The Flynn Skidmore Podcast

From Shameful Self-Awareness to Loving Awareness Part 1

January 31, 2024 Flynn Skidmore Episode 28
From Shameful Self-Awareness to Loving Awareness Part 1
The Flynn Skidmore Podcast
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The Flynn Skidmore Podcast
From Shameful Self-Awareness to Loving Awareness Part 1
Jan 31, 2024 Episode 28
Flynn Skidmore

In today's episode, I explore what shameful self-awareness is and where it comes from, and more importantly how you can begin turn it into loving self-awareness.

We dive into shameful self-awareness and how it shows up as immense self-criticism, self-hatred, what happens to your nervous system with shame, loneliness, and being rejected.

This conversation is the first part of a two-part series. In Part 2, we explore loving self-awareness and how make a different choice about who you want to be, the thoughts you want to think, and the way you want to interpret yourself in the world.

Connect with Flynn:

Submit your written reviews to THIS form to be entered into a giveaway to win a 30 min session with me! We'll pull 1 winner at the end of the month.

Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode, I explore what shameful self-awareness is and where it comes from, and more importantly how you can begin turn it into loving self-awareness.

We dive into shameful self-awareness and how it shows up as immense self-criticism, self-hatred, what happens to your nervous system with shame, loneliness, and being rejected.

This conversation is the first part of a two-part series. In Part 2, we explore loving self-awareness and how make a different choice about who you want to be, the thoughts you want to think, and the way you want to interpret yourself in the world.

Connect with Flynn:

Submit your written reviews to THIS form to be entered into a giveaway to win a 30 min session with me! We'll pull 1 winner at the end of the month.

[00:00:00]: I've always felt like I've had a special level of awareness. I seem to be highly aware of myself and my patterns. And I also seem to be highly aware of what was happening in other people and the dynamics around me. Except the problem is that it was all critical. It was all judgmental. It was mostly shameful.

[00:00:25] It was like collecting all of this information to help me hate myself and to be frustrated about the world, to reject the world and other people, to judge others and myself as inauthentic more and more and more. The struggle. This is the real tricky part about this. I knew that this version of awareness was fueling this experience of depression.

[00:00:52] Near suicidality, but I really thought I had the truth. I thought that I was [00:01:00] super smart. I thought I was smarter than other people and that I had more access to truth than what most other people had and that if I chose to be happy, I would be abandoning the truth and I, oh my God, I can't abandon the truth because then what would I like?

[00:01:20] I don't even, at the time, I didn't even, I, I didn't even think beyond what I thought the truth even was or what that even meant, but I know that I knew that I didn't want to abandon it. This is a huge, huge, huge part of my story. Part of my experience is like this. This high capacity for awareness, but this immense struggle to use that awareness for good, to transform it into something that actually built something beautiful, to build a beautiful, build a beautiful version of myself, to improve the spaces that I'm in, to help other people build beautiful versions of themselves.

[00:01:55] I only knew how to use awareness as a way to. Break things, not as a, [00:02:00] as a way of empowerment to, , build things, to contribute to the building of things, to co create blossoming within myself and help other people do it if they want to. Now, over the last three weeks, , I've made a few videos on self aware and stuck, and they've, I don't even know, there's like more than.

[00:02:22] 13 million views on all of them over the last few weeks there. I think that there's something special about this topic. I think this really, really speaks to people's experience. And if you're a person who's here, I know you're smart. I know you're highly aware. And I also imagine that your awareness is somehow related to this experience of stuckness that you're in.

[00:02:43] And the way that I'm conceiving of this is like this, this awareness related to stuckness is actually about an addiction to shame and shaming yourself and remaining small and afraid. that's my experience. I. [00:03:00] I got out of that experience and I, and I could go back . I don't know what's going to happen.

[00:03:05] We can only make bets, but I really think that in what I've learned through, you know, like deliberate learning and study and personal reflection and introspection and. 10, 000 hours more working with, with clients. Like I, I really think if I'm here meant to do something, probably what that is, is crack the code of getting out of my head and into my heart and helping other people do that because the experience that I've found there, like, yeah, I get to be smart.

[00:03:39] Like I'm not, I'm not that smart. I'm not like IQ smart. I'm more like awareness of what's happening. Smart. The, the amount of magic and power and freedom and love and joy and confidence and like this experience that I have, like I could do anything. It's because I've learned to [00:04:00] be in my heart. And I want to help you access that same experience, and that's what we're going to go through.

[00:04:06] Through today. So I wrote this guide, called, why are you so self aware and so stuck? And I'm going to be going through the guide, but using my voice actually, because many, many, many people have said that, , my voice is a little bit more like. Fresh squeezed orange juice. And my writing is a little bit like a Tropicana, maybe not Tropicana, but like store bought, which is still decent, but there's added sugar and, you know, like we we'd prefer to have the fresh squeeze.

[00:04:36] So that's what I, that's what I would like to give you. So there's going to be a part one where you'll understand what shameful self awareness is, where shameful self awareness comes from and how we can become addicted to shame. In part two, we will speak about what loving self awareness is. We will examine your current beliefs about change and how much change is possible.

