I’m a confidence and emotional intelligence coach helping people to discover their truest and most authentic selves. I help them embrace who they really are and ditch any self-limiting beliefs, letting go of the things they cannot change.
But isn’t always who I was. I have, shall we say, a rather colourful past. I am a divorced, former party girl, who’s gone through a list of mental health issues as long as my arm (anxiety, manic depression, I know you so well). I am well-versed in the art of disgracing, embarrassing and humiliating oneself and have an endless supply of face-palming anecdotes to show for it. On the plus side, I am largely un-shockable. I’ve been there, done that and felt the shame. I know how it feels to carry the weight of knowing you’ve let a friend down badly or told a lie that got out of control– and how much better it feels when you can find a way shift the shame.
Many of the people I see in my consulting Zoom-rooms too are held back by shame: shame about themselves, their partners, their families, even their children. Whether it is how they have acted towards them or the other way around. Shame can bring persistent agitation and anxiety, especially if – like most humans with our inbuilt negativity bias - we like to ruminate. Shame is one of the most prevalent and most self-limiting emotions I come across in my work. And it is perfectly normal!
In my new weekly ‘Shame Changer’ advice column, I can help you shift it. I invite you to share your shame with me here at getthegloss.com . I’ll be offering advice on whether to and how to unburden your conscience. Nothing is off-limits. Whether it’s those times when you wanted the floor to swallow you whole that still wake you up in a cold sweat, the things you’ve said that make you doubt whether you’ll ever leave the house again, or those regrettable memories that leave you chewing the inside of your cheek… this is the space to share. If you’ve done a bad thing, you’re not alone. Let me share with you some of my most shameful moments that once used to torment me…
1. The time I accidentally besmirched the bed in the throes of passion (the only thing I could do was laugh it off).
2. The time I felt so overwhelmed in a job, I handed my notice in and I slipped out the back door and just drove off leaving everyone in the lurch. Too ashamed to return, I ignored their phone calls and posted the office keys through the letterbox in the dead of night.
3. The time I woke up to find a strange man in my house, only to discover that I’d brought him home, slept with him, all without knowing his name. Although I never saw him again, I still feel grubby when I recall this.
4. The time I had an anxiety attack at a birthday party, self-medicated with alcohol and lashed out at anyone that got in my way. I made the birthday girl’s best friend cry, causing a massive rift in our social circle and ruining the special day.
5. The time I tried to help my friend and her boyfriend resolve an argument, only to make matters so much worse that they broke up and neither of them ever spoke to me again.
While these are all things that I deeply regret, I no longer hold shame about them. I have with the help of therapy, getting sober, developing new coping mechanisms and learning the art of the apology, worked through each one. Some are funny, some are downright painful but I’ve changed the narrative that I am a dreadful person to, “I made a mistake and it is only human”.
The catalyst for my actions have proven surprisingly universal: feeling worthless, the desire to be liked, wanting to impress. When we can honestly acknowledge that our shame comes from past hurts and unhelpful stories we tell ourselves, then it becomes so much easier to rid ourselves of it and ask forgiveness - of ourselves and those we have hurt.