How to free yourself from shame and be seen in a noisy world
– And stop wearing the mask of acceptability
Do you ever feel you’re hiding your true self from the world? Do you frequently wear a mask to shield yourself from criticism or rejection?
Before answering no, step back and think about it. Are you truly showing up without the mask of acceptability? If you are, I’m pleased for you. Based on my experience as a coach, I’ve observed that wearing a mask is common, even if we’re not aware of it. Why?
Shame is a powerful and complex emotion. It hides in the corners of our minds, making us think our authentic self is not acceptable. This deeply rooted fear of not being liked or accepted then causes the real you to hide, resulting in self-imposed exile. But here’s the truth: you are not alone in feeling this way.
I spent the first half of my life struggling with shame. Only when I owned, faced, and worked through it did I overcome it. It’s what has made me passionate about helping people connect with their Purpose, Vision & Mission.
The Impact of Shame
Shame is the single biggest cause of failure to make the connection between our true self and our purpose. The result is a lack of fulfilment. If you are grappling with the same sense of unworthiness, it’s time to give your shame notice to quit.
Shame has been a topic of interest in psychology and psychotherapy for years. Freud’s belief was that shame is linked to feelings of inadequacy or guilt. Jung and Erikson, who coined the term ‘identity crisis’, expanded our understanding of how people develop their moral values and sense of self.
Here are seven keys to ending your shame.
Understanding the role of the Mask: It’s the fear that who we are at our core is flawed and unworthy of love and acceptance. We wear this mask because we believe it protects us from judgment and criticism. In reality, it only traps us in a cycle of frustration and unfulfilled dreams.
Identifying the Roots of Shame: As discussed in my previous post, shame often originates from early experiences, such as childhood trauma, neglect, or perceived criticism. These experiences plant the seeds of self-doubt, making us believe we are not good enough. Over time, this internalised shame becomes a barrier to living an authentic life.
Unmasking Your True Self: The first step to overcoming shame and unmask your true self is to acknowledge it. By recognising you are not alone in feeling this way, you can begin to dismantle the walls you’ve built around your authentic self.
Building Self-Compassion: Shame thrives on self-criticism and self-judgment. To overcome it, you must learn to practise self-compassion. Be kind to yourself and recognise your imperfections make you uniquely human. Self-compassion enables you to embrace your true self, flaws and gifts alike. This is also the key to overcoming so called “Imposter Syndrome”
Vulnerability and Authenticity: Embracing vulnerability is a crucial part of unmasking your true self. It takes courage to be authentic, knowing the world might not always respond positively. But it’s in those moments of vulnerability that we connect with others on a deep,
meaningful level. It’s where genuine relationships and fulfilment are born.
Letting Go of Secrecy: I’ve said this many times but, shame needs the oxygen of secrecy to survive. The more you keep your true self hidden, the more power shame has over you. Begin by sharing your authentic self with trusted friends, family, or a therapist to
release the grip of secrecy. People generally respond with empathy and understanding, challenging the belief that the world won’t accept the authentic you.
Reclaiming Your Power: As you unmask your true self and let go of the shame that is holding you back, you’ll discover your unique gifts and talents. You are not flawed; you are a work in progress, like everyone else. Embrace your authenticity and watch as you come alive in ways you never thought possible.
Remember, taking away the oxygen of secrecy is the key to freeing yourself from shame and stepping into the light of your true self. You are a unique gift to the world, and it’s time to share your authentic self. By doing so, you’ll not only find the fulfilment you seek but also inspire others to do the same.
The inherent nature of shame presents a challenge, as your protective mind may resist in the belief it’s keeping you safe. It’s why I suggest beginning with trusted friends, family, an experienced therapist, or coach. It can be challenging but is exceptionally rewarding.
The world needs your unique gifts like never before. It’s time to unmask, be vulnerable, and let your light shine brilliantly — the world is longing to embrace the real you.