Shame: A Feast For The Inner Critic

shame Jun 19, 2019

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Everyone feels embarrassed sometimes.

You’re sure that you were right, and it turns out that you were wrong. You were late to your best friend’s wedding. Your zipper was open. Your skirt got tucked into your underpants. Your red face lasts for a second…or a minute, and then fades. You blush every time you remember. But, you DO forget, and eventually, you don’t even remember. But shame is another story…

…Shame can last a lifetime.

It can begin in childhood when a teacher says, “you should be ashamed of yourself” or your mother tells you repeatedly that she is ashamed of you. Then each time you do something wrong, or make a mistake, the feeling of shame gets reinforced. Until it becomes an ingrained, conditioned response any time you don’t meet your own idealized image of being right, or being good, or being strong, or being smart, or being anything less than perfect.

This becomes a field day for your inner critic.

Your inner critic becomes the voice of shame. It tells you that you are wrong, or bad, or stupid, or weak. It seduces you into believing that it is correct, and It knows what it’s talking about. And then you spend your energy hiding the shame you feel. You compensate by making sure you are good, sure you are smart, sure you are strong.

Shaming is one of the most powerful tools in the inner critic’s tool box. When the voice in your head is merely critical or judgmental, or can dismiss it or even ignore it. But when it becomes shaming, it’s much harder to dismiss. Believing our inner critic’s shaming voice robs us of our aliveness and takes us away from being present in our lives.

A life time of living with shame can be altered by recognizing that it is your inner critic who feeds your shame. It feeds on each and every incident that it can use to shame you, and its appetite is never satisfied! It is always looking for more!

Freedom lies in not feeding the inner critic more power, even if starving it is out of the question. We can diminish our experience of the shame that has been haunting us, by checking in with ourselves and determining who is doing the talking: Is it my Inner Critic or is it the truth?

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