Posts Tagged ‘shame’

5 Keys to Healing Addictions

Sunday, April 1st, 2007
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 192

How did I get into all this debt? In just these few words, posed all too often by clients, I can hear their shock, shame, frustration, and hopelessness. When we are in this terrible state, we can feel very alone and isolated. Yet left to our own devices, we will get worse, not better.

So here are 5 Keys to healing any addiction, whether it’s spending, drinking, cheating, lying, gambling, eating, or whatever else you have been overtaken by.

1. Realize what a slippery slope addiction is: It’s a lot easier to get into debt than to get out of it. This is because getting into debt doesn’t require a plan; in fact, it often requires unconsciously not planning. The same can be said for an addiction to food or any other addiction. It’s much easier to gain the weight than it is to lose it because gaining it means simply “going unconscious.”
2. Recognize the benefits you get from going unconscious: There are two short-term benefits to going unconscious using addictive behaviors: First, we get temporary relief from the pressure of having to take responsibility. Secondly, we get a temporary high from our addiction. The relief and the high are intertwined because the high offers a heightened sense of relief.
3. Reach out NOW: You obviously can’t maintain an addictive high permanently. When you do finally come down, it is a crash landing. Each time you experience the cycle of your addiction, you tend to feel worse and fall further, right? Consequences become ever more severe, including destitution, suicidal thoughts/depression, total loss of self-esteem, or poor health or even death. If you try to go it alone, you will probably let your shame run you. Shame isn’t a good motivator. Compassion is. Find a group or a competent coach or therapist to work with.
4. Stop lying to yourself: Quit telling yourself that if you had more money, you wouldn’t be in this much financial trouble. Or if you had better metabolism, you’d be thin. Or if you had a nicer mate, you wouldn’t be cheating. None of these excuses are true. If you continue to believe your excuses, you will lose more of your dignity and waste more of your precious life and energy. If you are in deeper and deeper debt, what is true is that you are addicted. Winning the lottery wouldn’t change that. After all, over 70% of people who win the lottery end up with as little or less than they had before they won. If you are drinking more and more, changing from “the hard stuff” to wine isn’t the cure. That’s like believing that smoking will cure a food addiction. Trading addictions isn’t healing addictions. It is a game your addictive mind will try to play but you can’t win at it.
5. “Tap” into healing: You are misusing money or food or sex or alcohol or drugs or TV to try to numb something. What memories, feelings, or situations trigger your addiction? Once you stop avoiding the core reason for your addictive behaviors and begin to get comfortable with feelings you once dreaded, you will feel less compulsion to behave addictively. There are so many valid options for healing addictions, including 12-step programs, therapy and coaching, acupuncture and other holistic approaches, even prayer for many people. In addition, I use EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, with my clients. EFT is a quick, efficient, yet powerful “tapping” method for releasing the anxiety and pain that trigger addictions.

The bottom line is that you don’t have to suffer tomorrow from your addictions just because you are suffering today. You are a worthy being who deserves to thrive and live your extraordinary life.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach and the author of the popular book, Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. To read her articles and excerpts from the book, watch her on TV, listen to her on radio, order Enough Is Enough, or to hire her as your life coach, visit stopenduring.com.

Healing Your Shame

Friday, December 1st, 2006
 
icon for podpress  .: Play Now | Play in Popup | Downloads 168

Dear Jane,
What is the difference between guilt and shame?

It’s invaluable to discern the difference between guilt and shame so that we can respond appropriately in situations and can ask others to respond to us appropriately and fairly also. It’s also vital that we know whether we are feeling bad because of something we have done or because we have simply gotten into the habit of feeling bad.

Guilt is something our conscience compels us to feel when we have acted in a way that is not in alignment with our own moral compass. If we believe in being honest and we lie, we will feel guilty (even if we justify it as a “white lie” to ourselves or others). If we believe in the Golden Rule, “Do unto others…,” we will feel guilty if we treat someone disrespectfully or unfairly. In guilt, we feel bad about what we have done, not who we are. We are able to distinguish between the goodness of who we fundamentally are and the mistake we have made that requires correction/amends/asking forgiveness.

Shame is a different experience. When we feel shame, it is not for what we have done, not for a particular behavior, but for who we are. When in shame, we want to hide; we feel that we don’t deserve love or respect. Shame is often a pervasive experience that we don’t recognize within ourselves. Shame can feel quite “normal.”

