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. 

May 22, 2018

One Man's Journey of Healing Shame - Part 3

This week, Dolan continues his series and explores how we can make shame our friend.


What? Dolan are you crazy? Why would I make shame my friend? Shame is so painful. It doesn’t have anything constructive to say. I hear you. But hang on, hear me out on this. Yes shame is painful. It hurts. But shame has more to offer you than just pain.

Shame has the ability to direct you to where your heart needs healing. The trick is to move past what shame is telling you and look to what’s driving it. Often times what’s driving shame is a truth that you don’t know about yourself.

For example, you go on a first date with someone who is really attractive. In fact, this person is without a doubt the best looking person you’ve ever dated. He’s a real head turner. On top of this, he’s so kind, smart and successful. After a delightful first date, you text and don’t hear back. When a person is shame based the immediate reaction is to take the silence personally. Shame gets triggered, and in this case, feelings of unworthiness spring up. You feel unworthy.

You feel shame and you make it mean you’re unworthy. While intellectually you may realize you are worthy, you just don’t feel that way deep down. Now you have a chance to discover what feeling unworthy is all about. What is driving the shame? What lies beneath feeling unworthy? What don’t you know about yourself deep down?

In my experience, I never had a lot of success with affirmations. I could tell myself I am worthy ten times a day for 2 weeks and I still would feel unworthy. I also spent time in therapy both individual and group. I’ve meditated and journaled. All of these modalities were helpful. But my shame continued.

What finally worked for me is discovering a personal truth. When you discover a personal truth that resonates with your heart, you fill that hole in your heart. This is how you find the meaning in your shame. This is why the truth works. You feel it. You feel it in your heart. Your truth isn’t something that you’re trying to talk yourself into. Feeling the truth is what lets you know for sure.

Let’s go back to the example of feeling unworthy. You feel shame and you make it mean you’re unworthy. You’ve already begun the process of transforming shame. You’re feeling your feelings, but now let’s add a twist.

Here’s an example: 

Think, what don’t you know about yourself that’s driving you to feel unworthy? Allow yourself to feel. Then ask yourself do I need to know I am loved? Then feel. Does loved resonate? Yes or no, is that what you need to know? If no, then go on to another word. I feel all this shame and unworthiness because I need to know I am precious? Then feel. Does precious resonate? Is that what you need to know? If yes, then that is what you need to know. You need to know "I am precious." This is your truth. 

You’ve been feeling unworthy and acting accordingly because deep down you didn’t know you were precious. And now you do. Now you know the truth. I am precious. You can feel it, when you never could feel it before. Allow the truth to settle in and grow inside you. Allow the truth to fill a hole in your heart.

When you learn how to resolve and transform shame, shame can become your friend. You can use shame to learn about places in your heart that hurt. You still may not love shame. Shame may never be your BFF. But shame can serve as that friend that is honest with you. It can be the friend that tells you the truth. Shame is the kind of friend that tells you your breath smells bad. Information you might not want to hear, but it’s good to know. We can all use a friend that’s plainly honest with us. 

Read Part 4

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. 

May 15, 2018

One Man's Journey of Healing Shame - Part 2

This week, Dolan continues his series and explores how we can transform shame by connecting to it's meaning or purpose in our lives.


When I first heard my therapist gently tell me, "Dolan, you are shamed to the core," I didn’t know how to react. What does that mean? It felt so disturbing. I didn’t like how it sounded, but it felt true.

What does shamed to the core mean? It means that shame goes all the way deep down to your core. Shame influences your core beliefs about yourself. It may mean you think, feel and believe you’re unlovable. Or it may mean you think, feel and believe you’re unworthy. Of course neither one of these are true. It just feels that way when you are shamed to the core.

I was shamed to the core. I thought very little of myself. This had many ripple effects. Shamed to the core could cross the line to self-loathing which was not good. But strangely, in this weird sort of way, self-loathing seemed right. A perverted sense of justice. Since I was unworthy, I didn’t deserve love. I deserved contempt. Shamed to the core made self-compassion and self-love difficult to give to myself.

One of the common themes in my therapy was to feel my feelings. When I started ,I didn’t even know what that meant. But I eventually learned. I trusted my therapist; I was willing to feel my feelings. She encouraged me to feel my pain and shame. That’s not really what I wanted to do. What I wanted was my pain and shame to stop. But after over 30 plus years of trying it my way without success, I decided to try her way.

Learning to feel my feelings had benefits. I learned I didn’t have to fear my feelings like I once did. I learned how to identify my feelings, which was helpful. But feeling my feelings never made my shame go away.

I had this idea in my mind, that if I could just get to the root of my shame, if I could just feel it deeply enough, I could get rid of it once and for all. So I kept feeling my shame, again and again, always trying to go deeper. 

One inspired day while reading some metaphysics, the author said that even single celled organisms had some form of consciousness. That inspired a thought. I wondered if I could feel shame all the way down in my cells.

I closed the windows and drew the blinds. I laid down on my bed and quieted my mind. I closed my eyes and became still. I was trying to feel as deeply as I could, all the way down to my cells I was feeling deeper and deeper. Bam! There it was. I felt shame in my cells. This disturbed me. WTF? My first thought was, I’m screwed. I’m never going to escape shame. What does that mean? Then I took a few breaths and collected myself. My next thought was I wonder if shame goes even further. I wonder if there is shame in my cell’s nucleus.

