How Two Word Changes Allowed Me To Let Go Of Shame
When I first started my own wounded healer work, everything was either right, or it was wrong. Well, not really, but I was labeling myself as wrong or bad at every step. That’s the definition of shame.
I had no idea how much shame ruled me until I really started looking at the language I used to put myself down. And then I came to realize that the language itself is shaming.
Getting rid of the moral judgment
If you do something “wrong” or “bad” there is also a moral judgment that goes along with that. It’s very easy to take the next step and label yourself as wrong or bad.
Two new word pairs
My teacher suggested I write cards that said “skillful/unskillful” and “productive/unproductive” on them, and put them everywhere – and when I told myself I was right or wrong/good or bad, I was to substitute one of the other words.
That simple change in vocabulary made a huge difference. No longer was I shaming myself every time my inner critic told me I had done something wrong. Instead, what I had done or said wasn’t as skillful as it could have been, or not as productive as it could have been.
What a relief! There was no moral judgement.
How it works
Over time, I came to naturally use that language when I inevitably, as a human, do or say something unskillful or unproductive. If I need to make amends, I do, but I no longer jump immediately to shame – to believing that I am bad.
What’s more – I have passed this on to so many of my clients, who report that it has made a huge difference in their lives too!
A 30-day challenge
So my 30-day challenge to you is this: first, notice how often you use right/wrong or good/bad, and how much you shame yourself (and perhaps others too?) with these words.
The second step is to consciously change the language you are using to something like skillful/unskillful or productive/unproductive each time. If you find yourself doing this a lot, I suggest making cards which have these word pairs on them, and putting them everywhere as reminders.
The third step is to notice how more connected you feel with yourself, with others, and with the world when you change your language. This one practice alone can change your life – and contribute to the consciousness shift that we are in the midst of.
Please let me know how it goes for you by posting below. I would love to hear what you notice over the course of the next 30 days!
With love and gratitude,
PS: As you can imagine, this kind of word change can help, but it’s not the whole story. If you often tell yourself you are wrong or bad, I would love to support you more directly. I have a couple spots open for new clients at the moment. If this is you, please read about my individual sessions here, and/or book a discovery call with me here.