August 27, 2019

Releasing the Shame in Trauma - Part 4

So far in the series, you’ve discovered more about what shame is and how it can impact our lives. In this final blog of the four-week series, Janine Naus explores how powerful compassion can be in healing shame and shares a simple but powerful strategy to help you be more compassionate.


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How Can Compassion Heal Shame?

Throughout this blog series, we’ve been on a journey of understanding shame and how it can hold you back from healing your grief, getting relief, and moving towards a life of fulfillment and joy. We’ve talked about the effect of shame on our self-care, on the limiting beliefs that make us feel we are not good enough’, and we looked at what shame actually is and how we can move through it, to a place of self-compassion. Once you understand what shame is, you can learn how to care for yourself and begin to treat yourself with the compassion you deserve. Compassion can help you heal your shame. Let’s take a closer look at compassion.


What is compassion?

You may find that treating yourself kindly from a place of love doesn’t come naturally to you and you may wonder why you find it so challenging to be self-compassionate. The trauma we’ve suffered is so commonly the cause of our inability to be compassionate in general, and especially with ourselves.

Well, it’s time to change that.

Every one of us has the wisdom and ability to be self-compassionate. It’s a resource we need to help us accept painful emotions, so that we can heal from our trauma and find inner peace. The greater our pain and suffering, the more we need compassion.

It is a key element in the process of removing your fears and feelings of shame once and for all. Being compassionate means to love, to be kind to and to accept someone or yourself. It is a blessing on your journey to healing and creating a happy, joyous and free life. In my Stop Suffering Now group program, we focus on creating and developing compassion for ourselves and integrating tools to support you every step of the way. It’s important to be kind and caring with yourself as you celebrate your own progress and to also be compassionate, kind and caring with others as well.

HEALING SHAME


Self-compassion heals shame. But, what is it? Being self-compassionate means to love, be kind, and to accept yourself. It’s important on your healing journey to begin to be kind and caring with yourself and to celebrate your progress.

Sure, you may find having self-compassion difficult. You may find that you have a hard time just being nice to yourself. And, usually, we find that the reason we feel this way is a direct result of the trauma we’ve suffered.

One foot in front of the other will help you get started practicing self-compassion, and in doing this, you’ll affect a region of the brain that makes you more sympathetic to another person’s mental and emotional state. You will begin feeling compassion for others – and yourself. Really, it’s true! See when we experience or provide kindness, support, encouragement, and compassion, neurons get reconnected in the brain. In the same way, not experiencing these feelings as a child can leave you feeling unlovable – eventually allowing shame to get stuck in our neural pathways.

With new experiences and practicing compassion and self-compassion, we can begin to grow new neurons and connections in the brain. In other words, you can override that shame memory with goodness you experience today. You can change your life!

Being able to relate with another who has experienced childhood trauma is an important tool for healing. Simply relating and feeling for another is a huge step on this journey. Practicing self-compassion means you will get the strength and empathy that will allow you to connect with others and even reach out for help. In my Stop Suffering Now 4-week group program, I work with trauma survivors who struggle with moving forward. Together, we are able to move past the trauma and into a phase of healing.

THE PROCESS OF SELF-COMPASSION


Here’s a simple truth: You’ve got to start being nice to yourself. Yes, you have been through something horrific. And, yes, it is going to take some time to get over it and that cannot be done until we are ready to feel real emotions...when we’ve made that peaceful connection between what our bodies feel and what our mind tells us. But, guess what? Everyone has been through something. Maybe not like your experience. But every step in life, every hurt, every pain, and every trauma can leave a mark. The better we are at being able to connect with ourselves, the better we are at being able to connect with others, the better chance we will have at healing.


So, give yourself permission to be kind to yourself. When you notice yourself being unkind or critical of yourself, stop and take notice. Then, repeat what you said, turning it from a negative to a positive, reframing what you tell yourself. For example, if you are frustrated with yourself for not getting the help you need, you can tell yourself, “I’m in the process of getting myself the help I need to move forward”.
The trauma of your past is never going to go away. And, trying to simply forget about it is not going to help you with it at all. However, you can heal and move forward. Practice self-compassion in regard to your trauma.

