May 29, 2018

One Man's Journey to Healing Shame - Part 4

This week, Dolan concludes his series by talking about emotional healing, learning to transform shame by finding the truth, and a special bonus tip.


Emotional healing is a lot like spinning plates. First you have to get plate A going. You get plate A up and spinning on the stick. Then you start plate B. As you start plate B, plate A starts to wobble. So you give a quick push to plate A to keep it going. Then back to plate B. You get plate B going, then give a quick push to plate A to keep it going. One quick push to plate B before starting plate C. You get plate C up and going then have to give a quick push to plate A and B again before starting D. 

The point is that emotional healing isn’t always linear. The journey isn’t always ABC in an upward fashion. Sometimes the journey is AB, CA, BC, DABC. Sometimes you have to get a couple of things going at the same time.

In my experience emotional healing needs two components. 

Demonstrating to your heart you know how it feels and finding the meaning in your suffering. We’ve already talked about the second part, finding the meaning in your suffering. In this case the suffering is feeling shame.

The first part, demonstrating to your heart you know how it feels, is important. Why? What does that do? Demonstrating to your heart you know how it feels is all about feeling your feelings. When you feel your feelings, you are showing your heart you are willing to go there. You are willing to feel what it feels. You are showing your heart it is valuable, loved and precious. You and your heart are worthy of being understood. You want to understand exactly how your heart feels. You want to know what is going on deep inside you. You are even willing to suffer and feel the hurt, so you can understand your heart.

When you are willing to feel what your heart feels, something surprising happens. You feel understood. Someone has taken the time and effort to really understand how you feel deep down. Even though the person who took the time was you, you feel understood. Now you understand yourself. Your heart can relax and stop constantly ringing the alarm because someone finally understands. You, in turn, experience relief. This is one of the healing benefits of feeling your feelings. It’s powerful.

Feeling your feelings can be painful. Imagine the spinning plates again. After you get the first plate of feeling your feelings going, it’s time to learn how to comfort yourself through healing dialogue. That is the next plate to get going. Speak words of healing, comfort and validation to your heart, as you allow yourself to feel. Say the words your heart needs to hear, but never did. Say the words your heart needs to hear in a way that it can feel. Speak with love, kindness and patience. Your tone of voice is important. If you say loving things to your heart, but your toned is rushed and annoyed, your heart will pick up on it and your words will not go in.

If you find that speaking to your heart with love and kindness is difficult, please be compassionate with yourself. Perhaps speaking with love, kindness and acceptance was never modeled for you. Not to worry, speaking with love and acceptance is a learned behavior. And as with any learned behavior, the more you do it the better you’ll become.

Feeling understood and communicating value to your heart brings comfort and relief. Feelings your feelings also does something else. When you are willing to feel your feelings honestly, you put yourself in a place to understand the context of the feeling, and discover your truth. If you feel unworthy, and allow yourself to feel the depth of your feeling while you comfort yourself with a healing dialogue, what you find is underneath the feeling of unworthy is that you didn’t know the truth. You didn’t know you are lovable (or whatever your appropriate truth is). You never knew you were lovable, so of course you never felt lovable. 

By being willing to feel unworthy, and comfort yourself along the way, you discovered that in fact, "I am lovable." You just proved it to yourself. You found the meaning in your suffering. You've been suffering all this time, enduring pain, because you needed to know "I am lovable."

This two part process of demonstrating to your heart you know how it feels, then finding the meaning in your suffering, is how the emotional healing sets in. 

By being willing to feel, you discover your truth. The truth is the missing piece that fills a hole in your heart, which in turn makes you a little more whole.
I hope you found this series on shame useful. The material I covered in this blog series was a conceptual introduction. If you’re interested in learning how to resolve shame and feel understood, all the details and steps are covered in my book Shame Hack. If you want to find out if shame is sabotaging your relationship, success, or happiness, there’s a free shame assessment available on my website

I wish you the best of luck at resolving shame and healing your heart. Each time shame pops up it’s a chance for you to discover what’s in your heart and know yourself more. Self-discovery is a wonderful process. Shame is not a life sentence. You are worth it.

Dolan Maydeda is an author, coach, and chiropractic kinesiologist. He enjoys swimming, cooking, and his family tradition of making mochi. He lives and practices in San Diego, CA. 

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