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Ahhh, the power of shame. This is a subject covered in Episode #165 with mental health professional Katie Gilbertson. It’s an important topic, because the power of shame is something most of us are all too familiar with. But shame can wreak havoc on our self-esteem, and ruin our relationships. Especially the most important and valuable relationship we have in all the world, which is the relationship with ourselves.
Our self-image, self-confidence, and personal power is slowly chipped away every time we feel shame. I call it “chronic shame syndrome.” Because every time we feel ashamed of ourselves, our brain registers it deep in the recesses of our neural circuits. The circuits are reinforced, making them stronger with each message of shame it receives. Eventually, shame is the only thing we know, and it can permeate every aspect of our lives. And not in a good way.
However, there’s a glimmer of hope, even if you are wallowing in chronic shame syndrome. Simply turn the script around. Each time that pesky shame monster rears its ugly head, give it a clear and powerful message that it is not welcome. Remind yourself that you are worthy of respect, civility, courtesy, and appreciation. Those neural circuits will get the message, and with time will reverse the belief system that you deserve to live under the mantle of shame, and shame will no longer have power over you. And isn’t that a much better way to live?