Last week I found myself in a situation that triggered a really strong feeling of shame. Someone very close to me called me out on an unhealthy habit and as a result, I felt totally humiliated and like an absolute failure. Deep down I know that we all have different habits, addictions and patterns of behaviour that don't serve us, that we would like to hide away from, ignore and deny. I know that this is all part of being human and that it's perfectly okay to be imperfect. Yet, I also know that it can be incredibly painful to confront these demons, no matter how big or small they may be.
So, with this in mind, I thought I'd share with you some of the resources that have been helping me to understand how to deal with the feelings that our destructive habits trigger, why we do things that don't serve us, and how we can take care of ourselves when such situations arise.
After my shameful experience last week, I went straight to my bookcase and pulled out my dog-eared, highlighted, post-it-note filled copy of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown and flicked straight to the section on 'Shame Resilience 101' (page 38) for a quick dose of advice. Curious to delve a little deeper, I headed down to my local bookstore and picked up a copy of her earlier book, I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't), and have been devouring it ever since. Brené Brown is truly one of the most humble, compassionate and authentic writers within the personal development space. For anyone struggling with shame, guilt or unworthiness, I highly recommend picking up a copy of her books.
I was moved to tears whilst listening to Elena Brower's interview with Tami Simon on Insights at the Edge. Elena shares the most honest, vulnerable and moving account of how she dealt with an addiction to marijuana. What resonated with me the most was her emphasis on journaling, meditation, self-inquiry and self-expression to aid with the healing and recovery process. Listening to this podcast prompted me to order a copy of Elena's new journal Practice You and I'm so looking forward to receiving it in the mail soon. Here's a little excerpt from the journal that I love the most:
"Today I tell the truth. I write a little. I create one piece of art, no matter how small. I remember myself at least once. I grow my spine tall. I love myself inside and out, a few moments at a time. I lean on the universe with my honesty. I ask for signs, I receive them gratefully."
You can listen to the interview here.
A friend of mine sent me Simon Sinek's speech on millennials in the workplace which funnily enough addressed the issue of addiction once again, this time in relation to smartphones and social media. What I found most alarming from his talk is the fact that receiving 'likes' on social media and text messages from our friends elicits the same hit of dopamine that we get from alcohol, drugs, sex and other 'rewarding' activities. If you're someone who reaches for your smartphone first thing when you wake up in the morning, whilst you're waiting for the train or as soon as you leave a meeting this video will provide you with a series reality check (regardless of whether you're a millennial or not). You can watch his talk here.
One of my favourite spiritual teachers, Tara Brach, recommends using the RAIN of Self-Compassion for mindfully approaching difficult emotions, such as shame and humiliation. This beautiful practice has helped me to be more accepting of myself during challenging times and has taught me to be less reactive to my feelings. Want to give it a try yourself? You can find my free guided meditation on the Insight Timer app here.
I'd love to hear your experiences about dealing with addictions and unhelpful patterns and behaviours, so please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Wishing you all the very best.