Being kind to yourself and speaking kind words is very healing – even if you are saying them to yourself. In my Stop Suffering Now Program we focus on self-care and begin your journey towards your fulfilling and joyful life.

The benefits of compassion

When you bring compassion to all of life, you’ll be enlightened by a shift in your thinking and well-being. You’ll step into a powerful emotion, as the energy of the feeling of compassion creates a beautiful two-way interaction. In other words, you begin to feel togetherness, rather than feelings of separation or isolation.

Being compassionate with yourself will bring harmony to the relationships you have with yourself and with others. What’s beautiful about compassion is that you can choose to start feeling it right away. But how?

How can we call upon compassion and use it to heal shame?

Here is a simple three-step exercise I often use with my clients to help them move through shame.

1. Think of a shaming experience. It could be from childhood or adulthood. Focus on that feeling. Now think about what you wish someone had said to you immediately after the event occurred. Who was that person? What was it you wanted and needed to hear? Write it down.

2. Now choose a person that you admire. It can be a friend, family member or even someone you’ve never even met. Picture them in your mind, telling you the words you needed to hear. So, for example, in step 1 you chose your mother and she wasn’t supportive or didn’t believe you. In this step, you would replace your mother with your ideal person - let’s say, Oprah. In this step, you are imagining Oprah saying the words you wish your mother had said. You are feeling supported, respected and safe. Visualize the entire scene, just as you wished it had taken place. Hear their soothing voice and their comforting tone. Imagine how supportive and protective they are. If you are in a space where you can say the words aloud to yourself, say it out loud - if not, say it silently. Breathe into this vision and feel it all the way into your heart. How does it feel to hear these words you needed to hear?

3. In this step, again we’ll use the example above. I’d like you to consider the fact that your mother is NOT Oprah. Your mother has different limitations, capabilities, and a history of her own. I’d like you to try to get to a place where you can accept the possibility that your mother did the very best she could.
Practicing this exercise alone is a healing exercise. Crying during this exercise is common, as well as any other emotions that come up. I would love to hear about how you’ve experienced this exercise, and if you’re ready to take action in a supportive and non-judgmental space, I’d love to have a chat with you and see if my foundation program, Stop Suffering Now, is your next best step.

In the program we spend 4 weeks focusing on what I believe you need to know NOW, today, to be able to really move yourself forward and to start seeing real and sustainable change. Consider it a journey toward recovery and relief and start working towards the life of your dreams, the life that you really want and the life you deserve. The journey takes you through the steps necessary from becoming aware to taking action. And in order to be able to take action, I’ve carefully designed the Stop Suffering Now program, comprised of 4 essential pillars: Insight, Impact, Intuition and Integration which I call ‘The Four I’s’.

Insight is about becoming aware of the trauma itself.

The Impact is how the trauma is affecting you in your day-to-day life.

Intuition is about getting to a place where you can learn to really trust yourself again. Where you can really feel into your answers.

And Integration is about taking what you’ve learned and integrating it into your life so that your life changes for the better - that’s the transformation.
Don’t let shame and grief hold you back from the life you want! Schedule a complimentary call with me, find out more about my Stop Suffering Now Program, and start taking the steps towards having the life you really want with a 30-minute Healing Discovery Session call.
Janine Naus is an internationally recognized Grief and Trauma Relief Specialist, Certified Life, Spiritual and Energetic Coach, a Certified Calm, Accepting, Resilient & Empathetic (CARE) Trauma Practitioner and a #1 International Best Selling Author. Janine works with women who are suffering and stuck in grief due to trauma and supports them on their journey to a fulfilling and joyful life.

Janine’s clients benefit from her decades of experience, her broad range of coaching and support tools and her empathetic nature. Her blog posts have garnered thousands of dedicated followers and is a sought after expert on trauma. Janine lives in Chesapeake Beach, MD.

August 20, 2019

Releasing the Shame in Trauma - Part 3

In week three of this four-week series, Janine Naus, shares her personal traumatic experience and gives us insight into how shame shows up in our lives.

