Note: More to Life with Faith and Lois is designed to be heard, not read. We hope you’ll listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that won’t be on this page. Our transcripts are generated with speech recognition software and may contain errors. 

 

Lois                        

Welcome to the podcast, More to Life with Faith and Lois.

Faith                   

I’m Faith

Lois                          

And I’m Lois.

Faith                      

Our podcast explores life’s many transitions that inspire and daunt us.

Lois                       

Welcome back Faith.

Faith

Oh, it’s good to be here.

Lois                         

And very, very cool to be stepping into transitions of all sorts. And if we have one thing that we haven’t touched on yet, by the way, if you’re listening and saying, I want this other transition, would you let us know in some way and ping us or get on our social media and we will certainly consider adding that to our episodes.

Faith                    

We would really like to know because you’re the ones that have the insight as to what’s going in your own lives.

Lois                        

That’s right. And we would love it if you’d share these podcasts and this one in particular that we’re going to be hitting on today with someone. And you know, rate them. If you get a chance, we would love to know on the different platforms you listen to us on what you think of what Faith and I are doing at this point. So our podcast today is one that we have all felt at some point. And maybe we’re feeling it right now. Maybe you’re in a space where you feel it and what do you do with it? It’s Episode 70. Transition: The Impact of Shame.

Faith                     

And as soon as we hear that word shame and you can almost feel kind of a heavy cloak or weight descend upon us because that’s exactly what it feels like.

Lois                       

It does. There are a lot of synonyms that go along with shame and maybe you feel a different level of these. When you think about shame: humiliation can be part of it. Embarrassment. And I don’t just mean turning red because somebody said something – I mean really deeply embarrassed so that it affects you. Discomfort, mortification, indignity. I mean those are all some synonyms that boy, they just, that’s why I think shame takes such a big heavy weight on us.

Faith                     

Yes, it does. And it molds our false identity in such a way that we begin to believe that some of those feelings that we’ve experienced because of an encounter we’ve had are actually true. And then we begin to believe it and then we feel even more shame. And the reality is, it’s not who you are. It is a part of your false identity, not your true identity.

Lois                       

Because shame for many people means you are not good enough. Yes, that’s the message you hear. That’s the message you take with you. And it’s not true.

Faith                   

It’s not true. No. But it is so easy and it begins in a very early age. You know, it really does. When you suddenly get caught stealing a piece of candy from the candy jar and you’re two or three and you’re scolded for that. And you, you drop it and you feel scared and you feel that like, oh my goodness, that feeling of I’ve done something wrong. And that is a perfect example of where it can begin. Like, oh my gosh, I’m a naughty person. And sometimes that word is even used. And so, so when we hear certain words that are put onto us, then how are we to discern it at a very early age, whether that’s true or not? So you can see how it can begin very, very early in life.

Lois                       

And carry through and carry through years and years. You know, shame is a painful emotion. That’s a response to a sense of failure to achieve some ideal state. Like you said, you know, I probably shouldn’t have taken that cookie. I absolutely didn’t want to get caught taking that cookie and then shamed into being called naughty for taking that cookie. It just keeps adding up. Right. And there’s some physical signs. I mean, you really can be around people and see that they are filled with shame. You know, they, they won’t look you in the eye. Right. They often will hang their head down and you just want to hide. I know. You just want to disappear.

Faith                    

Yeah. And that’s where the whole wall flower thing comes from is that people that are usually up against the wall, at a dance or at a party or someplace are feeling, well, they can also be shy. But I’m oftentimes, there’s some shame around the shyness because a shy people who have been condemned for being shy – and it’s like, what’s wrong with you? Why don’t you join us? And so there’s a misunderstanding about our behaviors, our actions, and then we are out of our own kind of crazy humanity. We want to understand why someone is doing what they’re doing. So we judge it and as soon as there’s a judgment, shame can come right behind.

Lois                      

Boy can it. So Faith shame tends to encompass our entire self. I mean I feel it sometimes when I’ve been immersed in it, it’s for my head to my toes. And how does it do that take over completely our physical, like the head down, the eyes averted. I mean it just does, it does a lot to us.

