When you feel shame after recognising your destructive patterns

When we realise a destructive coping strategy we have been playing out, but haven't yet changed course, we can feel embarrassed. Our new awareness brings uncomfortable shadows into the light. It can be tempting at this point to go back to not looking at ourselves, to choose comfort over change or to decide we are too broken to 'fix' and continue to self sabotage. When the changes you want to make seem too big, focus on healing shame and being gentle with yourself - the other steps become a lot easier when you have self compassion.


Hey. It's okay. We've all been there. When we uncover a new layer of awareness sometimes it can feel like going backwards because we are suddenly aware of the work that is calling to be done to get to the next level of our experience.


Going backwards is an illusion. (So is going forwards as everything happens in the present moment but that's another conversation).


You are here, in this moment, and all you have to decide is what you get to do with the present.


In the present we can:

  • Realise we are not broken - everything we did made so much sense based on what we had to do to survive before we had more information and knew we had more options

  • Reparent the critical voice in our head that tells us we are a failure/a bad person/ any negative limiting beliefs that don't support your greatest expansion. Say gently to these thoughts: 'I am strong' ,'I am worthy', 'I can do this'

  • Aim to understand why you turned to the coping mechanism and release the belief/ fear which required it in the first place. The behaviour change will become natural when the inner healing occurs. See it as natural to be in this new state of behaviour - the realest you is the healed you.

  • Take it one step at a time. There might be a radical shift we envision ahead such as giving up an addiction or leaving a relationship, and that transition will always happen in small, actionable steps. Right now I'm getting a visual image of Chandler in F.R.I.E.N.D.S. before his wedding, when he freaks out and Ross tells him to just do one thing at a time. What's the next step? Okay, take a shower... Chandler begins to think about the wedding and Ross reminds him, you're only taking a shower... If there's not something you immediately are able to do, for example have a conversation, go to the doctors, surrender into the not doing and focus on inviting more peacefulness into your experience. Integrating the new version of you daily is far more sustainable than charging ahead and burning out.

  • Catch ourselves lovingly when we lean back into old patterns. Release the expectation to be perfect. Healing tends to circle back in spirals - we all feel those thoughts re-emerge from time to time or 'slip up'. Simply move back into awareness and choose self love once more.

©2020 by Bobby-Jo Dearnley.