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Exploring Shame: A Deeper Dive

In the first two blog posts in this series, we talked about the effect of shame on self-care and on the limiting beliefs that make us feel we are "not good enough". We also discussed how we should turn down the volume on our “shame gremlins”. But before we go any further, I’d like us to pause and focus on what shame actually is and how we can move through it, to a place of self-compassion.


What Is The Most Damaging Emotion?

Is it fear? How about pain? These two emotions are usually assumed to be the most damaging. However, the most damaging emotion can actually be shame. Shame can rip apart your self-image, destroy your sense of worth, and leave you feeling deeply flawed for many, many years.

Shame is a power emotion. And, unfortunately, it’s one that most of us love to bottle up. I know I used to. The deep feelings of shame that I used to feel and hold deep inside impacted my ability to interact with others for decades. As a child, it stunted my interaction with other children, it made me a fearful and painfully shy teenager and well into my adulthood, it destroyed my confidence.

In many ways, it destroyed me.


It took many years for me to be able to share what happened to me. It was just too, too horrifying. I was too young to know how to express what happened or to know how to get the help I so desperately needed. So I held on to my devastating secret and tried to manage the over-sized feelings on my own. 

Years of personal development and a burning desire to overcome the negativity propelled me to find a way through the grief, to be able to stop suffering, to find the relief and to begin to live a fulfilling life. I wanted to thrive. It was during this process that I was able to finally tell my authentic story.

This is the abbreviated version:

When I was 5-years old, several teenage boys tied me up and gagged me. They then proceeded to take turns raping me. Fearing that I would tell someone, one of the boys came back pressed a knife to my throat and held a BB gun to my chest, and he threatened to kill me if I told anyone. I was terrified. I didn’t know the difference between a BB gun or a regular gun. I was in so much pain and even though I was scared to die, part of me wanted to die. After promising that I would not tell anyone, he cut the ropes from around my wrists and freed me.

As a victim of childhood sexual abuse, I held a lot of shame around this horrific experience and I lived with feeling constant fear and concerns for my safety. I believed I was damaged and that nobody would ever be able to really love me. I feared for my life. Before I began thriving, I used to think about those shaming experiences of my childhood – and the pain was so real, it felt as if it was happening in the present moment. Holding on to my horrific secret was getting harder and harder. I was always afraid of being exposed. I never felt worthy. I spent my life trying to hide. I just wanted to be invisible - to disappear.

Do you still feel shameful feelings when you think about your trauma? Do you get that sinking feeling in your stomach when something reminds you of that experience? Do you suddenly feel small, inadequate or even “less than” others? Do you feel embarrassed and simply want to hide?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions - you’re not alone.

Shame from experiences we had in childhood can be triggered in our adult lives. The feelings stay with us, but are just neatly tucked away. Some of us are better at compartmentalizing than others. Then, one day, the picture-perfect life can come tumbling down with something as simple as a thought, a phrase, a song, a store, a smell, or a sound. Something that reminds you of those childhood experiences can appear in your life and in an instant it takes you back to that moment. And, yes, it brings with it the shame.

This can all happen so quickly and you are transported back in time – you feel as though it is happening right now, in this moment, rather than all those years ago.

THIS IS WHAT SHAME CAN DO.

Shame can… make you feel inferior to others, worthless and unlovable. 

Shame can… manifest into self-loathing behavior. 

Shame can… result in self-destructive behavior, such as cutting or hair pulling. 

Shame can… lead to drug and/or substance abuse.

Shame can… end in suicide. 

Shame can… leave you with feelings of self-criticism, self-blame, and self-neglect. 

Shame can… cause you to repeat the cycle of abuse through victim behavior – or abusive behavior. 



The shaming experiences you have been through can feel so overwhelming that it can actually define you – preventing you from reaching your full potential. 


Shame is that powerful. And those of us that were sexually abused in childhood tend to carry the most shame.

So, if you were abused in childhood you tend to carry the most shame. Why?

THE DAMAGED SELF

As humans we naturally want to believe we have control over what happens to us. Even though we experienced this trauma as a child, somehow we still believe we should have been able to protect ourselves. And, because we couldn’t, we feel helpless and powerless. Our powerlessness causes us to feel humiliated and that leads to feelings of shame. What a self-damaging cycle, right?!

