Stop being a stupid !@%*! and do something about it.
Calling myself increasing worse things used to be my crude way of dealing with anxiety, before I could admit to myself self that I actually had anxiety.
As it goes with most short-sighted solutions, I paid the price of using mental self-flagellation to get shit done.
A loss of hope. A loss of belief in myself. Constant stress, sudden bouts of insomnia and depression, random body aches, exhaustion, utter isolation, and a diet of cigarettes, caffeine and being ashamed for existing.
The only thing about this period that I am grateful for is that it left me with no way to go but forward. If it had been any less awful, I might not have been humbled by three realizations.
- To find a passion and happiness you needed grit and honesty.
- To develop grit and honesty you need to accept your vulnerabilities.
- To accept your vulnerabilities, you need to let go of shame.
This is what eventually brought me to Dr. Brené Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly’ and the destructive effects of shame.
We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying.
Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
As destructive as shame can be, the solution isn’t difficult although a bit complicated.
[Shame] loses power when we bring in the perspective of others. It ceases to turn our vulnerabilities into flaws, fears, and insecurities.
In short, the antidote is honest feedback–but it’s also vulnerability, and worthiness.
To struggle with shame is to struggle for worthiness. To combat it inside of us is to combat shame where it can thrive, hide and thieve on our peace of mind.
To feel worthy is to accept that, vulnerabilities are what makes us worthy.
We are our bravest when we have the most reason to be afraid. Our greatest triumphs come from facing our greatest obstacles.
We are the most authentic when we are the most vulnerable.
Does that mean you can get rid of shame in ten days?
No, but it is possible to greatly reduce it.
A 10 Day Cure For The Unhappy Mind
For the next ten days, you will get acquainted with the three antidotes to shame: honesty, vulnerability, and worthiness.
For these antidotes to work you need to accept and remind yourself of the following.
- You cannot eliminate shame from your life.
- You cannot be free of shame without risk.
- You cannot be free of shame by yourself.
Day 1: Learning To Be Honest
The best way to monitor how and what you say to yourself is by practicing how you do it with others. Specifically, how you would talk to someone with the same struggles with you.
I recommend using Reddit for the following reasons.
- It’s anonymous.
- There are likely subreddits that focus on the very things that you are struggling with.
Create a Reddit account (if you don’t have one or would like to be anonymous), and respond honesty and empathy.
Repeat this exercise every day for the remaining nine days.
Also, make it a point to reply to every comment and be honest as you can.
Day 2: Gratitude And Shame
After you’ve left a reply for someone who could use the support, write three positive things about the day.
It’s easy to keep things inside when you see the outside world and the people in it to be harsh or unforgiving. The first step towards finding others who are willing to accept us is by wholeheartedly believing that it is possible for them to exist.
I strongly recommend doing this in a notebook or piece of paper by hand and making it a bedtime ritual for the remaining days.
Day 3: Speak Your Truth
Once you have responded to someone else’s post, write an honest post about one of you vulnerabilities and why it makes you feel ashamed. Use the posts that you have commented on as inspiration and, as always, be honest.
A good place to do this is the r/insecurity subreddit if you don’t have a subreddit that matches your insecurity.
Don’t forget to write three positive thing about the day before you go to bed.
Day 4-6: Practice
These three habits alone will help a lot so, practice them religiously for the next three days.
Jump to the resource section at the bottom to learn more about how to manage anxiety, stress, depression, and self-esteem.
DO NOT SKIP: Intellectualizing and analyzing will get you only so far (which isn’t very). You have to practice and put into action. These three days are absolutely crucial.
Day 7: Phone A Friend
After you’ve finished your comments and written a post of your own, it’s time to take action.
Step one, get in touch with a friend that you feel accepts you and talk to them about the shame and vulnerabilities that you have been struggling with.
If you need some help how to start the conversation view the example ‘starting the Conversation‘ in the resource section at the end of this post.
How can I make sure I’m heard?
Make sure you are being specific. Try to frame it in a cause and effect and effect format.
- People cannot read your mind.
- It clearly defines what you need help with.
- It keeps the conversation focused. (The truth is caring doesn’t mean someone wants to hear you ramble for an hour).
- It makes it easier to ask questions and empathize.
Something to remember. Most people, including you and I, would likely listen to someone’s problems out of simple courtesy. But we don’t want to be simply be heard. We want to be understood, unburdened and feel accepted.
Those that empathize with your stakes are more likely to have helpful insight, a willingness to support you, and an overall interest in what you have to say.
Which is why it’s important to ask yourself if this person can empathize with what’s at stake for you.
For an example view ‘Finding the Right Person To Speak with’ in the resource section at the bottom of this page.
After this, connect how your vulnerabilities have been affecting the stakes you’ve listed.
Keep in mind, that it’s very easy to get stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’ when talking to someone who sympathizes with your woes.
