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Wheel to Get Real

Give Your Shame a Voice

By May 20, 2020April 17th, 2023No Comments

The other day, a close friend of mine called to inform me that he’s ready to dive into some coaching and work together.

This is something that we’ve been talking about for quite some time, so it was really cool to receive his phone call. I’m excited to go on the journey with him.

After many years of being in sales, and honing his craft, he’s landed a job where he’s recently experienced a ton of success…..

…..and is about to up-level his game even further in the coming months.

With this being said, it feels like a great time for coaching, PLUS…

He has a family and wants to be more present in his daily interactions.

During our phone conversation, he shared the following:

“You know, I’ve had a couple of huge years with work, but I feel disconnected. I feel like I don’t have any emotional intelligence.” 

When he shared this with me, it really struck a chord.

NOT due to the claim of his lack of E.I., but rather, the shameful place that he shared his message from.

Shame is defined as the following, a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”

Shame is about making yourself wrong, and then harboring resentment against yourself in response.

The act of making yourself wrong can also referred to as a self-limiting belief, or a misinterpretation of reality, because at the end of the day…..

….you haven’t done anything wrong, but rather, simply placed a judgement against yourself for an experience that happened in the past.

In fact, one might say that every choice you’ve made up to this point has been an opportunity for learning and growth, regardless of whether it feels like a “mistake”, or not. 

When my friend shared his sentiments with me, it immediately ignited some of my own feelings of shame, and the quiet resentment that I’ve been holding against myself…..

I shared some examples of shameful responses in last week’s newsletter…..

WHY, after working with her for 10 years, does this continue to show up for me?!”

“I SHOULD have moved beyond this ego stuff already!” 

“I NEED to resolve this issue!” 

The question then becomes, what do you do when these types of internal responses show up for you? 

The short answer is to become more curious….in this instance, take the initiative to learn more about your shame.

An effective way to do this is to give your shame a voice – meaning, if your shame had a voice, what would it say to you?  

If we look at my friend’s statement from above,“You know, I’ve had a couple of huge years with work, but I feel disconnected. I feel like I don’t have any emotional intelligence.”, and give his shame a voice, it may say something like the following….

“I don’t feel that I’m doing a good job at connecting emotionally with my family and feel useless in those situations. I can’t stand myself when I get like this”

By giving your shame a voice, you create distance from the shame and have an opportunity to learn from it, rather than making it a part of who you are. 

Once you open up this type of dialogue with your shame, you’re then able to move into self-compassion and self-forgiveness. 

There’s a healing process at work here, and it all starts with self-awareness. – the self-awareness that shame is present and there’s an opportunity to work with it. 

The irony in all of this is that my friend claimed to have no emotional intelligence, yet through his willingness to explore things further, exemplified what it truly means to have a high level of Emotional Intelligence. 

As we continue to move through these challenging times, I encourage you to do the following:

1) Stay self-aware

2) Listen to your internal dialogue

3) Acknowledge your misinterpretations of reality

4) Give yourself plenty of self-compassion and self-forgiveness throughout the process.