Many of us who survived childhood abuse also live in a constant state of self-criticism and self-blame. We may even become overly sensitive to criticism from those around us and try to defend ourselves.

One’s self-criticism can have a pretty powerful inner voice. It can manifest by constantly asking ourselves, “Why me?”

I am very familiar with this voice, are you? You may find that voice constantly berates you for imagined or real mistakes. You may find that you set such high expectations for yourself that you can never be satisfied with any of your achievements. You may even find it difficult when someone compliments you or find it uncomfortable to accept expressions of love or kind comments from others.

For those of us that defend against shame, we are doing so in order to build a protective barrier around ourselves to ward off criticism from others. This can show up as you being critical of others in anticipation of their criticisms of you, refusing to talk about your shortcomings, turning the criticism around on another person, accusing others of lying or even exaggerating about the other person's complaints about you and projecting your shame on others.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Healing will come. But before you can overcome your childhood trauma, learn to provide yourself nurturing, kind, and encouraging words to override any negative chatter.

You can experience feelings of shame and grief while moving through your shame and grief. Shame can affect you for the rest of your life – or until you take the steps to begin the healing process. It can hold you back from a life you love. In my Stop Suffering Now group program, we focus on helping you to move through grief to a place of hope where you can feel excited for the future and learn to trust people (and yourself) once again.

Get on my calendar to schedule your free 30-minute Healing Discovery Session call.

Read Part 2





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Janine Naus is an internationally recognized Grief and Trauma Relief Specialist, Certified Life, Spiritual and Energetic Coach, a Certified Calm, Accepting, Resilient & Empathetic (CARE) Trauma Practitioner and a #1 International Best Selling Author. Janine works with women who are suffering and stuck in grief due to trauma and supports them on their journey to a fulfilling and joyful life.






Janine’s clients benefit from her decades of experience, her broad range of coaching and support tools and her empathetic nature. Her blog posts have garnered thousands of dedicated followers and is a sought after expert on trauma. Janine lives in Chesapeake Beach, MD.

August 13, 2019

Releasing the Shame in Trauma - Part 2

This week, Janine Naus, helps you understand why you feel you’re not good enough and how to turn down the volume of shameful thoughts.

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Why Do I Never Feel That I’m Good Enough?

Welcome back to this blog dedicated to Shame. If you missed the first blog in the series, we talked about shame and the impact it has on self-care. Now that you understand the importance of putting yourself first and you’ve had some time to process and maybe even taken new steps towards your self-care practice, I want to cover a common challenge trauma survivors face - the feeling of never being good enough.

“I am never good enough”

Sound familiar? Are these words that clutter your brain and diminish your power with self-doubt or uncertainty? This negative self-talk and the feeling associated makes you question whether you have what it takes to reach your life goals and desires. As trauma survivors, we’ve all been there.

We’ve all experienced intense feelings of inadequacy and diminished self worth. It can feel like a big wall stopping us from where we want to go.

We need to get to the bottom of this in order to help you move out of this negative space. We need to ask the WHY questions...Why are you not good enough? Or better worded, why do you think you’re not good enough?

Here’s a strategy I use with my clients when they are in this dark place. Think of what it is you believe you’re not good enough to do. Become aware of the specific words you are using to tell yourself you are not good enough. Identify what words that you use to hold yourself back from joy and fulfillment. I’d like you to give those words - those thoughts - a name. I call them “shame gremlins.” Now, picture this gremlin as a ridiculous and fictitious character in a movie you are watching. Hear this ridiculous and fictitious shame gremlin speak the words that hold you back. Words like “you’re not confident enough,” “remember what happened last time you tried this” and “I’m not that kind of person.” When you can see and hear how ridiculous and obvious this imaginary shame gremlin looks and sounds, as if you are watching a movie, it can really help to diffuse the moment. The next time one of your shame gremlins pop up, you can just see them for what they are - ridiculous and fictitious...an imagined annoyance. As a matter of fact, you can tell those ridiculous and fictitious gremlins that they are not being helpful. They aren’t useful, so you don’t need them showing up anymore.

