up that shame resilience and feel a lot more self worth. You need to recognise that when someone is trying to shame you, it’s generally because they feel ashamed in that area. Just say someone is overweight and you’re shaming that person, maybe you need to look internally and think ‘why am I exhibiting those behaviours?’, is that helpful? – no – is that an insecurity of mine, maybe I’m not happy with my weight, but is telling someone else that they’re fat - and they’re done so much research, and Brene has done different research for 13 years on shame and shame resilience, where it comes from and what it actually does. In 13 years she’s found zero evidence that shaming someone leads to positive change which is huge because in the fitness industry we need to shame people who are overweight. To be honest I was that way, I thought you had to shame people and that would create change, and I know a ton of people who still believe that shaming people and letting them know that being fat isn’t the right way, they need to lose weight. Talking down to someone is not the right way to change someone.

This is a big thing that I’ve learnt with more of my leadership training and getting involved, reading these books and going to seminars about this kind of stuff. You need to empower people and be a leader rather than talking down to someone and saying ’you need to lose weight’. How about you help that person and say ‘I can see that you’re really struggling, you’re really trying, what really worked for me were these behaviours’. So I want you to think about that and take it on board.

If you have any questions please jump on over to haydenwilson.com.au or on facebook and leave a comment below, facebook.com/Iamhaydenwilson. Thank you for joining me for Learn Share Grow live. Any questions please let me know. I look forward to speaking with you again tomorrow for more Learn Share Grow live. Thanks.