OVERCOMING SHAME

OVERCOMING TOXIC SHAME

Shamelessness

One means of protection against feeling our toxic shame is acting “shameless.” Acting shameless can take the form of several behaviors that alter our sense of shame:

Perfectionism

Perfectionism is learned when a person is valued only for doing. I once heard this referred to as becoming a humandoing instead of a humanbeing. A perfectionist has no sense of healthy shame or internal limits…they never know how much is good enough.

Power & Control

You’ve heard the expressions: “control freak” and “power junkie.” These are direct references to this defense mechanism that is a part of shamelessness. Striving for power is a way to control other people. “Those who must control everything, fear being vulnerable…because to be vulnerable opens one up to being shamed.”

Rage

rage is the “most naturally occurring cover-up for shame.” It protects us in two ways: keeping others away or transferring our shame to others. NOTE: This is not the same a justified rage. However, even justified rage at being abused, abandoned, neglected or violated can be internalized when not expressed. What was originally meant to protect us against further experiences of shame, can become a state of being. This kind of rage can turn into hatred and result in violence and criminal behavior.

Arrogance

Webster’s defines arrogance as being overbearing and acting self-important. It is a defense mechanism for covering up shame.

Criticism and Blame

criticism and blame “are perhaps the most common ways that shame is interpersonally transferred.” It is a way of reducing the feeling of humiliation and shame a person feels by criticizing and blaming someone else. “Children subject to criticism and blame are shamed to the core. Children have no way to decode their parents’ defensive behavior.” Children interpret criticizing and blaming in this way as “I’m bad.” They come to believe that all the fighting and arguing is their fault.

Judgmentalism and Moralizing

These are the offspring of perfectionism. Condemning others as “bad” or “sinful” is a way to feel morally correct and righteous.Children who are the victims of perfectionism, judgment and moralizing are not only victims of emotional abuse, but also spiritual abuse.since God alone is perfect; ..to act shameless is to play God” and therefore, “Children of shameless parents are given a distorted foundation for experiencing God.”

Contempt

Contempt involves complete rejection of someone else who is viewed as utterly disgusting. This is another defense mechanism that is often passed down from one generation to the next. “The child condemns others as he has been condemned.”

Patronizing

To patronize is to support, protect, champion or help someone who does not have the same knowledge, benefits, power or prestige as you. That sounds like a good thing, right? The difference is that we patronize when we do these things WITHOUT the other person’s request, desire or permission. It is a way of feeling as if you’ve one-uped another person.

Care taking

This is a form of co-dependence. It is NOT the same as a spirit of helpfulness and giving. Instead the caretaker helps others as a way of helping themselves. The goal of the caretaker is to feel good about themselves, NOT to take care of someone else

People Pleasing

The goal of the people pleaser or nice person is to look good. Her image is what’s important. They hide their shame-based true nature behind a facade of being friendly and well-liked.

Envy

The most common definition of envy is “discomfort at the excellence or good fortune of another.” Envy is usually thought of as “bad” and even referred to as one of the seven “deadly sins.” As such, it is usually kept hidden from others as well as the envious person himself. Sometimes envious people will reveal their hidden feelings with a “back handed” compliment. First, they’ll say something nice about the person they are envious of and then they’ll take all the positive things back with some disparaging or belittling words or a question. Teenagers are famous for this kind of thing. One girl might say to a rival, “I love your outfit, but didn’t you wear that yesterday?”

Compulsive/Addictive Behaviors:

Another layer used for covering up toxic shame are compulsive and addictive behaviors. society in general over focuses on addiction to alcohol and drugs, overlooking other serious, life-damaging addictions used to numb, block out and cover up toxic shame. Pia Mellody defines addiction as, “any process used to avoid or take away intolerable reality.” addictions can be divided into five groups:

1. Ingestive Addictions

a) Alcohol and Drugs – Some chemicals are inherently addictive. This group includes nicotine (the addictive chemical in cigarettes); legal prescription and over-the-counter drugs; illegal, “recreational drugs; and caffeine.

b) Eating Disorders

1) Food Addiction – Obesity –
2) Fat/Thin Disorder – Unlike obesity, this eating disorder is not visible. The mood alteration is the same in that you obsess…first about eating, then about NOT eating. Some people refer to this as”yo yo” dieting. It’s a cycle. First you obsess about eating (for me its sweets!)…you binge. Then you feel guilty about binging and obsess about what you’ve done. You feel like you’ve blown it, so you might as well eat some more and this continues until you can’t fit into your clothes any more. What follows is a cycle of dieting, exercising and depriving yourself of your craved for food. The difference between this and healthy dieting is that there is no balance. It’s all or nothing,fat or thin.