Our shame gremlins remind us of childhood traumas, past failures and those limiting beliefs that we were once taught by those around us. But imagine what could happen for you when you quiet down your gremlins, turn down their volume and power ourselves up? That is the journey you need to embark on now.

When Do You Feel Not Good Enough?

This feeling and statement comes from your unconscious ego, which manifests from not feeling worthy. This feeling can come up when something good is happening, is about to happen, or may happen...or conversely, when something bad is happening, is about to happen, or may happen. Notice that it is tied to feelings of good and bad. This is about what you believe you deserve. You do not believe that you are worthy of being, having or doing something good, because you do not believe you are good enough.

How To Start Feeling Good Enough


Again, I’d like you to try a WHY exercise to help you in the moment. Ask yourself, is this really true? For example, let’s say your shame gremlin is telling you that you are the worst mom in the world. Ask yourself, am I really the worst mom in the world? If possible, if you are in a room by yourself, ask yourself this question out loud. By doing this it will help you see that it is not true. Invalidating these shame gremlins is really important in your process to stop them in their tracks. Maybe they are saying that you could never have a loving relationship. Is that true? Never? With all of the people on this planet, is it IMPOSSIBLE? No, in fact, you can take steps that will make it very probable. What would those steps look like? What could you get started on today? Do you see how asking yourself this question takes you down a different, and more hopeful path? Try using this simple and quick strategy to eradicate those false beliefs that you’re not good enough. This will also help you to let go of unhelpful, false thoughts that do not serve you.

The Power Our Thoughts Hold


Our thoughts hold our power. That power is evident when we choose to give power to positive or negative beliefs. The more we hold onto our thoughts, the truer they feel to us, because we become so accustomed to thinking these thoughts that they actually begin to feel real. It is just as easy to give our attention and focus to positive thoughts, and the same principle applies. The more you hold onto positive thoughts, the truer they’ll feel. That’s why I encourage you to use the strategies above to move from a negative thought to a more positive and hopeful thought. Keep doing that and soon these more positive thoughts will feel real to you. I also suggest that you practice witnessing your thoughts and choosing whether to believe them.

Next Time
Everyone, at some point, has not felt good enough. Remember you are not your thoughts. You can change your thoughts and your beliefs. Next time, we take a deeper dive into what shame is, what it can do to us and how we can heal from it.

Shame can hold you back from a life you love. In my Stop Suffering Now group program, we focus on helping you to move through grief to a place of hope where you can feel excited for the future and learn to trust people (and yourself) once again.

Get on my calendar to schedule your free 30-minute Healing Discovery Session call.

Read Part 1


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Janine Naus is an internationally recognized Grief and Trauma Relief Specialist, Certified Life, Spiritual and Energetic Coach, a Certified Calm, Accepting, Resilient & Empathetic (CARE) Trauma Practitioner and a #1 International Best Selling Author. Janine works with women who are suffering and stuck in grief due to trauma and supports them on their journey to a fulfilling and joyful life.

Janine’s clients benefit from her decades of experience, her broad range of coaching and support tools and her empathetic nature. Her blog posts have garnered thousands of dedicated followers and is a sought after expert on trauma. Janine lives in Chesapeake Beach, MD.

August 6, 2019

Releasing the Shame in Trauma - Part 1

In week one of this four-week series, Janine Naus, explains how shame can hold us back. She also shares how putting yourself first can create a happier life, through the art of self-care.

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Thank you for joining me for this life changing blog series. I’m Janine Naus and I am a Grief and Trauma Relief Spiritual Life Coach. I support women in grief due to trauma so they can stop suffering and be able to more easily navigate their healing process. In this blog series, we will explore shame and its effect on our lives. As a trauma survivor myself, feeling shame has played a huge role throughout my life. Unfortunately, we often don’t talk about shame which is one of the main reasons it festers and grows. Since overcoming my feelings of shame I’ve made it my mission and passion in life to help others stop suffering. I give you the tools and support you need so you can begin to move towards living a life of joy and peace.
Throughout this blog series, we’ll talk about shame, how it impacts our world and how we can use it to transform our lives. So let’s go ahead and start:
How Does Shame Impact Self-Care?
Trauma survivors are all too familiar with feelings of shame. If we want to take steps where we practice self-care, we must move away from shame and towards self-love. Those who routinely perform self-care also feel worthy and valuable. This means self-care and self-worth are intricately connected.
What is Self-Care?

