Why is it SO HARD to take responsibility and say, whoops! I messed up? I have a theory… based in shame.
As children, we are told to be “good girls and boys.” Being good means you do what you are told, without arguing. For some people, doing what you are told is life or death – well, it feels like it. If you don’t do what you’re told, there is punishment.
We Are Never Good Enough
So, we spend a lot of time trying to be “good enough” for our parents as children. And we learn that if we are not good enough, that there is punishment. For some of us, worse than others.
So, we grow up… turn into adults, and there is no parent left to punish us.
So guess who ends up doing the punishing?
Punishing Myself for Being Me
You got it. We do. We punish ourselves. In our little comments. In our minds. With our actions. With our self-sabotage. We punish ourselves for not being good enough.
The manager of a restaurant I went to last night came over and said to us, “I’m the guy you beat up if something’s wrong.” And I thought to myself, why didn’t he say, “If you have a complaint, I’m happy to be in service to you and get you what you need,” What a different energy. But I heard his inner monologue. “I deserve to be punished.”
The problem is, what is the measure?
What is the measure of good enough?
(In psychology, we can see this taken to the extreme with eating disordered patients, who just can’t seem to get small enough – their brain has changed good enough to small enough, and they are acting in accordance to being “enough”… in this case, small enough)
So, when we are raised to be “good” without having a say in what that even means, many times, without even being told up front what is expected of us, we try very hard to be perfect. To attain that conditional love. Which of course is possible, but the unconditional love that we are truly striving for, is not. (Many parents, parenting out of conditional love, have never truly experienced unconditional love themselves, and therefore, do not know how to give it).
Standing In Our Shame
So, when we have a disagreement with our spouse or loved ones, for instance, somehow, not being good enough comes up. We are standing in our shame. We are standing in our humiliation of not being enough for the other person to love us unconditionally.
And we have long forgotten that it is human to make mistakes. Somehow, mistakes became BAD. So, God-forbid we make one.
I Am In Trouble
When our partner expresses their feelings about something WE have done, we automatically freak out, and go to punishment. The amygdala (hind brain) takes over, and we react out of our 6-year old self (or younger). We think, OH NO, I’M IN TROUBLE! (Also known as an amygdala hijack or amygdala takeover).
And instead of being able to say, WOW! I’m sorry! I made a big mistake. I’d like to make it up to you! What do you need, my love?
We say,” I DIDN’T DO THAT!” or some other crazy thing.
Sometimes we say this in our heads, and it comes out as defensiveness.
The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Defensiveness is one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. If it’s in your marriage, you are basically doomed…. (according to the research of Gottman). If you want to learn more about the 4 horsemen, watch this webinar on how to get the love of your life (even from the love of your life).
6 Ways to Stop Punishing Yourself and Start Overcoming Your Shame
- You can rewrite your old stories.
- You can do this with affirmations.
- You can re-parent yourself with love.
- You can teach yourself self-love.
- You can learn what unconditional love really is.
- Learn about emotional intelligence!
I have a 3-month coaching program, on the phone, to help rewrite this and much more. If you’re ready to stop punishing yourself and start overcoming your shame, don’t wait and sign up NOW for my free breakthrough session!
READ MORE FROM ME
Over the years, I have been a serial learner and practitioner, taking in information about psychology, religion, spirituality, science, medicine, quantum physics, relationships, parenting, and overall, general happiness and work-life balance. I’ve been fascinated in what it takes to and have created my life of pure joy, happiness, balance and peace. It is my mission to spread what I have learned and practiced to you in ways that are simple, easy to understand AND implement. I have served people in achieving realignment in their bodies, relationships and purpose for over 20 years. If you liked this article, and you want to read more, please visit one of the links below: