Shame can influence your life in a big way. That’s because shame brings with it the idea that you’re unworthy. This false belief can lead you to hide out from yourself and others. As an entrepreneur, it can be debilitating and make you think you aren’t cut out for business.
Here are three ways that your shame might be affecting you more than you realize…
Saying ‘Yes’ to Everyone
Paula was known as the go-to person at the company she worked for. She was the art director but she often helped out in other departments because she always said “yes” to her co-workers.
But what most people didn’t know was that Paula had spent years struggling with low self-esteem and believing she was dumb. As a child, she’d struggled with an undiagnosed learning disorder that caused others to characterize her as stupid and lazy.
A kind co-worker recognized Paula’s struggle and recommended she be tested for a learning disorder. When she received an official diagnosis, Paula cried. She’d spent years feeling ashamed that she couldn’t do tasks that came easily to others.
Numbing the Pain
Levi was a construction worker and devoted father. He attended all of his children’s games and events. He loved his wife deeply and supported her through several career transitions.
What Levi had never told anyone was that his uncle had sexually assaulted him when he was young. The memories could be triggered by something small like a familiar smell or a certain time of day. He hated feeling powerless and ashamed. So, he drank to numb the pain. Eventually, he reached the point where he depended on alcohol just to make it through each day.
A friend recognized Levi’s drinking habits had changed. He encouraged him to seek help from the local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. As Levi dealt with his drinking problem, he also found a mental health practitioner who helped him heal from his past trauma.
Wearing a Mask
Shannon worked hard to create the idea that everything in her life was going well. She never left the house without looking runway-ready. It was important for her kids to attend the best private school in her area and she ensured their hours were filled with extracurricular activities.
She was in charge of several committees, leading a study group at her church, and always participated in her children’s school activities. Still, she felt something was wrong and made an appointment with a tapping coach.
While there, Shannon shared that she felt deeply unworthy. This feeling led her to create a façade of the perfect life. The more she talked with the coach, the more she realized that her feeling of shame was rooted in her from childhood.
Her mother had been verbally abusive, criticizing Shannon constantly. She often told Shannon how much easier her life would have been if she’d just abandoned Shannon when she was born.
Fortunately, Shannon was able to work through these feelings with support. The more she focused on letting go of shame, the easier it became to let go of her need to be perfect in every area of her life.
While shame can feel paralyzing at times, it doesn’t mean that you have to live with it forever. With time and some resources, you can heal your heart and go on to live a shame-free life filled with beauty and joy.
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