Again, I calmed my mind and lay still, feeling as deeply as I could. Slowly, slowly feeling. Slowing my heart rate and my breathing. Then boom! There it was. Shame was in my DNA. I couldn’t believe it. But this time I didn’t feel disturbed. I was curious. Shame in my DNA, hmm. What does that mean? I pondered the idea. Well, if shame is in my DNA, then it means it’s not my fault. It’s not my fault I feel shame. I have no control over it. Just like I have no control over my eye color, skin color, or height. It’s in my DNA. It’s not my fault. I’m normal. Whew, what a relief!

Shame is a normal human emotion. Everyone feels shame. But people just don’t go around talking about it. This is what makes shame tricky. There are so few models on how to deal with it successfully.

Realizing that shame was in my DNA, I began to change how I thought about shame. Getting to the bottom of it and being done with it once and for all wasn’t an option. I needed to learn how to resolve the shame.

It wasn’t till I read the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl that I found the missing piece. This book tells Frankl’s story about surviving multiple Nazi death camps. In his book Frankl writes, "Suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning."

This was the key. This was the missing piece. I considered feeling shame to be suffering. So I needed to find the meaning in my shame if I wanted it to stop. 

As soon as I learned to find the meaning in feeling shame, the shame stopped. It was surreal and surprising. It is not only possible for shame to stop, it is a shock and an immense relief when it does.

Read Part 3

Dolan Mayeda 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. 

May 8, 2018

One Man's Journey of Healing Shame - Part 1

This week, I am thrilled to introduce you to Dolan Mayeda, who in addition to being a chiropractic kinesiologist, author and coach living in San Diego, is also a Comment Moderator for the Healing from Sexual Abuse Facebook Group

This month, he will be sharing his journey in understanding and healing shame. He's even written a book about it called Shame Hack. The book describes the process by which we can transform shame from a place of hurt to a place of healing. 


I’d like to begin by sharing a little bit about myself. I’m a child sexual abuse survivor. I can’t recall the exact age. But I believe I was in the third grade. It was a one-time event from a neighborhood kid down the street. And it messed me up.

I’m third generation Japanese American depending on when you start counting. I start with my grandfather who immigrated and consider him first generation. I grew in a Japanese culture. One of the few Japanese words I learned growing up was bachi. Bachi as I understood the word means you get what you deserve. 

When my parents explained bachi to me they would said, "If you play with fire and you get burned, you deserve it." Thus if bad things happened to me, I thought I deserved it. If I thought very little of myself, I thought that was right. I had circular thinking as a child. I’m bad. Something bad happens to me. I feel bad. I deserve it. And around the thoughts go.

I’m a sensitive person by nature. I feel deeply and am quite observant. Growing up being sensitive sucked. It was just too easy to get my feelings hurt. So I learned to shut them down. Now, as an adult I’ve learned that being sensitive is truly a gift. It allows me to connect with people at a heart level, which is something I truly enjoy.

I’ve had plenty of shame to deal with. I was molested, raised in a shame influenced culture, and have a sensitive nature. I share this with you so that you know that I know what it is to feel shame. In fact, I’d say I was shamed to the core. I’ll talk about being shamed to the core in the next post.

For now, let’s just talk about shame. There are so many different experiences and triggers for shame. For our discussion, I’m going to keep it simple and talk about shame as a feeling only. Yes shame can be far more complex with branches and interwoven pieces from a psycho-social-cultural model. But let’s keep it something we all can relate to. How it feels.

When I speak of shame I am talking about the painful feeling of not being enough. This feeling of not being enough comes in many flavors. Shame can feel like you are: unworthy, unlovable, you don’t belong, you’re the only one, you’re broken, there’s something wrong with you.

Let’s break a couple of these down. You feel unworthy. You are not enough to be worthy. It’s not that you ARE unworthy. You just feel that way. And this is what shame feels like. Here’s another. You feel unlovable. You are not unlovable. You feel shame.

This is what makes shame so tricky. You identify with the feeling. With shame it’s not that you feel bad. You ARE bad. You identify with being bad. You feel unworthy, which is shame. So you believe that you are. Why? Because it feels so true. Here’s another factor. If you feel emotions intensely, then when you feel unworthy, you feel intensely unworthy. It feels that much more true. Of course, you are not unworthy. You just feel that way at an intense and perhaps deep level. Perhaps you feel shame to the core. 

There’s good news if you feel shame the core. It means that you can feel to the core. If you can feel to the core, you can feel love to the core. Or joy to the core. Or meaning to the core. Shame is not a life sentence. Shame is a feeling. A feeling that can transform how you experience yourself.

One of the first steps to learn when you begin to resolve shame is to identify it. When you feel unworthy, unlovable or like you’re the only one, realize that you feel shame. Realizing you feel shame puts you in a position to begin to transform it, versus believing what shame is telling you. This is crucial. This changes your position from identifying with shame (i.e., I am unworthy) to realizing you are having feelings. This is a powerful beginning.

Read Part 2!
Dolan Mayeda 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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