The totally illogical shame cycle

A fellow Ruckusmaker wrote a blog post titled “The Totally Illogical Shame Cycle” that really resonated with me.

She discussed how humans are irrational; we are easily distracted and let our fear prevent us from pursuing our goals.

It’s easy to abandon goals and its large in part due to the ‘Totally Illogical Shame Cycle.’

“It goes like this:

  1. We didn’t meet our goal.
  2. So we feel shame for not meeting our goal.
  3. So we don’t choose another goal.
  4. So we feel more shame for sitting idle.”

Tamara points out that in this cycle, it can become easy to sit idle for so long that we forget what it’s like to actually be making progress on something — and that’s a real shame because we were born to follow our dreams and pursue our passions. 

To help prevent your shame from getting in the way of working on your goals, Tamara recommends trying four things:

  • Seek empathy: Use your trustworthy friends as a sounding board. It’s comforting sharing your feelings and struggles with others because you usually find out that you’re not alone; that’s an incredible reminder to get when you’re feeling ashamed because it helps stop the pity party. Empathy helps you get back on your feet and that’s crucial because there’s no room for pity parties when you’re working towards greatness. 
  • Use visuals: I’ve always been a big fan of to-do lists because they help motivate me to accomplish my goals. I love crossing things off lists. “When you have reminders of where you’re headed and how much you’ve done so far, it somehow seems easier to just do one more step,” shares Tamara.
  • Reflect: In order to move forward, you have to know where you’ve been. Reflecting on your past mistakes and successes helps give you confidence in taking steps towards your goal. 
  • Find your teachers: My personal favorite are Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington and Pema Chödron. Find people you admire who make you feel inspired, happy, thoughtful and brave. 

“It all comes down to being kind to yourself. No one really has it all figured out – even when they really really seem like they do. We’re all just works in progress,” shared Tamara. 

I couldn’t agree more

It’s easy to forget to pat yourself on the back for progress. 

So, the next time you find yourself going down the shame cycle, try to treat yourself in that moment with an extraordinary amount of compassion, patience and kindness. 

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