The words I use when talking to myself can be rewarding or punishing. When self-talk is positive, my value, worth and esteem heads in that direction. When I choose criticizing,...
The words I use when talking to myself can be rewarding or punishing. When self-talk is positive, my value, worth and esteem heads in that direction. When I choose criticizing, blaming, threatening, or punishing words then my value, worth and esteem diminishes.
My Core Belief of Self
Shame is about core beliefs. It’s a heartfelt internal negative belief defined by “I am” followed by a negative statement of me as a person. Such as, I am ‘not good enough’, ‘unworthy’, ‘bad’, ‘unlovable’, ‘defective’, or some other core negative belief about myself. Once I believe the shame as a core belief I take on a role to make it true. I begin to filter everything I hear through the shame statement. The relationships I choose will support my shame and encourage low self-esteem.
Shame Is Learned
Shame is not how we are born, but is something we were taught at a young age. As a child, we have simplicity and seek love. If I’m told something negative about myself often enough, I’ll believe it knowing someone older than me would never lie.
If you were told “you’ll never amount to anything” you can take on a shame belief of “I’m a failure” or other negative shame statement. Shame is not always given in an obvious manner. Sometimes messages are subtle: “Let me show you how to do it.” If you hear this often enough, you may take on a belief of “I’m not smart enough.”
We take on these false beliefs for two reasons. Between the ages of five and ten our brains cannot process what is false, and since we want to be loved — we modify our behavior to please another to be accepted. This is why often as an adult, we know the truth that “We are worthy”, but our emotional selves, say we are not.
The Power of Shame
Shame has power, especially in addiction. When we feel shame, we emote fear someone will know what we believe about ourselves. We defend and push people away to protect our fear.
On a scale from one to ten, when shame is felt at level ten, the shame belief is absolutely true. The result of shame reaching a level ten is we pull away; self-talk turns negative and we isolate or defend ourselves at all costs.
As a child, I didn’t know what to do, all I remember is my addiction helped relieve the shame and pain.
Shame is about someone seeing who we truly are, which makes us fearful someone can see the truth. Therefore, we disengage, won’t make eye contact, often looking down out of the fear of shame.
Since we aren’t born in shame, there actually was a time when shame was the lie. To reduce shame we need to do several things. We need to identify what our shame belief is. Ask yourself “What is my shame belief?” It’s the statement that happens when it’s a 10. It will be the core negative belief of self that says “I’m unworthy, not good enough, defective.
Know it’s a lie. It is learned, not part of us. If we can accept it as a lie, then what is the truth? We must define a truth, such as, “I’m worthy, acceptable, remarkable — enough.” It is the “I am” statement that I know is the truth of who I was born to be.
Now say it and own it, practice it and — practice it again.
It’ll feel like a lie but it’s the truth. We’ve told ourselves the lie thousands of times and now we have to practice the truth.
For shame to lessen, we need to convince ourselves of the truth. Think back to the time when the lie first was believed. Tell the younger part of you the truth.
Shame reduction can be another first step; “We admitted we were powerless over shame and our life has become unmanageable.” I must abstain from the lie of my shame and accept the truth of my quality. I am remarkable just the way I was born to be. Shame can be so powerful, that sometimes professional support is required to diminish its power. Be willing to ask for help.
Reducing shame will increase self-esteem and value — and you’re worth it.