Tag: shame

Episode #166: Your Past Does Not Define You with Amanda Acker

Amanda Acker is a transformational coach, speaker, podcast host, and formerly incarcerated person. Amanda was riddled with shame, confusion, insecurity, inadequacy, and feeling unloved and unworthy when her mother walked away from her family home when Amanda was 15.

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The Power of Shame

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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?

 

Excessive Apology Disorder

When I realized how often I was saying the words “I’m sorry” to everyone for everything, I became acutely aware of how many people apologize excessively when they don’t have to. I even came up with a name for it, which I dubbed Excessive Apology Disorder. Thank you–I thought it was pretty good myself.

When we have EAD, it allows for a close cousin to come creeping in, which is the chronic and nagging voice of self-doubt. Think about it. Every time we take responsibility for something that isn’t our fault, we relinquish a little bit of our personal power. We literally hand it over to another person, typically the one we are apologizing to. When we make excessive apologizing a habit, (like I did), we are constantly chipping away at our self-confidence and self-worth. Even worse, we eventually open the door to guilt and shame. Yikes!

When my Sensei called my EAD to my attention, I was mortified how much I apologized for no reason. I was stunned how much negative energy I was allowing to take over my life. Once I  stopped saying “I’m sorry” to everyone for everything, I felt my power and my self-confidence begin to improve. I found my voice again, learned how to stand my ground, and discovered how to set clear boundaries. It was a beautiful thing to behold!

Besides, if you are constantly saying “I’m sorry,” you diminish the impact of a sincere apology when the situation calls for it. So, notice how often you say you’re sorry. And pay attention if it really was warranted. Don’t say you’re sorry out of habit, or because you think the other person expects it. After all, most of the time you don’t have anything to apologize for, and everything is not your fault.