3) Anorexia Nervosa – Anorexia is the most immediately (other eating disorders cause health problems over a longer period of time) life-threatening of all eating disorders. Anorexics are most commonly girls who come from affluent families dominated by perfectionism. It involves fasting and starvation. It is a very complicated addiction that can include the use of laxatives, forced vomiting (purging) and/or excessive exercise. At the core of it is the desire to be more than human. Trying
to live without nourishment is the ultimate rejection of a person’s humanity.

4) Bulimia – Anorexics can also suffer bulimia, but it can also develop without any preceding anorexic condition. Bulimia is not as limited to females as anorexia. Many male athletes and “fitness addicts” will resort to binging and purging to maintain a desired weight.

2. Feeling Addictions

a) Rage Addiction – When we are raging, we feel powerful. If you felt powerless during your abuse, violation or trauma (which you most likely and understandably would), feeling rage can lead you to believe you are getting your power back. We no longer feel inadequate and defective when we are raging. If people around us let us get away with it, rage can become our preferred method for altering our mood. After repeated use, we can become rage addicts. If we limit our raging to limited, constructive release sessions, this can actually be healthy. However, most people addicted to rage are not able to do this. Like any other addiction, the rage addict is usually out of control, utilizing no boundaries. Most likely, eventually, a rage addict will lash out at those around him…usually those closest to him, with whom he feels safe. Raging, screaming, yelling and more obviously, hitting, pushing, etc. are abusive. Without help, the rage addict will most likely become the type of abuser she herself feared when her own abuse was going on.

b) Other Emotional Addictions: fear, excitement, religious righteousness – Any emotion can be addictive. People addicted to excitement are always looking for their next emotional high

c) Shame Addiction – Believe it or not, we can become addicts to our own toxic shame. goes so far as to say that “shame-based people are always addicted to their toxic shame…Everything is organized around preventing exposure.” Without healing, we “cannot let our guard down for one second.” This is no way to live!

d) Guilt Addiction – Toxic guilt is even more pernicious than toxic shame. Toxic guilt says we have no right to be who we are. We spend every waking hour analyzing everything we do and trying to solve our internal problems. There is no time for rest.

3. Thought Addictions – Thoughts and mental processes can also be addictive. “Thought processes are a part of every addiction. Mental obsession, going over and over something, is a part of the addictive cycle,” but it can also be addictive in and of itself. Some of this can be closely related to dissociation. By obsessing on our thoughts, we can avoid painful feelings and hide our shame.

a) Detailing – One way of using thought processes to alter our mood is by detailing. Many people who have been diagnosed with OCD use this type of mental obsession. People who are addicted to detail usually give you more information than you need or desire during a conversation. If you are involved in conversation with a detail addict, you will most likely start to tune them out or become bored half way through their minutely detailed recollection of something. These people are addicted to detail. Although listening to a detail addict can be annoying, it’s important to remember that these people are hurting inside. Detail addicts stay in their head to
avoid excruciating feelings.

b) Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – There has been a lot of media attention to this disorder, so I won’t go into a lot of information here, but people with OCD are similar to detail addicts. They stay in their heads to avoid painful feelings.

4. Activity Addictions – Another way of altering mood is through behavior/activity. The compulsion part of OCD has to do with activity. Instead of just staying immersed in thought and verbally detailing, activity addicts must actively behave in certain ways as a means of distraction. While OCD is not that prevalent, the more common forms of activities that alter mood and cover up shame are the following:

a) Gambling
b) Sexual Addiction
c) Buying (“Shopaholic”)
d) Hoarding
e) Working (“Workaholic”)
f) Exercising
g) Watching TV
h) Video Game Playing
i) Internet Addiction

None of these activities are necessarily inherently addictive, however, all of these can become life- damaging addictions if used to alter one’s mood by participating in the activity. Toxic shame is the culprit when any of these activities become an addiction.

