Shamed and Guilted

We understand that a need for safety and security makes us cling to a mindset that may not support our growth.

Next, we need to examine the mechanics of how we stay trapped in this mindset, and there are two things which I think serve as guards keeping you trapped in the safety seeking mindset: shame and guilt.

These two feelings have an extraordinary power, and all over world, people use them to manipulate other people.

Think about it: it’s how we get kids to obey us, it’s how the media controls people and opinions, and how governments control opinions and behavior.

If you commit a crime, you’re found guilty.

If you do something abnormal or unusual, then you’re expected to feel shame, and often communities will go out of their way to publicly shame offending individuals.

The same thing applies to you,
when you try to live in your purpose.

Growing up, living in a middle class mindset, you surround yourself with people who also buy into that mindset. They have a very limited scope of what they believe to be possible, and when they encounter desires, either their own or someone else’s, that seem to stretch beyond that scope, it startles them, and in that fear they lash out.

It happens all the time.

You’ll hear about parents who never went to school getting angry with their kids for going to college or getting higher paying jobs than they have.

It doesn’t have to be that extreme—sometimes it just manifests as doubt, or as questions. That happened to me.

My mom, whenever I would bring up a desire or a dream, would always ask, “Well, what if something happens?”

The crazy thing is, she could never articulate what that something might be or what the negative consequences were.

She was just constantly worried that something might happen. And I internalized that, and it took me a while to work past it.

All of what I just said serves as examples of how people and societies use shame and guilt to reinforce an unsupportive mindset.

In stepping into your purpose, following your dreams and desires, you will brush up against a lot of shame and guilt. People will say that you’re disloyal, irresponsible, a jackass, greedy, self-centered, have your head in the clouds, etc.

Then, internally, you might start to feel guilty about the decisions you’ve made or feel ashamed about what you want.

To move forward and really live your purpose, you need to be able to move past that shame and guilt. If you can’t you’ll get trapped in this crazy cycle where you want something, start to go for it, feel bad, and quit.

You have to remove the shame and the guilt from your life, because what lies on the other side is true freedom.

Until next time…

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  1. This really struck a chord with me, especially when you talked about your mother. It reminded me of a pivotal moment in my life. Here’s the short version: I was accepted to Yale Law School, the number one law school in this country, on the first round of admissions. I called my mother thrilled and excited to share the news. And her response… “Have you considered applying to the University of Alabama?”
    fyi – I went to Yale and it changed my life. But I still struggle with the crazy cycle of going for it and pulling back. I am breaking out of the shame/guilt cycle with support from mindset resources like this one..

    • Good for you Marilyn for following your own inner guidance, all the while pushing aside the words your mom spoke about your higher education. Releasing the shame and guilt around that pivotal moment is the first piece in taking back your power and laying the foundation for a major shift. I am here to assist in that and I greatly appreciate the post.