Remember being a little kid and being afraid of monsters under your bed or lurking in the wardrobe? And as soon as Mum turned the light on, the fear dissolved and the monsters didn’t seem scary at all!
Today I want to talk about shame monsters, and how in the same way, we can turn the light on to make them less scary and controlling of your life. What do they look like? Where do they live? When do they come out? Do they stop you sleeping at night?
So first things first, let’s turn the light ON! What things in your life are you ashamed of?
Your body? Your lifestyle? Your job? Your relationship? Your Finances?
ACTION: Grab a pen and paper and make a list of your shame monsters…write down the first things that come up!
Next you need to have an honest conversation about them. Maybe start with your journal, and have a safe conversation to yourself. It is amazing how much can shift by getting your thoughts out on paper! When you are ready, step it up and have an honest conversation with a real life human (don’t put this off for too long!!). Someone you can trust, who you feel safe talking to, or a professional in that particular area.
I’ll start…wanna hear about one of my shame monsters (yes I have many just like you!)?!
Most of my life I have been pretty good at being healthy. Exercise & nutrition are a passion and a second nature. When I first left Uni and started working in health in 2005, I struggled to understand how people did not have the self-motivation to eat well and exercise! It baffled and intrigued me at the same time.
Through my work and inquisitive mind, I now know that the recipe for good health is not just about the food on your plate and the amount of exercise you do, but a combination of how all the different areas of your life feed you. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition refers to them as your Primary and Secondary Foods:
- Secondary Foods = The food on your plate.
- Primary Foods = Everything else in your life that feeds you (Exercise, Career, Spirituality, Relationships, Finances, Play etc)
You cannot become ‘well’ by only focusing on the food that you eat…you have to look at everything in your life that feeds you. When I am feeling a little unbalanced, I will sometimes take a step back, and look at all of my primary and secondary foods to figure out what areas of my life needs more attention.
When I do this exercise there is one thing that keeps cropping up, something I have always known that needs attention, and it is something I have been ignoring for a long time.
My relationship to money.
Finances is a massive shame monster to me, and so today I put on my big girl panties, and have handed all of my accounts over to a book keeper….and you know what? IT SCARED THE BE-JEEZERS OUT OF ME!! I have such a deep feelings of shame and embarrassment about my finances, and there was this little voice in my head saying “Don’t do it! You can work this out on your own”, “you don’t need help”.
As Brene Brown says in her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’, “Shame is that warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, flawed, and never good enough. Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging”. (BOOM!)
Brene says there are three things that you need to know about shame:
- “We all have it. Shame is universal an one of the most primitive human emotions that we experience.”
- We’re all afraid to talk about shame”
- “The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives”
Through facing my shame and having an honest conversation about it, I feel a huge relief. I also had a massive “ah-ha” moment too…that this is exactly how my clients feel when they come to see me about their health! I feel as if I have bridged the gap of understanding between myself and my clients. My clients most probably have shame monsters with their diet and lifestyle.
Shame is an icky emotion, and I totally get it. While I am good at health, I’m not so good at finances. Some of my clients are good at finances, and not so good at health. We all have some things we are good at, and some things we need help with.
And so with this realisation, lets turn the light on our shame monsters and look them square in the eye….even if you are shaking all over with fear! They are only as scary as you let them be in your mind.
Ask for help in the areas where you need it, and don’t buy into those negative nelly voices in your head. It is damn hard, uncomfortable and scary (like writing about this in a blog post!), but trust that it’s what must be done to unleash your full potential. And THAT makes it totally worth it!
If health is your ‘thing’ that you need support to face your shame monsters and make a change, then reach out sweet one….I’ve got ya!
TAKE ACTION NOW….what are your shame monsters??! Share them below if you dare….
Love Ngaire x