Another eye opening few days of introspection has occurred for me. I had a situation this weekend that led me to think that I wasn’t good enough when I was being critiqued in a group setting and it immediately led me to shame. My face turned beet red, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t focus and all I wanted to do was run and hide. I sucked it up, but immediately wanted to be overly critical with my husband so I could “hide” some more.
I thought about this a lot this week. My child brain learned this behavior due to my hypercritical surroundings. I went from a childhood of being constantly criticized to join the military where this was also commonplace. It’s no wonder I taught myself how to shame myself through hypercritical behavior and to do it others when I was hiding from my own shame.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming anyone for this. This “hypercritical-ness” is a vicious cycle and I know I used it against my kids as well to shame them into behaving the way I wanted them to. (Sorry, my loves.) Shame used as way to get someone to do what you want is a powerful weapon and you see it all over the place once you know where to look.
I got coached on this today and got some great advice. Shame is not useful in any way. It doesn’t help us grow, learn or become a better human. Now that I recognize it for what it is, I can choose to not let it in. Period. End of story. So the next time my face goes beet red, you may hear me say aloud, “Shame, you’re not welcome here.”.