Self-Care Blog Post

Where’s the Evidence? Challenging Shame

“Where’s the evidence?” Three words challenged my shame head on. And won.

Challenging shame starts with confronting perceptions of ourselves.

A wise woman once gave me the opportunity to share my deepest thoughts and feelings of personal failure as a business owner, as a mom, as a wife, as a human being.

I’ve always felt it throughout my life: a sense of feeling less than, not enough, a failure.

She was a patient audience, allowing me plenty of time to reveal my innermost shame and fears. Finally, exhausted after an hour, I wound down my sharing. Through frightening vulnerability and shameful tears, I looked up into her kind eyes expecting to find devastation, or at the very least, pity. Instead, with a gentle smile, she quietly replied, “Where’s the evidence?”

Where’s the what?

What do you mean, evidence?

The evidence to support the perceptions I have of myself. Just because I think or feel them, it doesn’t mean they’re true.

Look for the backup. The proof.

Ohhhhhhhhh.

Three little words that changed my life forever. They challenged my shame; confronted my distorted thinking about myself and offered me another way of thinking.

I thought of my business as an example. Where is the evidence that I am a failure as a business owner? I enjoyed the type of work I was doing. My company offered services that reached out in a wholistic, soulful, helpful way to clients and the community. I employed several people. My tax statements showed that I made a good income. I surely made mistakes along the way, some even monstrous, but they were in a healthy course of natural living.

Proof that I am not a failure as a business owner.

“Where’s the evidence?” Three words challenged my shame head on. And won.

Together, this woman and I made our way through my deepest thoughts and beliefs around my shame. She helped me ask the question of myself, and I could finally see how much I indulge in made-up catastrophes in my mind. Pole-vaulting over mouse shit again. (One of my favourite phrases.)

Just because something happened to someone else, or just because it happened to me in the past, or just because I can’t see any other possibilities in the situation right now, doesn’t mean that my fantasy that everything will always end in disaster is true. It isn’t.

“Where’s the evidence?” I am pretty clever at finding reasons to dig in and defend my belief that I’m not good enough. They keep me in the ‘known zone’.

They also keep me unhealthy.

Worse, they keep me from inner peace.

So, with gratitude for that wise woman in my life, I’m able to live a little more mindfully and peacefully within my own skin.

Deep peace.

 

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