So many of the young people we support are dealing with intense feelings of shame, that don’t reflect the truth of the decent person on the inside. We help our young people experience the real truth of their worthiness, their importance in the world, their true sense of self.
Shame is one of the most unbearable feelings. It can be like torture. It affects our whole sense of self. Those negative emotions being fed by negative thoughts going around and around keeping you stuck in a painful cycle of:
- ‘I’m not good enough’
- I’m invisible, why can’t anyone see my pain?’
- I don’t deserve friends/happiness
- I am not wanted
- ‘I’m weak … I am bad’
It is all B.S! You are not your negative thoughts, don’t believe everything you think!
When we are shamed into thinking we are not good enough, not worthy, we’ll never amount to anything, this is an act of control. We develop a distorted view of reality when we learn to be controlled by feelings of shame. It is simply not true.
You can do something about it, you really can. It takes practice, it takes time and you might not remember to do it every time, but you will get better at it. And when you do, you start to see your strengths, you grow your right to feel good about yourself, your right to care and nurture yourself, so that you grow in confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Now that is the kind of power we should be filling ourself with!
Pick one of those horrible thoughts that keep you feeling bad about yourself and challenge it.
‘No-one likes me, I’m too embarrassed to join in.’
Imagine that you can put that thought in a box – just put it away for a minute, an hour, a day even.
What would life be like without a thought like that? What would you be able to do if you didn’t believe that?
Challenge your thoughts.
Other examples of challenging shame-based thoughts are:
- Is this thought really true?
- How do I know it’s true?
- What is the evidence for this thought?
- What is the evidence against this thought?
- Can I think of any times when this thought has not been true?
- Is this thought helping me or hurting me?
- Who would I be if I let go of this thought?
- What could I do if I let go of this thought?
- Am I willing to release this thought?
- What’s the worst that could happen if I let go of this thought? Can I live with that?
This list of bullet points came from the e-book, How to Change Your Thinking About Shame, which has some other handy resources!
THOUGHTS ARE NOT FACTS, THEY ARE JUST THOUGHTS – it is good to remember that sometimes, especially when they make you feel bad.