How I Personally Cope With Shame

 

Today, I want to talk about shame. It's something that I am very familiar with in my own life. In fact, many people struggle with shame and don’t even realize that is what they are dealing with. We grow accustomed to listening to the incessant chatter of the voice in our head, the voice I call the Inner Critic.

When I talk about shame, I'm not talking about anyone actually DOING anything wrong. I'm talking about the FEELING and the thoughts that we are somehow wrong, defective, inadequate, not good enough, or not strong enough. Everyone feels shame, but most of us don’t recognize the forms that shame can come in. For instance:

  • Shyness is shame in the presence of a stranger
  • Self-doubt is shame about a possible failure
  • Embarrassment is shame in front of others
  • Self-consciousness is shame about how you are perceived
  • Feeling not good enough is all-encompassing shame about yourself

Our Inner Critic triggers shame by whipping up habitual thoughts that...

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The Truth About Anxiety and How to Use it to Your Advantage

Anxiety is part of being human. It’s something I have dealt with for my whole life and I really didn’t even know it.  Before I began the journey of separating myself from the habitual thoughts in my mind (which I call the inner critic), I thought it was normal to let my mind constantly focus on the future. I thought that all of my thoughts of trying to manage and perfect myself and my life was just how you were supposed to do life. I was completely blind to what it cost me in time, energy, joy, satisfaction, and gratitude. I thought the idea “Once I get there” was just normal.

Given that human beings have been suffering from their own thoughts for thousands of years, it is astounding to me that it is not yet part of our culture to learn how to manage our minds. Right now, over 40 million adults suffer from an anxiety disorder. But many people think they are alone and that they are not normal. Albert Einstein said we can’t solve problems by using...

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How to Embrace Change

As human beings, millions of years ago our primitive brain needed predictability and control. We only had to deal with the feeling of fear if we were running from a predator. Because of this, our brains are designed to try to make us stay comfortable. 

For me, my comfort zone is when everyone I love is happy and healthy. As a mom raising two teenage boys and a pre-teen girl, I am often uncomfortable because my mind has a really bad habit of worrying about the future. That's the voice that I call the Inner Critic. 

When my Inner Critic is running amuck in my mind, she's constantly worried about the future. Are my kids rotting their brains with their obsession with their devices? Will my oldest son get into the college he wants? How is my daughter's first year of middle school going to be? Will my middle son ever come back around and decide he actually wants to hang out with us? 

...And then my mind will go through other future scenarios, like what's going to happen...

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Learning How to Cope With Your Inner Critic

Today, I'm pulling back the curtains to tell you more about my journey of dethroning my Inner Critic.

We've all heard the saying, "We teach that which we most need to learn." And that's definitely true to for me. Even though I had a relatively normal childhood, I can remember frequently feeling a lot of anxiety growing up. I felt like at any moment I would be judged, criticized or rejected by a friend or a teacher. 

I never felt this from my parents, but the outside world seemed somewhat daunting and dangerous. In the first grade, I had social anxiety so bad that my mother came to school to sit with me during lunch for the first two weeks of school. I was a shy kid that didn't feel comfortable sleeping at other kids' houses. I also spent a lot of time worrying about my parents' relationship. 

My parents had a somewhat rocky relationship and the environment in my home could be a bit unpredictable as I never knew when the next screaming match would ensue between them. So,...

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How to Stop Worrying

self esteem Jul 16, 2019

Can't listen? Here's the transcript: 

From an evolutionary standpoint, Fear has helped us evolve as a species. In fact, millions of years ago, people needed to have fear to be able to respond to danger. But in our modern world, we really no longer need fear in order to stay alive. In fact, many of the things that we are afraid of are not even dangerous. 

Being afraid of being rejected, being not good enough, failing, or looking stupid might feel unpleasant but it’s not something that will kill us. In fact, much of our fear is caused by the belief that something or someone will cause us pain.  And this is where worry comes into play.

Worrying is a conditioned habit. It is a habit that is completely not useful. The feeling of worry is about your thoughts. Either your mind is in the past, thinking about what has already occurred and you can’t change, or your mind is focused on possible pain you may feel in the future. We focus on the future to prevent...

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What Jim Morrison Can Teach Us About Life

Jim Morrison once said, “People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all…. feelings are disturbing."

From childhood, we are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. Because of this, any time we feel pain, we try to hide that we're not happy. We'll do anything to avoid those negative emotions. 

In the decades that I've been a psychotherapist, I've discovered that we're really creative in how we try to avoid our pain. We'll attempt to eat the bad feelings away. Some people will drink, use drugs, or gamble to avoid these emotions. Others become workaholics or even exercise to excess to avoid that belief that they'll never be happy. 

In fact, many of us spend more energy trying to keep away from these difficult feelings than it would take to actually face our fears. 

We are conditioned to believe that the definition of happiness is freedom from pain or difficulty. So many of us believe that feeling negative or painful...

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Shame: A Feast For The Inner Critic

Let's get real--everyone feels embarrassed sometimes.

You’re sure that you were right, and it turns out that you were wrong. 

You were late for your best friend’s wedding. 

Your zipper was open or your skirt got tucked into your underpants. 

Yes, your red face lasts for a few seconds then fades. You might blush every time you remember over the next day. But you DO forget. Eventually, you don't even remember that moment. 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.” When you misbehave, your mother might tell you she's ashamed of you. Every time you do something wrong or make a mistake this feeling of shame gets reinforced. 

Eventually, shame 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...

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Three Ways to Combat Impostor Syndrome

I have always struggled with this voice in my head telling me that I am not "good enough" When I was twelve, I watched a motivational speaker change a woman's entire perspective about herself in one interaction. 

In that moment, I knew that's what I wanted to do with my life. 

But in my unending quest to live this dream, I had to fight the voice of my Inner Critic every step of the way. And the truth is that if you're finding yourself feeling like a phony despite your personal and professional achievements, you're not alone.

Even Oscar-winner Viola Davis has struggled with these thoughts. "It feels like my hard work has paid off, but at the same time I still have the impostor, you know, syndrome," Davis told ABC News after winning an Academy Award. “I still feel like I'm going to wake up and everybody's going to see me for the hack I am.”

Why do so many women struggle with this feeling of inadequacy and persistent self-doubt, despite their high...

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Struggle is a Habit

In this Episode of the Dethroning Your Inner Critic Podcast, Joanna delves into what struggling truly is, and how to manage suffering in struggling. She explains the roots of struggle, the history of seeking out danger, and more!

Here is this week’s reflection question:

  • What are your favorite flavors of suffering (for you)?


Access our favorite tools and exclusive training in our FREE Resource Vault: http://bit.ly/DYICresourcevault

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How Your Inner Critic Makes You Go Dumb

What happens when you get stuck in confusion? When you are just uncertain about what is going on in your life, what is actually going on? This might surprise you, but it comes down to fear and your Inner Critic trying to suppress your emotions. Tune in to this week’s episode of the Dethroning Your Inner Critic Podcast to hear Joanna’s take on your Inner Critic Making you go dumb:

Here are this week’s reflection questions:

  • Where are you stuck in confusion, or the “I don’t know” in your life?
  • What feelings come up for you around making decisions: past, present, and future?
  • What’s the next decision that you’re going to make?
  • Those emotions that you don’t want to feel: where is that emotion in your body?
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