Faith                   

I think it attacks every part of ourselves. It attacks how we think, it attacks how we feel, it attacks, how we perceive ourselves and everything around us. And so we tend to move into a tunnel vision place. It’s the fight or flight thing. It gets triggered in this like, I want to get out of here or I want to get mad and I want to fight this. And so we have a reaction that stirs so shame is it can really push that fight or flight at times and we don’t recognize that. But often with shame we go inward. So we’re fleeing, we’re not fighting, we’re just, we’re withdrawing. And then that only adds more to the shame. And we have all these messages going on in our head. What’s wrong with you? You’re so stupid. Why would you be pulling away? And look what you just said. That was the dumbest thing you could ever say. I mean, all this stuff starts coming up, but if we can stop for a moment and say, this came from somewhere, I wasn’t born with those thoughts. It came from somewhere. And so the part of dealing with this is we have to wrestle with the foundation of shame in our lives.

Lois                      

And we’re going to do that. I know that if you’re in a place right now where you’re feeling insecure, maybe about you’re doing in your work or in your relationship that you have, shame can come to you in the form of somebody saying to you, you will never amount to anything, right? You can’t do this, and you weren’t meant to do this at all. And they may say it because there was a mistake you made. And usually that’s why someone would say that. Or it could be because they’re very angry with you. But you take those words and because you have a little bit of insecurity already, which is based on, I’m not sure I’m doing the thing. And then they confirm it with that. It can change the trajectory for an eight year old or a 48 year old when you hear these words, and that is shame. So I hate to bring it on you, but if you’re feeling it, this is what happens when you get that message. Because so many times we feel we’re imposters, we just do. You know, we’re going through things and we’re going, I kind of know this, I kind of don’t know this, but if somebody calls you out on it, then you suddenly go, you’re right. I didn’t really know it. And then what am I? Because you were trying to identify yourself through that action. So know that shame can come on you when you’re in those moments. So give yourself a little space to breathe because cruelty is cruelty and it happens. Sometimes people mean to say it to you and sometimes they don’t mean to go so deep.

Faith                   

And you have to get to the origin and if you don’t, and if you don’t take responsibility for it, it’s not your fault that it’s there, but it is your responsibility to deal with it. And I have a really good example of that. I early on when I was beginning my practice, one of the things I did not want, I did not want very handsome people or very beautiful women to come see me and I didn’t realize I had that in my mind. And all at once some really beautiful women started to come to see me and I was tripping over my tongue in my words. And it’s like I was really not doing my best. I stopped and I went, I’ve got to deal with this. What am I doing? Where does this come from? And then I had this total flashback of being in high school and my high school pet name that they would scream down the hall was, oh, here comes ugly. There she is, there’s ugly. And oh my goodness, that wave of shame. And so I took responsibility for that and I went and I did my own work on it because I want it to be better. I wanted that gone. And once I worked through that, it was gone. But you see, it was old shame that I wasn’t fully aware of was there, but it was impacting me as an adult.

Lois                        

And it piqued its ugly head when these things.

Faith                    

When there was this model walking into my office like, oh no, what am I going to do with her? Because that I perceived as being better than me because of an old history.

Lois                      

So that’s one way to definitely start targeting that. And we’re going to work through this a little bit. You’ve probably heard of Brene Brown. If you haven’t, you’re sitting under a rock somewhere and if you haven’t, do yourself, Google her, please, please listen to her. Especially when it comes to this subject. She’s a professor at the University of Houston. She’s written Daring Greatly, and she’s done a lot of writing on this subject of shame. She has studied shame, worthiness and vulnerability for over 10 years. And it’s just amazing. So if you want to see her powerful Ted talk on vulnerability, you can actually Google that and watch that and check out her book Daring Greatly. You’ll really be impressed with where you can go with being vulnerable. But she became a shame researcher because she believes that shame is the experience or fear of believing you’re not worthy of connection. So what is the opposite? How do you connect in the midst of shame? And that’s where we’re going to explore today in Episode 70 Transition: The Impact of Shame. So one of the first things she and many other researchers in shame suggest is to bring that shame right out into the light.

Faith                    

Right, exactly. That’s, and that’s what I just described. I owned it. I had to bring it out and admit it. But when I did, that’s where truth could be found. Because what I was told way back when I was in high school wasn’t true. But I perceived it to be true because I was told it was true by bullies, but okay, but why do bullies have the right to define my life? But when you’re in high school, they do. Yes, because of the peer pressure. So when you bring it out into the light and you find out, no, I’m so much more than that. I am enough. I am good. I am. This is who I am. That’s getting back to that core identity of knowing who you really are.