5. Will Addictions – Bradshaw says that, “The human will loses its cooperative relationship with the intellect because of the contamination’s resulting from the shame-bound emotions.” This means that our “intellectual operations of perception, judgment and reasoning are crucial to the will in its choicemaking duties.” These intellectual “operations” allow us to see alternatives available to us when we make choices. When our “emotional energy is frozen and shame-bound, the intellect is seriously biased and impaired.” Our will loses its ability to see those alternatives. We begin to act willful…which can have serious, life-damaging consequences. “Such willfulness is the core of all addictions. All addicts are ultimately addicted to their own wills.” Without reason, perception and judgment, we make choices based solely on what we want. As they say in AA, “I want what I want when I want it.” As John Bradshaw explains, “Addiction to one’s own will is the way that toxic shame causes spiritual bankruptcy. This is why spiritual healing is necessary when it comes to healing the syndromes of toxic shame.”

Reenactment – “Acting Out” The final way that we cover up our toxic shame is a paradox. This phenomena is called reenactment or “acting out.” Basically what this means is that we repeat our earlier trauma or abuse. I think part of this is because we are drawn to what we know. If we were abused as a child, we will unconsciously seek out others who will continue to abuse us, because that is what we know.

The most common forms of reenactment are:

Victimization – “Incest victims often continue to reenact their earlier sexual violation in one relationship after the other.” I can attest to this myself. As a teenager and young adult, I was continually drawn to abusive sex partners like a moth to a flame! Incest survivors like me often confuse sex with love and often tie up their self-worth with being desirable, sexy and sexual. We believe without sex we are nothing. This re-victimization can lead us into promiscuous sex and often the sex industry. Many sexual abuse survivors later become strippers, prostitutes or porn actors. This re-victimization can also happen to survivors of other forms of abuse. Children of emotionally unavailable parents are often drawn to emotionally unavailable partners, etc.

Criminal Behavior/Becoming an Abuser Yourself – If the cycle of abuse is not severed and the toxic shame healed, survivors can become offenders themselves. When feelings of understandable, justified, but unallowed terror, anger and pain are repressed, an abused child can identify with their abuser. The memories of the trauma can be completely repressed, but the original feelings remain just beneath the surface. Later, without possibly knowing why, these powerful feelings may be acted out against others in the form of abuse or crime.

Panic Attacks – Bradshaw believes that “every detail of behavior that is ungrieved and unfinished will be acted out” in one way or the other. Another way for this acting out is through panic attacks. Jane Middleton-Moz calls panic attacks “the window of the frightened child.” Often panic attacks occur when a memory from our past abuse is triggered by a current event, sight, sound, smell, taste, touch or feeling.If we have not retrieved the original memory AND worked to release the old, buried emotions associated with it and heal the shame attached to it, we will either act out the unresolved pain or it will cause such anxiety for us, we will experience panic attacks.

Dysfunctional Family Rules
1. Control – Control is the major defense mechanism for shame.
2. Perfectionism – Family members live according to an external image of perfection, which is impossible to achieve and therefore, no one ever measures up.
3. Blame – Blame is another defense cover up for shame. When control breaks down, blame takes over. Blame can be placed on oneself or others.
4. Denial of the Five Freedoms

These five freedoms represent a basic human power:
• – The Power to Perceive;
• – The Power to Think and interpret;
• – The Power to Feel;
• – The Power to Desire; to want and choose;
• – The Power to Imagine

This rule denies the true self of each family member. It demands that you not perceive,think, feel, desire or imagine the way you truly do, but the way the dysfunctional family rulesrequire you to…often a perfectionist ideal.

5. The No-Talk Rule – This rule denies the expression of the true self. It prohibits the full expression of any feeling, need or want.

6. Don’t Make Mistakes Rule – Mistakes reveal our flawed human self. Ackowledging mistakes opens the family up to scrutiny. This rule requires that you cover up your own mistakes and if someone else makes a mistake, you are required to shame them.

7. Unreliability – “Don’t trust anyone and you’ll never be disappointed.” Parents in the dysfunctional family did not get their developmental needs met as children and they won’t be there for their own children’s needs. The cycle of distrust is perpetuated.

– Abandonment

Physical Desertion – This is the most commonly understood meaning of the word. This can mean an outright physical separation resulting from a decision not to be involved in your child’s life, i.e. giving a child up for adoption or letting someone else raise your child. This can also include an undesired absense, which can occur from incarceration, illness, death or service away from home in the military.

Emotional Abandonment – Children need mirroring from their primary caretakers to develop in a healthy way. Healthy mirroring means that someone is there for the child and reflects an accurate image of who they really are. Shame-based parents are co-dependent adult children who are still in search of someone who is always there for them. The objects of their narcissistic gratification will often be their own children. In this way, the child takes care of her parent’s needs instead of the parents taking care of the child’s needs.

