How To Stop a Shame Storm

I woke up feeling quite ashamed this morning! Those familiar old feelings of guilt, worry, unworthiness and just an all around question of WHY?! The worst part was I hadn’t actually done anything to be ashamed of. But I had wanted to, and that was enough to send me into a shame spiral. Shame is a funny friend (yes, a friend) that can sneak up on you when you least expect it. The worst part for me is that when I feel shame it is compiled – shame on shame – past shame seems to always come with present shame.

So what happened? Last night I was in a situation that my old party girl self would have looooved – drinks, drugs, and lots of men. While that may not sound like a worst case scenario for you, it was for me. For starters, I was with my fiancé, this amazing man who forever has a part of my soul, and a teeny tiny part of me didn’t want to go home with him; not that I wanted to be with anyone else, rather something else – I wanted to continue the party and find my fix. Addiction is a tough game, and for me being in the same room as drugs is not easy. I went in totally unprepared. My solution to deal with my anxiety was to drink… smart move, right? Obviously not, but it was the easy fix. I didn’t get drunk, but I absolutely drank to the point of losing most of my inhibitions and consequently my desire to stay away from the drugs. Luckily when Matt asked me to go home, I willingly went. As soon as we pulled up in front of our house a huge wave of THANK GOD washed over me. I was home, with the man I love, far away from the party. Still the shame storm still came this morning. But luckily, it pushed me to grow and I found some new tools to deal with shame:

How to stop a shame storm:

  1. Get Outside; fresh air and watching the community around you will get you out of your head.
  2. Spend Time With Animals; our pets offer this beautiful unconditional love – no matter what you’re feeling they will always find you worthy of love. (Which you are by the way!)
  3. Sit With Your Thoughts; once you’ve had a chance to get out of your head, I recommend coming back to your thoughts and rely pin-pointing what’s going on. Where is the shame originating from? Until I sat with my thoughts I didn’t realize that 80% of the shame I was feeling this morning was really past shame from similar scenarios.
  4. Focus On The Positive; often when we’re in a shame storm all we can see are the negative choices we made, or wanted to make. It’s easy to lose site of the positive choices you also made. Find the positive. It might be as simple as finding gratitude for the shame you’re feeling as now you know exactly what you don’t want.
  5. Prepare; inevitably you will be in a similar situation again – this is a great time to create simple strategies to better prepare you for next time. For instance, I see a few options for myself:
    • (1) Decline the invitation next time.
    • (2) Go sober. I’ll either offer to be the designated drive or plan something for the next morning so that I don’t drink.
    • (3) Set an intention before the event. Meditate on how to you want show up and act in the situation.

Remember, you are in control of the thoughts that you’re thinking. You have to actively choose to stop the shame storm. Be responsible for your thoughts and actions. And most of all, remember that you are worthy of love and self-compassion.

Daily Affirmation: “a Universal love is always running through me, strengthening me and supporting me” 

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