[00:04:56] Like, can you actually go from shameful self awareness to [00:05:00] loving self awareness? , and then we're going to, I'm going to help you understand what you're going to need to give yourself. In order to ignite your own personal evolution, to blossom your own flower within you, to be in your heart and be able to help others do the same.

[00:05:13] If, if that's something that you want to do, okay, let's go. Section one, shameful self awareness. So this is where we're going to learn about how shameful self awareness shows up in your life. We're going to learn about the evolutionary origins of. In quotes, healthy shame. I don't really like using the word healthy, but it just makes sense here to understanding our more modern in quotes, toxic shame.

[00:05:40] , and then we're going to understand how we can actually become addicted to shame. So how does shameful self awareness show up? Immense self criticism, the sense of like self hate, incessantly thinking about yourself and others in a harsh, critical tone, like compulsively developing theories about [00:06:00] why you are the way you are searching for why's everywhere.

[00:06:03] Why are they like this? Why is the world like this trapped in your head, feeling helpless to escape, helpless to find peace, analyzing most situations obsessively, rarely feeling free to fully be yourself. You're often assuming the worst about yourself and you feel self conscious. Death. I mean, this is how it was for me.

[00:06:22] Death may seem like a better option than life. Like if you're not going to be able to escape your head, if it's going to be like this forever, like why go on, , and you continue piling up information about yourself, but it's not actually helping you to change anything. If this sounds like you, I think that it's, we can take it for a pretty fair guess that you are experiencing shameful self awareness, and.

[00:06:44] I want to help you go from shameful self awareness to loving self awareness where you are living in your heart. You're accessing a version of life where you're highly aware, but instead of using that awareness to punish yourself, you're using it to uplift yourself and everything [00:07:00] around you. So where does shameful self awareness come from?

[00:07:03] In order to understand that, let's actually understand the evolutionary purpose and function of shame. So imagine you're a five year old. Living 50, 000 years ago in a tribe of 150 people, and you know these people deeply, they see you, you see them, they know you deeply, every ounce of your soul, you know them.

[00:07:24] It's a close knit community, and there is no doubt that you belong to this group. We call this a container of abundant love, warmth, and belonging. It's everywhere, but it's the abundant resource of love, warmth, and belonging is around you. You are in it now in this intimate container, growing up, especially as a little kid, you'll make mistakes.

[00:07:46] And in those mistakes, you'll get a little minor sting of shame in your gut. But then in response to that shame, the, the, the relationship dynamics are such that like you, you then are taught about your [00:08:00] mistake , so that you can distinguish between behaviors that are going to support the wellbeing of the tribe and behaviors that are going to hurt the wellbeing of the tribe.

[00:08:06] What's happening is that you're learning that. The reason that you're getting shamed is because the people around you want you to belong more deeply to contribute more deeply to and benefit more beneficially from the tribe. You're pairing this experience of shame with the perception that this means that you get closer.

[00:08:30] And when that happens, your nervous system doesn't hold on to the shame. You aren't making it about you. The little emotion in your body and your nervous system understands that, Oh, when I get this emotion, it's actually immediately followed by warmth and belonging. That's how shame evolved. That's the function.

[00:08:48] It's served to, to teach behaviors, to incentivize people to not feel pain. It's so that they are, to act in ways that contribute to the wellbeing of the [00:09:00] collective. But let's take a look at our more modern toxic shame. , now our modern world is very complex. I am not a modernity discontent.

[00:09:09] I'm not a hater of the modern world. I think that the modern world has brought us many, many, many, many beautiful opportunities. I feel immensely optimistic about the future that we will create together, which you are a part of because you're. Here as a person who thinks about this kind of stuff, that said, there are a lot of problems that we've created in, in the modern world.

[00:09:31] So some of those like loneliness is an absolute epidemic. It's about 60 percent of adults in the U S which is, let me do the math. Three out of five people feel like no one knows them deeply. , loneliness is a hugely impact. It's a feeling that lonely is equivalent to smoking about 15 cigarettes a day.

[00:09:53] And depression is rampant. Like almost one in five people have suffered from a major depressive episode in the past year, [00:10:00] almost like 50 million people are struggling with depression in the country. So let's learn about. What toxic shame is and where it comes from. This is a complex question. There are many factors to consider, and if we're to answer this really, really well, we'd have to do a deep assessment of human evolution over 150, 200, 000 years, but let's, let's just speak about you in your lifetime.

[00:10:28] For this toxic shame generally develops before the age of seven years old. And I like when I'm thinking about you and your little body and your nervous system learning, this is just so sad. Like I really don't like that. So many of us learn this. So compared to the healthy, the. In quotes, healthy version of shame, where you make a mistake within a container of abundant love, worth, and belonging, and you learn that shame means more inclusion.