Self-care is exactly what it sounds like - taking care of yourself. This can and does mean different things to different people.  I break down self-care into two categories, primary and secondary. Within primary would be basic hygiene and life maintenance. For example: 

      Bathing,
      Washing your hair,
      Brushing your teeth,
      Getting restorative sleep,
      Nourishing your body,
      Incorporating fitness into your life,
      Attending regular doctor visits, and
      Keeping your home and belongings clean and in good repair, etc.  

The secondary category would include things like:
 
      Self-soothing rituals such as journaling or meditating,
      Creating time for rest and reflection,
      Taking time off for vacation, as well as other self-care activities like massages, manicures, reiki, etc. 

For many survivors, self-care falls by the wayside because of how well you care for yourself is largely determined by your health and mental well-being. When stuck in the cycle of shame, our health and well-being suffer dramatically. Conversely, when you’re ready to stop suffering and start living a life of fulfillment, clarity, ease, gratitude and joy, you are inherently committing to self-care. If feelings of shame overcome us, we don’t feel like taking care of ourselves, so how do we move out of this cycle?

How To Put Yourself First

Put the oxygen mask on yourself first – then you can help others.” When you fly on an airplane, the flight attendant provides this safety warning before each flight. What a great metaphor for self-care!

It's in a woman’s nature to take care of others, to be selfless, to give. If we get so busy putting others first then we’ll forget about ourselves. In fact, caring for you is essential when healing from trauma. You are your own healer. Until we take self-care seriously, we’re unable to take care of others.



The first step is in understanding that performing self-care will help us move through shame. It is essential to perform self-care, even if you don’t feel like it or don’t feel that you deserve it or it makes you feel ‘selfish’ when it comes to self-care. Remember that giving yourself time for self-care isn’t selfish - it's an act of self-love. You are responsible for your life and taking care of yourself.

When you are in your flow, you’re in your ‘now’ moment, which is your authentic self. This happens when you put yourself first, activating energies of self-love, self-appreciation and honoring yourself.

Know that it is possible to move through and overcome your feelings of shame. 

There are 4 steps that will help you to move through shame and build your resilience:  

1.     Practice self-care
2.     Understand what triggers feelings of shame for you
3.     Develop positive strategies for processing and coping with triggers
4.     Don’t allow shame to flourish by keeping secrets - share your story with a trusted person in a safe environment

The last point really resonates with me. Shame grows with secrets, silence and judgment.  And according to vulnerability researcher and author of 5 New York Times Bestsellers, Dr. BrenĂ© Brown, empathy is shame’s antidote. One strategy you can use to increase empathy is to treat yourself like you’d treat someone you love. Be aware of how you treat yourself and make the positive switch in your everyday life.

What Happens Next?

Well, in the next blog in this series about shame, we’ll look at how shame can make us feel like we’re not good enough in life.  See you there!


Shame is just one of the topics covered in my Stop Suffering Now group program.  If you’re ready to stop suffering now and start feeling relief, I invite you to a complimentary 30-minute call to see if Stop Suffering Now is the right next step for you. 




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Janine Naus is an internationally recognized Grief and Trauma Relief Specialist, Certified Life, Spiritual and Energetic Coach, a Certified Calm, Accepting, Resilient & Empathetic (CARE) Trauma Practitioner and a #1 International Best Selling Author. Janine works with women who are suffering and stuck in grief due to trauma and supports them on their journey to a fulfilling and joyful life.

Janine’s clients benefit from her decades of experience, her broad range of coaching and support tools and her empathetic nature. Her blog posts have garnered thousands of dedicated followers and is a sought after expert on trauma. Janine lives in Chesapeake Beach, MD.

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