Talking about this is the only way to stop the shame cycle
by Heather Thatcher
This article takes 8 minutes to read
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We know we do this.
We know other people do this.
But for some reason, when it comes to our self-talk we’ve chosen to selectively forget that we know everyone does this and feel shame because we think we’re the only ones.
What I’m I talking about here?
The fact is that life is imperfect.
I was on a podcast interview the other day and the woman interviewing me had asked some questions about my story, what brought me to where I am today and the mindset shifts I had to make along the way.
So I shared my perfectly imperfect journey, with all the mistakes and nothing held back. We talked about the good, the bad and the ugly.
When I’d finished sharing my story, she said “Oh my gosh, thank you for being so open and talking about your struggles.”
Which my inner Objective Observer found a little funny because I’ve always considered myself a private person. Instagram Stories were a struggle for me because I was like “why would people want to know what I do all day and what I had for breakfast?”
Since 2015 when I started really getting out there on social media and intentionally growing my online business, I realized that I’m kind of the opposite of most people. Sharing the seemingly mundane things like what I eat for breakfast I was uncomfortable with.
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But give me a chance to speak out about my mistakes, my struggles and what I learned from them – I’m an open book.
This may seem a bit strange because sharing that I eat salad for breakfast is much less vulnerable than speaking openly about my imperfections and my mistakes.
I mean, if you give most people the option of getting onto a stage and talking for five minutes about their favorite breakfast foods, or getting on that stage and talking about their personal weaknesses – breakfast usually wins, right?
I’ve done some meditating, journaling and self-reflection around this and I’ve realized that it’s one of my core emotional values that’s behind this.
And that core emotional value is compassion.
Compassion is what will heal our world.
By talking about my mistakes, my imperfections, I see this as a stepping stone to make a difference in the overall compassion that we have for others as well as ourselves.
I’m sure you’ve heard that saying before that we compare our lives to someone else’s social media highlight reel.
We’re much more quick to post our wins and successes on social media than we are to flaunt our mistakes.
This means, though, that our mistakes stay largely hidden from others.
Because not many people talk about or share those imperfect moments, when we make a mistake we’re hit with shame, embarrassment and negative self-talk.
We know that everyone makes mistakes.
But we’ve created this brain-based habit that kicks in when we make a mistake that leads to us feeling alienated from the people around us.
We don’t want to talk about it because subconsciously or consciously we’re worried about how admitting and talking freely about our mistakes will influence how other people see us.
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We protect and hide our mistakes from others as a survival mechanism
I was given the opportunity to give a talk last year around Surviving the Holidays, because that can be a very stressful time for many people.
I shared a story of a dinner event where the group as a whole got swept up in the mistakes of mistimed side dishes and overcooked fish and lost sight of the true meaning of the holidays – sharing in connection and love.
I shared this story because it’s a completely relatable example. We’ve all been there at a dinner event where things are going wrong and we know how easy it is to get caught up in that and not be able to let it go.
But someone who was involved in that dinner event heard about that talk and reached out to me saying that I had humiliated them and everyone else at that dinner event.
The story wasn’t about humiliation – it was about keeping things in perspective.
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Talking freely about our imperfections and mistakes gives others permission to do the same.
Mistakes and imperfections aren’t something that you have to keep continuing to fear.
These are learning opportunities.
You’re not going to be perfect. You’re going to make mistakes.
You’re human, my friend. That’s what being human means!
I’ve been focusing on my personal development for over a decade and I still make mistakes, I still get triggered sometimes and my emotional reactions still get away from me.
The idea isn’t to chase some unrealistic, unattainable vision of perfection!
The idea is to cultivate your self-compassion that will understand and recognize that you’re not going to get it right all the time.
And that’s okay.
I’m going to challenge you to take a brave step today.
I’m asking you to start sharing your mistakes with others.
If we all start sharing the little whoopsies and oopsies that happen in our life, we’re going to start normalizing it.
Admitting that we’re not perfect and that we don’t always hit it out of the park is going to not only keep us from feeling shameful, but it will help others break the shame cycle, too.
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Shame comes from trying to keep something hidden
But what would change for you if you didn’t have to keep these mistakes and imperfections hidden anymore?
What if you trusted yourself and felt confident enough in yourself to speak more openly about the things you hide.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a time and place to share these kinds of things.
Being an assertive communicator doesn’t mean that you share anything and everything to the masses. You’re not always speaking up all the time. That’s not what assertive communication means.
It means that you know how to speak up when you need to, and can be aware of when your Inner Critic is taking over and operating from a place of fear and shame to try and keep you silent.
You’ll also know when it’s just not worth it and be able to let it go easily.
Assertive communication like this is part of pillar four of the Building Resilience Framework and something that we cover extensively in the Mindset Reboot Program that’s going to be opening up very soon.
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In the assertive communication module, that’s where we talk about how exactly to become more assertive which includes assertive communication scripts which are kind of like a recipe for how to speak up for yourself without worrying about your emotions getting the better of you.
However, in order to this you have to take back control from your Inner Critic.
You are not the thoughts your Inner Critic creates based on your previous emotional wounds.
You’re separate from your Inner Critic and you have the ability to agree or disagree with what’s being said.
If you’re thinking “well that sounds great, Heather, but how the heck am I supposed to do that?!?!?! My Inner Critic has been saying these things to me for so long, I don’t know how to break free from that.”
I’ve got you covered.
I am going to be hosting a free 5-day challenge to take back control from your Inner Critic so you can be okay with being imperfect.
You’ll be taking the first steps to being able to dismiss your inner critic.
In fact, everyone that has done these exercises that I’m going to share in this free 5-day Inner Critic challenge notices an immediate change in how their Inner Critic talks to them.
And it’s all in the mindset-based neuroscience and psychology that I’m going to be sharing with you in this free 5-day challenge.
I get it. You’re busy, especially right now with everything being so strange in this time of quarantine.
That’s why I’ve kept each day’s video and action step of the challenge short and sweet and something that will only take you 15 – 20 minutes a day MAX.
The lesson is only 5 minutes long, and the action step will take you between 10 to 15 minutes.
I have been refining this process for years and have streamlined the process of getting this massive shift in your relationship with your Inner Critic in as little time as possible.
If you’d like to learn more information and join the challenge which will be starting very soon, then go to heatherthatcher.com/innercritic to save your seat.
You’ll be shocked at how different your negative self-talk is after just 5 days.
Are you ready to take the first step to becoming an unstoppable force?
See you there.