How To Deal With Shame
We all make mistakes and even the most successful of people, however that might be judged, have to deal with the aftermath of less-than-successful events.
The trick here is to learn to move on from this and build upon it.
After a major mistake, it is perfectly natural to feel ashamed, disappointed and deflated: what is essential is to understand the feeling and find a way to let it go.
Loss of perspective
People who pathologically feel shame tend to internalise and over personalise everything that happens to them. They have lost the key skill of working with perspective. If things do not go to plan the temptation here is to internalise it and turn the blame on themselves: this is very often NOT the case at all.
Shame can be good for us!
Shame can ultimately serve a purpose if it means that we recognise and error, are troubled by that and then resolve to never allow that situation to be repeated. What is not healthy is for the manager to retain these feelings and for them to be ever-present tin that person’s approach to work and wider life.
Dealing with Shame
Critical here is recognising that we should be compassionate towards ourselves as we would be to those around us who have made mistakes and need some support. Being too hard on yourself is a limiting factor in our ability to manage: we need to deal with shame and disappointment so that we maintain our self-esteem, increase our feelings of self-worth and become more accepting of the way in which we function as individuals.
Keeping your feelings of shame in perspective can relieve you of a harmful tendency to self-blame and to have a healthier outlook generally.
Look around you at the people that you work with, your line manager and the wider organisation – can you say that they have never made a mistake, felt anxious and shameful about that and resolved to move on?
Of course they have been down that road – the most successful business leaders have made horrific mistakes and will continue to do so – the key to success is putting any feelings of shame into perspective and gaining from the experience.
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