However, there is no self-improvement without risk and there’s no progress without practice. So make your conversation about step two.
What can you do to resolve it through practice or repetition in four to six weeks.
- If you trying to lose weight, you can go to the gym three times a week.
- If you are struggling with school, you can dedicate a set amount of time each day to study and stick to it.
- If you are struggling with depression, you can commit going to therapy, support group, or doing something active once a week.
How To Make it Worth Their While?
“The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it … talk in terms of what the other person wants.”Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People
I want to do this for me and then Select a Reward For Both you. You’re of course welcome to celebrate with me.
If you make this reward something that both of you desire you will more than likely find a more enthusiastic supporter, a more appreciative friend, and a greater chance of succeeding.
Which is why you are speaking with someone who values what’s at stake in the first place. Someone who can appreciate the gravity of defeat, will surely appreciate the opportunity presented by victory.
In a way the reward is the ribbon that marks the finish line. It’s how we know the work we put in was worth it
It’s a moment of victory and celebration and is best shared with those who help during and appreciate the journey. So come up with a reward that shows genuine appreciation and something that both of you really enjoy.
I mean it. Make the reward attractive and exciting for both of you.
Day 8: Turning Intent In To Action
Create a six-week plan where you daily work on implementing a solution that you came up with your friend in the previous step–using the full six weeks. Reserve one day a week to thoroughly revise your efforts and find at least one way to improve your efforts
Make your start date the tenth day of this
Why Six Weeks?
- Plenty of time to chip away at a goal or practice a new habit.
- Not enough time for unrealistic goals.
- It takes about three weeks to break a habit.
- It takes about twelve weeks to make a habit part of your lifestyle.
Why Work Daily?
- To take an incremental and therefore a more actionable approach to building a habit.
- To give greater focus and attention to details.
- To make it easier to make improvements as you go.
- To make it easier to be consistent.
Why Revise weekly?
- Practice is the most useful when it’s done with the mindset of improving.
Day 9: Create a Legacy Notebook
For this step, I highly recommend getting a physical journal or notebook.
I think keeping a journal is one of the most important and effective self-improvement tactics.
Some of the benefits of writing include:
- Being able to observe how you talk to yourself in your thoughts.
- Being able to release daily stress through creativity.
- Being able to inspire yourself.
- Being able to spot more opportunities for improvement.
Make this your new destination for your gratitude journal and where you do your weekly reflections. Then document how you completed every task on your six week plan as soon as you finish it.
IMPORTANT: Write as if you someone else is going to be using this notebook as their guide. Think back to your Reddit comments. Answer the questions you had when you got started, and offer the guidance you wish you had.
Day 10: Beginning With An Ending
Let’s see what you have at this point:
- A friend that supports your goals and empathizes with the stakes that matter to you.
- A six week plan to implement a solution for yourself.
- A reward that marks completion that you have to look forward to.
- A habit of expressing gratitude.
- An outlet for you to show sympathy towards others.
- A journal where you can reflect on your day.
Improvement is difficult when we believe ourselves incapable of growth and betterment.
I can honestly say that for the average person, this is enough for them to feel less ashamed of their vulnerabilities and more comfortable being themselves.
But whether it works for YOU depends on your ability to believe in yourself even when there is no reason to do so.
I mean it, channel your inner Kanye. Believe in your ability to grow and improve your life. And finally, as you embark on the first day of achieving your goal, keep the following in mind:
It’s not your fault that you have vulnerabilities, but it is your responsibility to embrace them.
So the best of luck, and do not forget to return to this post time to time to review.
Books, articles, examples, and useful links
Reddit Threads About Mental Health and Self-improvement
Example: Starting the Conversation
“Thank you for meeting/speaking with me.”
“I really need to talk to someone about something I’ve been struggling with that’s affecting ( job, relationships, dreams, well being, school, and etc ). I wanted to talk to you about it because I trust you and (explain why you think they are the best person to talk to about this) .”
Example: Finding the Right Person To Speak with
Things shame and insecurities are affecting
- How much I’m making at work
- The growth of my business
- My personal relationships
Why This Person Values The Stakes
- As a newly married man, my brother is very much focused on increasing his salary at work.
- Because of the first reason he’s very focused on his career.
- We’ve had a close relationship for a long time.
Analysis paralysis describes an individual or group process when over-analyzing or over-thinking a situation can cause forward motion or decision making to become ‘paralyzed’, meaning that no solution or course of action is decided upon. A situation may be deemed as too complicated and a decision is never made due to the fear that a potentially larger problem may arise. A person may desire a perfect solution but fear making a decision that could result in error, while on the way to a better solution. Equally, a person may hold that a superior solution is a short step away, and stall in its endless pursuit, with no concept of Diminishing returns. – Wikipedia
Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
How To Reduce Negativity in Fifteen Minutes
5 Problems with the Self-Help Industry
The Journal I use [Not An Affiliate Link]