Many clients come to me feeling down. They are in a rut of sorts. Some feel angry because they are in a funk and they do not know how to deal with it. They often feel the world and all its ugliness (failure with online dating, dealing with an unhappy marriage, mindless work, ongoing work anxiety, lack of deep friendships, dealing with existentialism ) is all happening TO them. When in fact, it is all happening for them, because it is your body leading you to get help.

What do I mean about life happening to them? This perspective of life is what is causing them so much distress. When you feel you have no control over your life you would feel hopeless, but you would also feel shame.

Why shame? Because shame also comes with a whole lot of ‘I shoulds’. It is normal to have a few thought loops going around in your head on any given day using the words ‘ I should’ but if it is constant and self-deprecating, that is when you should speak to a professional.

Because at the end of the day – you must respond to the ‘I shoulds’ with ‘Says who?’

A parent? A friend? Your partner? Are they telling you ‘ You should’?

You must realize that every person on this earth behaves the way they do because it makes sense to them. Otherwise, they wouldn’t do it. And every person on this earth behaves the way they do because of their past experiences. You have certain biases around money, food, sexuality, intimacy, religion, and so on. You think and behave according to some genetic traits, but mainly those experiences. The world in that sense (parents, friends, travel, partners, foods, school, trauma, celebrations) has shaped you in a way that makes you extremely unique.

Yes, you are your own special snowflake, just like gramma said when you were 2.5 years old.

So…why then are you telling yourself you ‘should’. If you are extremely unique – in all that you do, why…why, why, why, why, why, why…are you telling yourself YOU SHOULD…

Remember that guilt and shame are entirely different beasts. Guilt is felt due to an action (you ate the last cookie even though you told your wife you have no idea where it went). Shame on the other hand is felt towards yourself as an individual. You, yourself are shameful. You feel you are a horrible person like you don’t deserve to breathe the air you do.

If you feel shame, you must tell yourself:

  • You are human, and humans make mistakes

  • If you feel regret over something you did or said, you always have the option to say sorry and ask for forgiveness. Expression of feelings is key to self-acceptance

  • You can have a conversation with God and ask for his guidance and forgiveness

  • Mistakes plant seeds for growth and growth is life; this is exciting, new and full of potential

  • You are not the same person yesterday as you are today, every day is new and different and because of this – life becomes energy-begetting, not draining

  • Reaching out by becoming interested in other people, ask yourself, why do they behave the way they do? You want to become curious about people, rather than compare yourself to others. Curiosity breeds not only acceptance of others but acceptance of yourself.

I love C words because there are so many that are related to human interaction:

Communicate, Conversation, Curiosity (get curious rather than judge), Compassion (realize we are all human and maybe you just need a little help from a friend, therapist, mindset coach or mentor – if you don’t have the awareness, how would you be able to change?), Consciousness (being present), Culture (building a culture of acceptance).

Remember, all the C words from above should be used with yourself, not just others. Have a conversation with yourself and be compassionate to the child within (your inner child). You wouldn’t shame your child, so why shame yourself?