Abandonment Through Abuse – Abuse equals abandonment because when a child is abused, there is no one there for them. Young children, because of their natural egocentricity, take responsibility for their abuse. It is easier for a young child to believe they are to blame for the abuse than to blame the parent(s) whom they rely on for survival.

1. Sexual Abuse –
– Physical Sexual Abuse – Hands on touching in a sexual way.
– Overt Sexual Abuse – Voyeurism or Exhibitionism – The criteria for whether or not it constitutes abuse is whether or not the parent (or other adult) is sexually stimulated. This has nothing to do with the child’s naturally developing curiosity and sexual thoughts. This is when a parent or other adult uses a child for his or her own sexual stimulation.

– Covert Sexual Abuse

a) Verbal – Inappropriate sexual talk initiated by an adult.

b) Boundary Violation – This involves children witnessing their parents or other adult caretakers involved in sexual behavior. It is the adult’s responsibility to set appropriate sexual boundaries. Parents need to close and lock bedroom doors so that children don’t accidentally walk in and children need appropriate privacy as well. If parents or other adults do not respect a child’s privacy while they are undressing or using the bathroom, this constitutes a boundary violation.

– Emotional Sexual Abuse – When a parent or other adult relative or caretaker bonds in an inappropriate way with a child, it can constitute emotional sexual abuse. When a parent uses a child to meet their emotional needs, it can easily become romanticized or sexualized. A daughter can become “Daddy’s Little Princess” or a son can become “Mommy’s Little Man.” Children need parental guidance. They should not be treated as emotional equals like a spouse.

2. Physical Abuse -. Physical violence can take many forms, such as: physical spankings and beatings; being forced to get your own weapon of punishment (belts, wooden spoons, hair brushes, hangers, switches, etc.); punching; slapping; pulling; pushing; choking; kicking; pinching; biting; shaking; tickling to a torturous degree; being tied up; scratching; attempted drowning; burning with lit cigarettes, lighters, ovens, matches, etc.; being sat on; having things thrown at you; having liquids wiped, poured or splattered on you; being forced to breath toxic chemicals; having things forced inside your mouth/throat, like soap, alcohol or other toxic liquids; having things forced inside your vagina or rectum, like carrots, candles, knives, etc.; being threatened with violence or abandonment; being threatened to be taken away by police or “men in white coats”; witnessing violence done to a parent or sibling.

3. Emotional Abuse

Anger – When anger is shamed, two things happen:

•Anger is shame bound – Every time you get angry, you feel shame.When anger is shamed, it gets repressed. As anger energy is repressed,it builds and grows unconsciously and turns into rage.

Sorrow – When sorrow and sadness are shamed, it’s energy builds into inconsolable grief and can lead to suicidal feelings and attempts. In our culture, children are either outwardly punished for crying as in “I’ll give you something to cry about!” or verbally ridiculed or bribed to stop crying.

Fear – Often children are shamed for being afraid in the same manner as they are shamed for feeling sad. A denied and shamed feeling of fear can split off and grow into full- fledged terror, phobia or paranoia.

Joy – Even the positive emotion of happiness and the expression of joy can be shamed.

– Social Shame

The School System – “The school system promotes a shame-based measure of grading people’s intelligence,”

Peer Group Shaming – Peer groups can be an excruciating source of toxic shame. Appearance is probably the most obvious cause for toxic shaming by your peers in school. If you don’t wear the popular clothes, hairstyle, etc. you can easily become the class scapegoat. Teenagers will commonly project their own shame onto a class “reject.” “The peer group becomes like a new parent. Only this parent is much more rigid and has several sets of eyes to look you over.”

The Religious System –
1. God as Punitive – Shame can be intensified by the belief that God knows all of your inner most thoughts and is waiting to punish you for your sins.

2. Denial of Emotions – In general, some religions don’t allow much expression of emotion.

3. Perfectionism – Religion is responsible for a great deal of shaming through perfectionism. Most religions teach a kind of moral and behavioral righteousness. These standards dictate how to dress, talk, pray and behave in almost every situation. Deviation from these standards is judged as sinful. This perpetuates an “appearance” of righteous living. It is more important to act loving and righteous than to be loving and righteous.

