Lighten Your Load: Letting Go Of Shame


Think about your last mistake, and you probably remember it quite well. Is there a feeling that comes with the memory, a little queasy sensation in your stomach that makes you fold up, shrink inward a bit? Did your shoulders rise to your ear, and did you feel like saying, “Ewww…” There is a mind/body connection that manifests our emotions physically, amplifying the effects of our feelings.

That queasiness and shoulder hunch?  Your body is registering shame, a sensation that makes you want to pull inward and away from the memory, hiding from the feeling.

Shame Weighs You Down

When we experience mistakes or failures, it’s a negative, visceral feeling. We physically feel ill, edgy, or anxious. It’s extremely uncomfortable to feel this way, therefore we shirk from thinking about anything to do with the experience.

While it’s normal to avoid the things that make us uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous. The problem or situation doesn’t go away. Shirking away only works short-term; it’s a place-holder until you address and fix the issue. Whatever it is, whether it’s a responsibility or a consequence that you shirk, pushing it away only makes it worse.

If you stay in your hiding place too long, you risk never coming out again and feeling permanently stuck there. Shame will keep you stuck, hold you back, and weigh you down.

So gather yourself, take a deep breath, steady your feet, and face that thing. Head-on, fully, and directly confront those feelings that make you want to hide. It’s the only way to move forward.

Face-off With Negativity

Scared you now, right? It’s okay! You’re starting to peek at your darkest place. I’m going there with you. We all feel that way at one time, and the first step away from these dark places is recognizing that everyone experiences this at one point—Especially entrepreneurs!

We skewer ourselves with the mantra, “I’m a failure!” any time something goes wrong until we learn that failure comes with the territory and it’s not the end of the line. It takes time to see success as a process, a series of steps that includes failures, and to realize that failure is like a bump in a very long road.

Work To Fix It and Feel Better

What made you shirk? Was it a lack of financial responsibility, a challenging you avoided, or a mistake you must own?  We can face these or anything with the next step, repairing the situation.

A tagline from a superglue commercial is, “Fix it and forget about it.” Once you begin to work toward fixing the situation, then you will be able to let go of the shame. Start now to fix your finances; look for a new challenge to tackle; acknowledge and ask for a second chance for that mistake—move away from the dark place shame sent you through actionable steps.

Strength in Numbers

These are not easy steps to take, particularly if shame has taken hold and weighed you down. Don’t fret alone! You may not have a defined support network, but one exists. Colleagues, coaches, friends, or anyone who supports you are resources to help you find ideas to fix the problem or work with you to spell out steps to take and fix the situation. Engage these resources further! Your support network are people who want to help and genuinely care about your success.

Focus on Success

Now, recall the feeling of a recent success. Did you feel big emotions, giddiness and joy? Were you full of energy and ready to take on the world? When you address the shame and work it out, these are the feelings that await. It is truly a success to overcome the negativity that holds us back. Unload the shame and lift yourself up so that you can get to your next success – or failure. Reach out if you need help identifying or removing shame from your business.