[00:10:56] Toxic shame is the opposite. It develops in a container [00:11:00] where you're uncertain about how much love, warmth, and belonging there is. Or maybe even, you know, with certainty, there is no love, warmth, and belonging. This is an environment where you learn that your acceptance and your love and your belonging is conditional.

[00:11:14] You have to be someone in order to be accepted and you're going to be rejected if you're not that way. So it's highly consequential. And for you at before seven years old, that means life or death because you need to bond with adults in order to survive. Like. You need acceptance the exact same way that you need oxygen.

[00:11:38] And when you perceive yourself to be in an environment where unconditional acceptance and a desire for your belonging is not available, it's like you're in a room full of carbon dioxide and you're suffocating. When we experience that intense. Overwhelm suffocation, those, those experiences of confusion and childhood.

[00:11:56] And we're not, we don't have a safe, warm adult to [00:12:00] process that experience with. We tend to internalize it. That means that we start to identify as the experience. We're confused by the lack of warmth and belonging. We know somehow we're wired to understand that love and warmth and belonging are like here and available for us.

[00:12:16] And so we're confused when we're, when they're not. And we start to make sense of this confusion by seeing ourselves as the source of the problem. This shows up as I'm broken. Something is inherently wrong with me. I'm unlovable. I'm not worth anyone's effort. People don't like me. The core of me is rotten and I hate the core of myself.

[00:12:38] The core of me is bad and it's going to hurt other people. Now, as tragic as it is. An environment where we question the availability of love, warmth, and belonging. We, we needed to form these perspectives on ourselves. We needed to form these beliefs because it is better for our young, fragile nervous system to see ourselves [00:13:00] as the problem so that we continue to pursue bonding with the.

[00:13:04] caregivers than it is to see our caregivers, the ones who are ensuring our physical survival as flawed. It is better for us to see ourselves as the problem than it is to see our caregivers as flawed, because if we were to see our caregivers as flawed, it might reduce our motivation to continue pursuing to bond with them, which would mean that we're less likely to get food, warmth, and shelter.

[00:13:32] Okay. So you see how we make, it's a trade off and we make a choice, not a constant choice, but we make a choice for the pursuit of survival and it works like we, we are alive, you're here listening to it, it did work, it did create safety, but it's just not the safety that you're, you're looking for. So when these ways of making meaning about ourselves, the core of me is bad.

[00:13:53] People don't like me when these are paired with intense childhood emotions, like shame, confusion, [00:14:00] fear, we can actually become addicted to them. So let's, let's speak about shame and the addiction to emotional experiences. When that continued experience of intense shame is paired with the meaning that you make of yourself, that you're broken, belonging is scarce, your body produces stress hormones, primarily cortisol and adrenaline.

[00:14:19] And when the production of these stress hormones is prolonged. Like meaning it's happening over and over, and you're never getting to heal and to process those intense experiences. Your body can become addicted to them. It's not because your body wants to hurt you. It's the opposite. These hormones that your body is producing are like the chemical signals that let your internal world know what's happening in your external world.

[00:14:45] And it's like instruction manuals for how to safely navigate your external world. So when your body becomes addicted to these chemicals, it's truly doing what it thinks it needs to do in order to navigate the environment safely [00:15:00] because your body then perceives that it needs these emotional chemicals, hormones.

[00:15:05] It will ensure, so your body thinks you really need it. And if that's the case, your body and your mind will ensure that you think thoughts, interpret the world, choose relationships and environments that guarantee the continued production of these stress hormones. So think about that. Like if you became addicted to stress or to shame at a young age and your body really thinks you need those chemicals.

[00:15:31] In order to survive, like think about how that, how that manifests as certain relationship patterns, the types of people you choose, the type of job that you choose, the thoughts that you think, like all of these things are because your body truly believes that shame is safe and will do anything to keep you safe in the way that it knows how now, as it stands now, your nerve, if, if this, if you're in the middle of this, Your nervous system still [00:16:00] thinks that you're in the environment where it needs shame, and it is predicting that your future is one where you will also need shame.

[00:16:11] Your nervous system doesn't know time. It's not responding to what's happening. Actually happening right now. It's responding to what you really believe is the truth of what's happening right now, which is informed by what you've experienced in the past. Which then informs the way that you're predicting in the future, which creates your, uh, experience in the present.

[00:16:32] This can change and as you'll learn. In the upcoming section in part two, like we can unlock this, your body can release its addiction to shame. It can release its addiction to relationships and environments and interpretations that make you feel shamed, that make you feel bad. What we've got to do is help your mind and your body understand that it is no longer in that [00:17:00] confusing environment where love, warmth, and belonging are scarce resources.

[00:17:05] When your body and mind know that you're in an environment where love, warmth, and belonging , are available right here, it sets you up to be able to release the internalized toxic shame that at some point you needed to survive. And once your body and your mind perceive that you are in a safer environment where more of the internal resources that you want are available, that's when you are set up to be able to see the landscape, open your eyes, see the options that are available to you and make a different choice about who you want to be, the thoughts you want to think, the way you want to interpret yourself in the world, the relationships you choose, the environments you create.