Is this you?
You might not name shame as a part of the problem. Shame often goes undetected. Struggles with shame usually have other labels like: not standing up for yourself when you need to, withdrawing from something you really want, giving up on your dreams, overworking, feeling small in certain situations, having poor boundaries, wishing your body was different, hearing yourself say you’re not good enough, or shutting down in a vulnerable moment.
If you do recognize shame, you know it sometimes lurks in the dark corners of your consciousness and you are ready to shine a light there. You are ready to take a look at what triggers shame and connect to the vulnerable feelings and needs underneath.
You have a longing to feel more whole and alive in your life as well as more skillful in your relationships. You know that parts of who you are have been sent into exile and you are ready to reclaim those parts. You know that this means embracing vulnerability and being with discomfort.
You have enough support in your life to do this difficult work of moving into relationship with shame and cultivating a sense of self that has you thriving in your life and in your relationships. You can see how a lack of access to a solid sense of your own worth blocks your ability to engage in relationships the way you would like.
What is it all about?
Shame is the feeling you get when you perceive that your worth or basic sense of goodness is threatened. It's about your identity, who you are as a person. This is distinct from guilt, which is the feeling you get when you perceive that your behavior is out of alignment with your values.
Shame means you are telling yourself you should or should’nt be a certain way.
Shame arises in regard to your identity. It arises when you think that you are not being the person you think you should be or would like to be. Behind shame there are thoughts (often unconscious) that are some version of, “I have been a bad person and deserve punishment.” Shame is often just outside of conscious awareness and so can be hard to identify. Shame is often accompanied by a narrowing of perspective and confused thinking making it difficult to do any self-reflection or reach out for support. Out of shame, you may unconsciously stop asking for what you need and just go along with whatever someone else says. Shame like all feelings lives along a continuum of intensity. Here is an example, with intensity increasing from left to right.
Discomfort – Self-Conscious – Embarrassed – Small... Shame
Shame can be triggered by your own thoughts and behavior, by conditions in your environment, or by the behavior of others. The idea isn’t to try to control conditions perfectly so that you never experience shame. Rather, the hope is to cultivate compassionate awareness, see things as they truly are, and make use of skills that return you to having a sense of being grounded in your values and your innate goodness.
In this four week online series, you will learn how to bring shame fully into the light of consciousness and build a compassionate and skillful relationship to it.
How it works
For each class we will begin with five minutes of guided meditation. A particular concept and skill will be presented. Then you will practice the skill in a short structured exercise. You will hear questions and comments from previous participants both clarifying the material and debriefing exercises.
You will follow along with the video (60-90 minutes) and your handout. Some exercises you can do on your own and some are best done with another person.
As you take the course you can ask questions via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
While you are taking the course, you can also book a discounted session with an MCD Companion for one-on-one live support.
Thank you so much for your participation and dedicating your time and energy to this important work. We look forward to connecting.
Topics for the Series:
Internal Resources and Thriving
Self-awareness, mindfulness, anchoring, expansive identity, and a compassionate relationship to your experience are a few of the skills we will access to build internal resources in the context of shame.
Getting to Know Shame
We will talk about the life-serving purpose of shame (what needs it is trying to protect) and how it moves from serving life to being a toxin. We will study shame at the subtle level of body, energy, emotion, thoughts, beliefs, and posture. We will practice using the body as resource to shift into an expansive perspective when shame arises.
Translating Into Feelings and Needs
Whether it is shame or any other voice of judgment, feelings and needs are present underneath. We will practice recognizing the voice of shame as an expression of feelings and needs and offering empathy to that voice.
Embodying the Energy of the Need and Appreciation
We often talk about needs as met or unmet. This is the most salient aspect of our experience. At a more subtle level, we can also experience needs as life-serving energies existing fully on their own. Learning to access these essential qualities or energies gives you access to resources in the most difficult of experiences. Appreciation, is another door to accessing the energy of the need and we will practice with a specific structure for appreciation.
Making Peace With Yourself
From parents, environment, conditioning and other infinite influences we can’t name, you have inherited a whole package of characteristics, habits, proclivities, challenges, etc. that you relate to with varying levels of acceptance. Shame pulls out particular parts of this package and tries to cover them up or push them away. By breaking down your sense of "me" into smaller bits you can more easily relate to each aspect of experience with compassion.
Join us for this four week online series and learn concepts and skills that will serve you for a lifetime.
Welcome! Download and Print this Handout for the Course
Getting the Most Out of Your Pre-Recorded Course
Week 1 Video
Week 2 Video - Part 1 of 2
Week 2 Video - Part 2 of 2
Week 3 Video
Week 4 Video