4. Religious Addiction – Mood alteration is a component in addictive/compulsive behavior. Religious addiction is rooted in toxic shame. It can be exhilaratingly addictive for the members of any religious sect to be told they are “good” and that everyone who doesn’t believe in the same things are “bad” and sinful. Healthy shame says that we will inevitably make mistakes

The Cultural System
1. The Success Myth – In this belief system, money and its symbols of success are a measure of our self-worth.

2. Rigid Sex Roles – Rigid sex roles are still alive and well in our society. If you don’t believe it,take a look at any group of children playing in a day care center. Children’s’ toys are still very sexist. Parents will shame their little boys for wanting to play with dolls.

3. Perfection Myth (The Perfect “10”) – Our culture is inundated with a perfectionistic view of physical attractiveness. While this is slowly changing, most women and girls compare themselves to ultra thin models with enhanced bustlines and most men and boys’ looks are compared to male “sex symbols” and professional athletes. Comparing ourselves to this mythical, perfect “10” standard is a great source of sexual shame in our society.

4. Denial of Emotions – Our society does not encourage emotional honesty. When asked, “How are you?” Most people instinctively respond with, “I’m fine.” We repond this way even when it is the farthest thing from the truth. The sad thing is, even when we have the courage to answer with our true feelings, it more often than not becomes obvious to us that the asking party does not really want to hear about it!

5. “Good Ol’ Boy” and “Nice Gal” Myth – This is a kind of social conformity myth. “Don’t make waves.” “Take one for the team.” “Don’t rock the boat.” These all imply that we are expected to do things we might not want to do and keep quiet about it! This pretending and acting are forms of lying and a form of denying our true self. We are rewarded by society for being something other than what we are. It teaches us to hide our toxic shame.

SHAME AND GUILT
Shame is not the same as guilt.
When we feel guilt, it’s about something we did.
When we feel shame, it’s about who we are.
When we feel guilty we need to learn
that it’s OK to make mistakes.

When we feel shame we need to learn
that it’s OK to be who we are!

WHERE SHAME COMES FROM

Shame comes from being taught
that we are worthless or bad or something similar.
It comes in childhood from adults who say things like:
“You’ll never amount to anything!”
“You are worthless!”
“I wish you were never born!”
“Shame on you!”
It also comes from severe physical discipline
since each hit of the hand or fist or belt says to the child:
“You don’t matter at all!
Only what you do matters!”
And shame comes from being humiliated for our behavior.
It comes from adults who say:
“What would the neighbors think of you if they knew…?”
“You look ridiculous!”
“Don’t you have any pride?”
“What’s wrong with you anyway!?”
And it comes from being threatened
with shaming, or physical discipline, or humiliation.
When we are threatened with these things,
the psychological message is the same:
“I can and will treat you any way I want to…
You are a worthless weakling at my disposal!”

WHAT HAPPENS TO PEOPLE WHO ARE SHAMED?

People who are shamed
have to live in the same world as all the rest of us
but they have to live in it
with the deep-down conviction that they are worthless.
The amount of continuous pressure
a deeply shamed person feels is immense.
When they are doing well,
they think it’s only a matter of time
before they are discovered as useless.
When they make mistakes,
they expect a terrifying degree of anger
from the people they disappoint.
Every act is a “test”
– and they are convinced
that it’s only a matter of time
before they fail completely.

LIVING IN SHAME AND LIVING “AS IF” YOU ARE O.K.

Some people who are convinced they are worthless
live out their lives to prove that they are worthless!
The most severe alcoholics, drug addicts,
and impulsive criminals are good examples.
Like all of us, they have a deep need to be known and to be seen
and to be recognized “for who I really am.”
But since they actually believe they are worthless,
they have a strong need to prove their worthlessness
to everyone in their lives.They don’t hurt their families and friends because they don’t love them
or because they want to hurt them.
They hurt their families and friends out of this need to be “known” and out of the wrong belief that they are worthless.

Most people who are convinced they are worthless
live out their lives trying to prove they DO have worth.
These are the people who are constantly worried
about what you think of them,
and who constantly think
that you are judging them.
When you tell them they did a good job
they feel good for a few minutes,
but they soon feel worthless again
(and think that you wouldn’t like them
if you “really” knew them).
If you tell them they did a poor job
they will either feel a strong urge to cry
or they will show an immense amount of anger
at you for saying such a “horrible” thing!
They don’t understand
you are only commenting on the last thing they did.
They think you are commenting on them,
and on their worthlessness as human beings.

WHAT HELPS?

