This is part II of a series on Shame and the Survivor.
Now that we have talked about how Shaming ourselves keeps us from embracing the support and compassion of others, which is essential to healing from abuse. and validation, let’s discuss how being our own champion and showing ourselves compassion, erases shame.
It’s so unbelievably counter intuitive as survivors to give ourselves a break, let alone be our own champion and show ourselves compassion.
After all, grooming from our abusers, invalidation from family or friends, and the abuse itself have instilled a sense of shame. If we allowed ourselves to be abused, how can we possibly be worth championing? How can we be worth showing compassion, and receiving compassion?
That’s what the guilty gremlin in our head will want us to focus on so we stay stuck and miserable. If we are not happy, that guilty gremlin is very happy.
As discussed in part I, receiving compassion can drastically speed up our healing journey. By allowing ourselves to embrace the support of others, it can give us a boost of healing energy and confidence.
While that in itself is important, there is another part that is equally important. Not only do we take in the compassion and support of others but we need to take it upon ourselves to be our own champion, our own cheerleader.
Here’s the reason why, and something I recently had a light bulb moment with.
We aren’t always going to be in a situation where there is someone available to give us that boost of healing energy. Our lives are busy, and unfortunately not everyone is capable of, or wants too, be a source of validation and encouragement.
So if we are relying on certain people or situations to refill our support pitcher, eventually we are going to run low. Especially if we are the type of person who enjoys supporting others.
You can’t give and give and expect to keep going on indefinitely. Support is not a one way street.
We need to be constantly filled up so we can not only build up a reserve for ourselves but for giving to others when they need it. Since we need to be filled up regularly, it’s up to us to shoulder some of the responsibility of keeping our support pitcher replenished.
Self Championing – Be your own cheerleader, your own encourager, your own validation system. Be proud of your accomplishments no matter how big or small you think they may be.
Pat yourself on the back and smile for something good you did or something good about you. Use any opportunity available to reaffirm something positive about yourself, even if it seems silly. It can be hard and it takes practice.
The more we do it though, the easier it will get.
Self compassion – show yourself some love and some understanding. If a task or project didn’t go as well as you hoped, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just realize you did your best, learn from it, and use that knowledge in the future.
A big example of self compassion comes in the form of our inner child. As abuse survivors, it’s important for us show that little boy or girl inside us who experienced the abuse, that we love them.
Again, I know how hard this is, I have placed a lot of blame on my inner child. I’m learning though how important is to be kind that little dude. It’s a process, and not an overnight fix.
Tell your inner child, “I’m so sorry that you endured those horrific acts”. “You didn’t deserve to experience that and it most definitely wasn’t your fault”. “There is nothing wrong with you no matter others may have said”.
Statements like that, when repeated over and over and over again help keep our support pitcher topped off.
A direct result of self championing and self compassion leads to something amazing.
It erases shame!
Shame simply cannot exist if we are focusing on giving and receiving support.
Sure, we’ll still have rough days and tough times, we are only human after all. But once shame begins to be phased out of our lives, we start a positive cycle that benefits both us and others.
We’ll begin to see just how many good days we have and how the rough days become fewer and farther apart. When those tough times do hit, we are able to recognize them for what they are, and show ourselves self compassion, which then lessens their effect on us.
I encourage you, as I am encouraging myself while writing this, to embrace your inner awesomeness. Show yourself the compassion you deserve, and over time you’ll begin to see your support pitcher full way more than it’s empty.