Lois                      

You know, I was talking with somebody recently and part of their issue of wanting to hide from things is they’re really afraid of the judgment, so they won’t even speak it. They actually say these are certain things that I keep hidden because I will be so judged for it. So I’ve shared a number of times in our podcasts that you know, I had a very, very messy, ugly, horrible breakup of my marriage, my first marriage. And when I finally brought it into the light and I owned what I did and all of the players without naming names and how I participated in that, by the way, headfirst and eyes wide open. There’s no blame here to be put around other than how I did it. And I could’ve done it differently and I didn’t, but I owned it. I was so afraid of being found out that when somebody finds out, they will never speak to me. So I learned from much of this kind of research over the years is when you bring it into the light and you declare it and you own it, then what can anybody do? Okay, you don’t like me for that. I get it. I really do. And if that means that we can’t ever be in communion or connection together, then it was probably better that way. But it was very hard for me to finally say, this is what I did. I wish I could’ve done it differently. I’ve made reparations to the people I need to, and yet this is, this is who I am. And by confronting my shame and making it public, I refuse to let it define me and own me, and I took back my story.

Faith                 

And you took the power out of it. Yes. That was in somebody else’s hand that you were giving to them and you said, no, you can’t have that. I’m taking it back. So yeah, truth, bringing it into the light takes the power away from those that might judge you. Yes.

Lois                       

Another way to look at shame is to detach what you do from who you are. Absolutely. And this is the mantra that we have had from day one in this podcast, Faith, because it’s so important. If you define yourself by what you do, you are going to be tripped up.

Faith                

Or what has happened to you or what has been spoken to you or how you’ve been brought up to believe. All of these things are not a definition of you. They’re influencers in your life and some of them can be positive and a lot of them can develop a false identity. And we want to encourage everyone who’s listening that get back to who you really are. Not this false identity because it will destroy you, it crushes you. And shame is built around the false identity.

Lois                        

We put so much self worth on that which isn’t real. And you know, one of the reasons we have a tree as the symbol of More to Life with Faith and Lois is we want you to look into the root system and not look at just what’s out there – low hanging fruit – that you’ve done this and you’ve done that, which is what you do. But what’s underneath? What drives all of that so that you can have that fruit? So if one of those pieces of fruit falls off, well guess what? You’ve got a lot more root system to plumb the depths of.

Faith                  

Exactly. Yeah. You’ve got to get back to the true self and live from that. And we’re always afraid to look at that because we think there isn’t going to be anything there. And the reality is there’s so much there and so much to discover. So sometimes you need somebody to help you find it.

Lois                       

So speak to somebody if that would be helpful. Find some kind of community of support, which we bring up every single time because we know that we can’t do this alone. Right? Both of us, I know, we just keep going and we hang out together. So know your triggers. That’s something else that’s super important because shame hits you when you’re most vulnerable. So if you ignore those things that you know can bother you, then guess what? Somebody can remember what that trigger is and hit you with it every single time. Yes. Or you can hit yourself, right?

Faith                

So if you know, a known trigger could be like, oh, you’re so stupid that you were told. And if you know that, then deal with that. Don’t let it stay there. Don’t go, oh, that’s something stupid. That’s somebody said that said I was stupid. Don’t leave it there. Deal with it. Get rid of it because you’re not. And so that’s a known trigger. An unknown trigger is the one that got triggered, you know, in another way in the office, like a beautiful model, walking into my office. That was an unknown trigger, but I knew it was a trigger. And then I found it, found the source and dealt with it. When you deal with the triggers, I always say to people, all triggers are not a negative. They’re actually a positive, but they don’t feel good in the moment. They don’t feel good. Okay, but they are a gift because it’s basically telling you deal with this, I’m here- yoohoo- notice me and deal with me and don’t try to shove it away under the rug.

Lois                     

Because when you do it’s going to come back. It’s going to come back. Just going to pop up on the next trigger. Exactly on the next. Absolutely. Doctor Brene Brown does list shame categories. Now she says for women they are primarily physical appearance, and for men it’s the fear of being perceived as weak. Yeah. So how do you combat that and you embrace who you are instead of trying to be something you’re not.

Faith                    

I know, I know. We’ve been told that there is a certain image, a certain way of being that is perfect. There’s no such thing. There’s no such thing. But when you’re young, you think there is and you try to blend into that and to become that. And I think that we’ve missed some of the beauty and the wonder of transition in life. And that we are so beautiful as human beings, each uniquely created and made that, oh my goodness, so much to enjoy there and we need to see it in ourselves. And then in other people.

