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  1. #1
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Default Thoughts on Shame

    I was driving home today and thinking, reflecting, on social anxiety. I used to think that I could "outrun" my social anxiety by being really active and engaging, but that just leaves me feeling exhausted. Likewise, I used to think I could suppress my anxiety if I avoided certain thoughts and maintained certain positive perceptions of myself, not letting myself slip up. This too leaves me feeling detached from myself.

    It occurred to me a couple weeks ago that I have been engaged in war with myself, trying to conquer a part of my personality rather than embrace it. On a deep intuitive level, I can see the end of social anxiety, but it doesn't have to do with making the thoughts go away, but rather with changing the way I interface with those thoughts and feelings, not getting too wrapped up in the experience and instead letting it come and go.

    But this is hard to do, and I think this has to do with shame. Shame makes the experience hurt a lot, and that makes it difficult to STOP trying to resist it. So, we get to shame.

    I'm interested in what people think about shame, how to overcome it, what has practically worked, and what they think would work in theory, but feel free to post whatever ideas you have on it too.

  2. #2
    Senior Member zago's Avatar
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    But aren't you trying to conquer the part of yourself that tries to conquer a part of your personality? Who knows, maybe that's why there is still shame. There definitely seems to be some thought-layering going on here...

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    The past is haunting. Now and then I think of something "ill-conceived" I did years ago, and get bent out of shape. The only way I could think to avoid it would be never to reflect, simply by being otherwise occupied all the time, but that's difficult.

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    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    I read a book about 15 years ago that was absolutely instrumental in helping me with shame. I heartily recommend it to you. I found a hardcover copy recently for under $10 through bookfinder.com.
    Amazon.com: Facing Shame by Fossum and Mason

  5. #5
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    But aren't you trying to conquer the part of yourself that tries to conquer a part of your personality? Who knows, maybe that's why there is still shame. There definitely seems to be some thought-layering going on here...
    I think you're right. I haven't worked it out completely. Sometimes trying to work out all the layers ends up being a little paralyzing. There are some points I just say I can't play this consistency game anymore. But hm... is this one of those?

    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post
    I read a book about 15 years ago that was absolutely instrumental in helping me with shame. I heartily recommend it to you. I found a hardcover copy recently for under $10 through bookfinder.com.
    Amazon.com: Facing Shame by Fossum and Mason
    Thanks, I'll check it out. I remember something you said about the grieving process a little while ago that clicked with me only last week. We seem to work things out similarly.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    I think you're right. I haven't worked it out completely. Sometimes trying to work out all the layers ends up being a little paralyzing. There are some points I just say I can't play this consistency game anymore. But hm... is this one of those?
    What is this "consistency game" ?

  7. #7
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zago View Post
    What is this "consistency game" ?
    For instance, when you sit to meditate, thinking: okay, I'm going to try and [do anything] but wait, I'm not supposed to try... but wait! now I'm trying to not try... oh fuck.

  8. #8

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    I think shame is valuable and has been hectored into disfavor by the "I'm okay, you're okay" wave of psychology. Shame used to keep people on the right path, but it's been eclipsed by the worship of the god of baseless self-esteem.
    Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

    Johari
    /Nohari

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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    I think shame is valuable and has been hectored into disfavor by the "I'm okay, you're okay" wave of psychology. Shame used to keep people on the right path, but it's been eclipsed by the worship of the god of baseless self-esteem.
    I wish I had said that, but alas, no.

  10. #10
    Senior Member zago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    For instance, when you sit to meditate, thinking: okay, I'm going to try and [do anything] but wait, I'm not supposed to try... but wait! now I'm trying to not try... oh fuck.
    Lol yeah. I definitely ran into that when I meditated. Except it would usually be searching for signs. "Does this mean I've made progress?" I would ask myself, every time I experienced something.

    I dunno. I can only tell you what's worked for me, and that is silence. Someone once said "look for the space between thoughts" so I did. I sustained it for a while, maybe an hour. Every time I had a thought, I stopped it and went back to the silence. It's kind of like meditation I guess, but you don't have to focus on anything--just don't follow anything. If you have a thought of shame, no matter how much it seems like it can be resolved, just go back to the space between thoughts, whatever that is. I didn't like this space at first, it was eerily silent and I felt somehow dumb for not using my brain to think. I actually didn't return to it for a month or so. At that time, I was trying to deny all authority, and I found that I absolutely could not. That's why I decided that shutting up my mind, no matter how boring and disappointing it was, was a better alternative than trying to figure something out. When I'm trying to figure something out, I always look for verification from outside sources, or signs that I'm right. In silence, nothing needs to be verified, and there is no authority. Things just are. Nothing can be missing, because even if you feel like something is missing, that feeling fills you.

    Something about that. I see beliefs as the enemy. Let go and let God. There is nothing like a quiet mind. At first it sucks. You realize that you had all sorts of fantasies and they were all just that, fantasies, and that this is actually all there is. Disappointing as hell. And it seems like there is nothing to do! I dunno. There are things you have to do, though, to survive and shit, so eventually you realize that it isn't so bad.

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