This spring, I went on a ‘No Shame Campaign’ to abolish shame from my life. I can honestly say, without any pride, that I have been shame-free since then.
I don’t mean that there are never moments where I feel shame, but that I’ve developed a resiliency to bounce back very fast, kick shame out the door, and get back to believing the truth about who I am.
Highly recommended reading: this blog about the truth of who we are as it relates to shame, and this blog about how celebrating ourselves kills shame.
So, what is shame? Is it the same as guilt?
No. Guilt says, “I did something bad.” Shame says, “I am something bad.” Guilt is about a thought or action, shame is about identity.
Shame attacks our identity, the very core of who we are.
To show you what shame can sound like, I'd like to take you to something that I wrote about myself 12 months prior to today - word for word. Read on...
"When I'm honest with myself, what I really think about myself is...
You need to do better. You should be perfect. You're not good enough. You're a failure. You'll never amount to anything. You'll never succeed. You'll always struggle. You suck. You're bad at community. You're bad at processing pain. You suck at emotions. You're not good. People don't like you. You're a bad brother. You'll never make it. You'll never reach your dreams.”
That's what the voice of shame sounds like. It's the voice of "there's something wrong with you!"
Shame is a liar. We must beat him. And part of doing that, from what I've learned, is that we must take hold of our thought life.
Every action comes from our thought life. Our thoughts create patterns in our brain, like little paths running through a thickly wooded forest. The more we think about something, the deeper and wider those paths through our brain become. These are "thought habits."
Those habits become deeply entrenched beliefs over time, and we act out of what we believe. We are the sum of our beliefs, we are what we believe.
If we control our thoughts, our actions will eventually be the right ones.
For example: if we are constantly thinking "I'm not good enough," eventually that becomes a core belief. "I'm not good enough" becomes part of the very fabric of who we are. It becomes part of the lens through which we see the world, blurring our vision and giving us a false picture of reality.
The thought of "I'm not good enough" has created a canyon of destruction in our minds.
"I'm not good enough" becomes our truth, and because we believe it so very much, we look for evidence in our daily lives to support the belief. We start to find every reason why we aren't good enough, and why we suck, and why we'll never do anything with our lives.
We all know people like this. They're not fun to be around.
But just imagine with me for a minute, what would happen if became the bosses of our thought life? What if we were the ones dictating the things we think about? What if we decided to lead ourselves?
| What if we decided to choose to lead ourselves?
That would change the world.
What if we stopped thinking "I'm not good enough" and started thinking "I'm worthy of love?" Or "I'm super awesome?" Or "people really like being around me?"
That would have a very different outcome.
Everything starts from the inside. We can't fix an internal problem by changing something on the outside. We will never rise higher on the outside than the level of truth we believe on the inside.
Shame is not something to be messed with. It diminishes and attacks and destroys our value and worth. It can't be tolerated, not even for a minute.
Shame is rooted in untruths. They must be dug up and destroyed.
We cannot afford to believe untruths. Shame is rooted in lies. They must be uprooted. They must be dug up and the roots thrown in the fire, destroyed.
Start building a fire, friend.
I encourage you to go on your own personal No Shame Campaign!
It will not be easy. It will be painful. But it will change your life and give you the freedom you deserve.
Every one of us deserves to live in complete freedom. Shame keeps us in chains. That's why we must not tolerate it any longer. We must put an end to the nasty creature, the evil master of lies and deception.
We are born to live in freedom rather than fighting against ourselves.
"The best way to combat shame is a little bit of courage and a whole lot of humility." - Nick Harper
It's time to start campaigning against shame. It will be a merciless march, with you as the victor. It won't be easy; if it were, everyone would be shame-free. But it will be worth it, for you and for everyone in your life. Start today. Ask for help. Be vulnerable and honest with yourself and others.