People who’ve been deeply shamed
need to be fully loved and accepted and valued!
Some people find a lover who deeply accepts, loves, and values them.
Others find a group of friends who deeply accept, love, and value them.
Most people need a therapist along the way
who shows them their value,
and who, perhaps more importantly,
helps them to stop
all the repetitious self-talk about their lack of worth.
Every person who is overcoming shame
will need to have many sources of love and acceptance.
One lover or friend or therapist is never enough.
The more totally they can trust these new sources of love in their life,
the more deeply they will accept the love they need.
(The love of less trustable people is also valuable, of course
– just not nearly as valuable.)
Overcoming shame takes a long time.
But it is well worth it for the moment
when the deeply shamed person finally says
with unmistakable surprise and amazement in their voice:
“You know, I really am a good person!”

YOUR OVERALL GOAL

To overcome shame, you need to learn that
it’s OK to be who you are!
To get there, you must have
and absorb deeply
many separate moments
of being accepted, loved, or valued.
I’ll be giving you some practical ideas about how to do this.

ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CLOSEST TO YOU

Stop relying on anyone who treats you as if you are not OK.
Spend more and more of your time with
the people who know you are OK the way you are.
And let them know more and more about you.
Choose your relationships based on how you are treated
– not just on whether the other person feels “comfortable.”
[We are “comfortable” with what we are used to
– even when it’s bad for us!] Treat people the way you want to be treated.
It’s contagious.
WHEN PEOPLE TREAT YOU POORLY
Tell them to stop it!
If they keep it up, don’t tell them over and over.
This is like “begging.”
It makes you feel weak in their presence.
You need to feel strong when you have to be around such people!
Expect people who treat you badly
to keep it up
and hold them responsible
for how they treat you.
Hold yourself responsible
for how much time you spend with them,
how you respond to their mistreatment,
and whether you take their opinions seriously.
When people imply that you aren’t valuable,
they are wrong.
You must learn how to throw away such comments immediately.
(You know how angry you get when you are treated this way.
This anger is your guide.
It tells you that this person’s opinion of you is worthless
and can be thrown away without question.)
Know that only a few people are likely to treat you poorly.
The rest of us are ready to treat you well!
(If you catch yourself thinking otherwise,
at least remind yourself that I am positive you are wrong!)

WHEN PEOPLE TREAT YOU WELL

Absorb it!
Always take at least a few seconds
to FEEL the good feelings you get when you are treated well.
Let your appreciation show.
(Your natural smile will do just fine!)
Showing your appreciation reinforces the other person
and encourages them to stay around you longer.
Don’t talk yourself out of it!
Most compliments are honest.
Even when someone is trying to manipulate you they say things they mean!
Turn down the manipulation
but accept the compliment!
For example:
“Thanks for noticing how attractive I am,
but I still don’t want to give you my phone number.”
and,
“Thanks for noticing I have good taste in cars,
but I still won’t pay what you are asking for this one.”

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT LATER

The most important factor in overcoming shame is
how you treat yourself when you get home!
When you’ve been treated poorly
how do you treat yourself afterwards?
The Unhealthy Option:
Focus on yourself and wonder if they were right
about the bad things they said!
“Maybe they are right and I am a jerk!”
“Maybe I am stupid!”
The Healthy Option:
Focus on your anger at the mistreatment!
“What a jerk he was!”
“What’s wrong with someone like that!?”
“Who asked for her opinion?!”
When you’ve been treated well
how do you treat yourself afterwards?
Do you relax and think about the good things?
Do you mentally recycle the best parts?
Do you notice how much you agree about your good qualities?
Do you take the time to ENJOY feeling good?

ANSWERS TO THE USUAL OBJECTIONS

Q: “What about all the horrible mistakes I made in my life?”
A: “You needed to make them, to learn.
Now that you know they were mistakes, you have learned!”

Q: “What about all the people I’ve hurt?”
A: “And what about all the people they’ve hurt?
Hurting each other is awful, but it’s part of life.”

Q: “Won’t I keep screwing up if I don’t feel ashamed?”
A: “It never stopped you in the past!
Shame doesn’t control you. YOU control you.”

Q: “This is all B.S.! I’m bad, and I know it, and I need to feel this way.”
A: “Your pain is only a warning.
You’ve got your warning.
Feeling more of it won’t help anything.”

Q: “We all need to suffer or else terrible things will happen in this world!”
A: “If you ever meet the mean people who taught you that,
tell them I said they were full of it!”