Lois                       

So we’re in Episode 70 The Impact of Shame and right now we’re looking at how you connect in the midst of shame to move you from this. And we really are going to discuss connecting with others. It’s so important to connect with others because the goal of shame honestly, is to isolate, absolutely. It’s you to hide, is for you to avoid is for you to crawl under a rock. And when you stay there, there is no freedom. There is no relief. You can’t get it because then the darkness becomes darker and darker and darker. So as we’re talking about bringing shame into the light or detaching from what you do and the triggers- that involves connection.

Faith                

It does. I will tell my clients all the time, isolation is an emotional killer. It will begin to eat away at you and you just gets darker and darker if you do this. And that’s why it is vital that we deal with the messages that we hear or the experiences that we’ve encountered and say, I want to heal this and process it so I can be free of it. Because there is freedom, there is more to life. There is but not when you’re in that other stuff, then of course that’s your reality But the way you get more to life is to deal with it, process it, heal it, overcome it and step into a new reality, a true reality of who you are and what life really is about for you.

Lois                        

You know, it’s so funny when you start connecting with people is when you share your truth. When you finally start, you know, well, here’s a little bit, or here’s a little bit, you’ll be floored at how many people have gone through something very similar, if not 10 times worse than what you’ve done. And I think that’s part of when we stay isolated with our shame. We magnify what we’ve done and maybe there has been something you really need to work through. But most of us are magnifying things. So out of control and we start talking to people and they’re going, well, Lois, you know, I, I, this is what I was participating in. This is what I did. And it’s not so we can go, oh thank goodness. We’re human, it brings back our humanity. And I don’t throw that person out because of what they just shared with me. So why would they throw me out?

Faith                  

That’s the common factor in all of humanity is our imperfection or the things that we have experienced that have been difficult in life. Why do we think we have to package everything so beautifully with a big bow on top and say, this is my life. You know, our life is both-and. It’s very, it’s very wonderful and exciting and amazing things and very difficult, very hard at times. And if you deal with both, that’s really a great connection with people.

Lois                       

So cool. And finally we want to talk about staying open because one of the things that shame does in addition to keeping us hidden is it limits us. It keeps us small because we’re afraid, oh my goodness, if I do this, then somebody really know how stupid I am or how I can’t do this because we’ve believed those lies. So what if you were to even physically as I stand here, sit here, I’m moving my arms. Because what if you were to be open and allow yourself to not be so limited and see what happens when you explore? When you stay limited, you stay wounded. Yes. And you stay stuck and you stay closed. But when you move an open your life, suddenly you start to hear things that you couldn’t hear before because now you’re open.

Faith                

Right? When we stay closed, we want to be in control. When we open up, we become vulnerable. We become more real. We become more expressive in whatever it is that we are experiencing. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid. Oftentimes when we go closed, I mean we close ourselves off to the rest of the world. So yes, staying open is a way that we can expand and explore and make new attempts and risk in life. And yeah, it’s scary, but it’s worth it.

Lois                     

And in every one of our podcasts, we talk about how once you start diving into all of these transitions, you’re going to find bits of gratitude. You’re going to find ways that nature just opens you up that you never thought was possible before. And we just think that is so cool. You become conscious again, you engage, you open your eyes, you ask questions because you are alive right now as you’re listening to this. But sometimes we tamp ourselves down. So we really encourage you because when you see yourself as whole and complete, your fear of doing the wrong thing begins to dissipate a bit so that you don’t have to be so afraid of what happens next. Because that’s what shame often is – we’re so afraid of what’s going to happen next. So let’s just stop right here.

Faith                    

We are so glad that you’ve joined us as we transition from shame to freedom into a life that you so want to live.

Lois                       

We believe that when you’re open to connecting with yourself and to others, the shame you’ve been clinging to, will begin – even if slowly – to fall away.

Faith                   

Please share this podcast with someone you think might enjoy our discussion.

Lois                        

And join us next week for Transition: The Impact of Silence.

Faith                  

Get the latest news on our social media platforms and on our website, and please subscribe.

Lois                       

More to Life with Faith and Lois is a podcast to support, encourage and uplift you.

Faith                  

As you transition through all sorts of change, we want you to know there is more to life.

Lois                       

We’ll be back next week.