When we feel ashamed, we emit a certain aura/vibe/energy. Others who pick up on this energy may misinterpret it and assume that we have behaved badly, causing them to overreact or for us to believe we deserve excessive punishment. We may not recognize the ways we carry and show our shame and wonder why others are so hard on us. This is how others mirror our beliefs about ourselves and why it’s so important to heal our shame.

Shame can cause us to continue to act in ways that lead us to feeling guilty. So guilt and shame are part of a vicious cycle. How can we heal our shame?

1. The first step in breaking the cycle is learning to discern between guilt and shame. The following are the chief symptoms of shame. If you can identify with even one of these points, you are likely to be living in shame.
• Comparing ourselves to others and finding ourselves always falling short
• Embarrassment when we receive compliments
• A general sense of unworthiness
• Distrust that others truly like us or respect us—“waiting for the other shoe to drop” in every relationship
• Accepting excessive blame—more than a situation warrants
• Continually behaving in ways that go against our own standards of behavior
• Feeling bad about certain thoughts, even when we have no intention of acting on these thoughts

2. The second step is to look at your recent “wrongs” objectively. What triggered those behaviors? What did you do about rectifying your actions? Did you over-apologize? Did you allow someone to verbally or physically punish you for your behavior? If you overcompensated in any way, then you are carrying shame, not just guilt, and you are doing yourself harm.

3. The third step is to retrace your path to where the shame started. Often, shame starts in childhood when a trusted adult shames us for something outside of our control: our sexuality, our intelligence, the way we spoke or dressed, a behavior we didn’t know wasn’t okay. Children soak up shame easily.

4. See the past with your adult eyes. Would you want to shame a child for what you feel shameful about? Let the child within you know that it was not his/hers to carry and that you release him/her from the shame now.

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

Facing Our Own Hypocrisy

Sunday, November 5th, 2006

Dear Jane,
I’d like to know what you think about political scandals such as Ted Haggard and Larry Craig being “outed” as homosexuals? Or Scooter Libby lying about outing Valerie Plame?

When I read Congressional confessions of closeted homosexuality, infidelity, or use of illegal drugs, my first reaction is righteous indignation that others’ hypocrisies are coming to light. I tend to get hopeful that when hypocrisy sees the light of day, we human beings reap the benefit in terms of greater justice and equality.

But I have to admit that there is a darker side to my finger pointing. What I savor is the sweet revenge, which I suspect says something about me and maybe about all of us. Just as presumably a politician is humiliated by exposure of indiscretions, don’t we all have hypocrisies that would publicly humiliate us if exposed? Yes, politicians’ hypocrisies have great influence over the White House, the campaign agenda, and public policy, but don’t our individual hypocrisies also influence others?

If we tell our children to abstain from alcohol and drugs but hide our own chemical histories or current use/abuse, what impact does that have? We may argue that we want them to do as we say, not as we do. But could a politician caught with his/her hand in the cookie jar make that same argument?

If we use an illegal substance but are glad for the arrest of street corner drug dealers, doesn’t this hypocrisy have an impact? Aren’t our prisons overflowing with people who may have touched the contents of that little plastic baggie hidden in our underwear drawer? Even if we don’t support harsh punishment for drug dealing, doesn’t our participation reinforce the problem?

If we are calling an end to war with Iraq but continue to consume half of the world’s fossil fuels, much of it for jetting to distant vacation spots or filling up our SUVs, isn’t there just the teeniest bit of hypocrisy in this?

If we pride ourselves for buying organic fruits and vegetables but demand that they be available year round, hurting both local farmers as well as requiring enormous amounts of fuel to get them to the nearest Whole Foods store, isn’t there something for us to examine?

Of course, I can go on and on with this list but my point isn’t to shame us. My point is to acknowledge that all our hypocrisy causes damage. Rather than cast stones at one another, we could take the hypocrisies and downfalls of politicians as an opportunity to look more deeply into ourselves. We could remove our own veils of hypocrisy, acknowledge our own falls from grace, tell more truths about who we really are, change whatever behaviors we don’t like in ourselves, forgive others for their trespasses and ourselves for ours, and go about living life more consciously and compassionately.

This is my take away from scandals. What’s yours?

About Jane
Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.