I once walked three miles in Kathmandu, Nepal wearing one flip flop.
After navigating dog waste, glass and the perplexed stares of confused locals for a few moments I felt shame wash over my body.
The successive waves of humiliation and embarrassment screamed at my attention. I was an outsider in a foreign, exotic land. Toss in my barefoot and flip flop foot gate to add insult to injury and you had the perfect recipe for a shame-filled saga.
I turned this shameful event into a successful experience by following a few basic steps.
If you ever feel paralyzed by the emotion of shame give these practical tips a whirl.
Feel the Emotion
I felt my shame instead of burying the energy to clear the emotion.
The split second the thong snapped a wave of embarrassment rushed into my being.
“I must look so stupid.”
“I wonder what these people are thinking?”
“People must think I’m a dirt bag tourist.”
The torrent of thoughts and accompanying emotions screamed at my consciousness so I embraced the feelings to move the energies out of my being.
Hug shame. Feel it. Facing and embracing any emotion is the key to release the feeling.
If you bomb at a public speaking event, rip your pants in an urban setting or slip and fall at a busy park just be with the embarrassment and humiliation to begin the clearing process.
Honestly Assess Shame Scenarios
After feeling and releasing some shameful feelings I reviewed a few scenarios fueling my embarrassment.
On further thought, most Kathmandu residents likely could care less about me walking around town with one ratty-looking, dusty flip flop. Thinking this thought instantly dialed down my humiliation.
A few folks smiled at me. Far from mocking me, I got the sense these people were laughing with me at the random cosmic nature of suffering through a broken flip flop in a major urban center. I had no reason to be ashamed about folks laughing with me at a funny situation.
The few humans who may genuinely have seen me as a dirt bag tourist slumming around Kathmandu simply projected their pain and fear onto me. Why should I feel embarrassed at their pain and fear? Maybe I should feel compassion for these tortured souls.
I felt even less humiliation and made a successful turn at this point.
Shame History Lesson
Shame is a learned emotion.
No little child feels ashamed of anything until ashamed adults teach them the concept of shame.
While walking around the city I thought about adults who told me people would look at me funny or think that I was weird unless I conformed to their wishes.
I instantly began to shed these fear-based ideas to feel a bit more liberated from my shame.
The real you does not feel shame. Jog your memory. Recall any childhood instances when a parent or authority figure told you to feel ashamed if you didn’t listen to their request. Feel and release these feelings to become free of shame.
All shame is leased. Trade yours in at any time.
A few blocks before arriving at the apartment I felt shame-free. I ceased averting my eyes to the ground. I could care less if anybody looked at me because I didn’t fear what they thought of me.
I successfully faced, embraced and release my shame-filled feelings to feel as free as a bird.
Living without humiliation or embarrassment holding you back liberates you and positions you to be successful in any endeavor.
Happy, successful people tend to run laps around everybody else because they don’t carry the heavy, anchor-like fear of being judged. @RyanBiddulph (Click to Tweet!)
These folks are free to learn skills, to practice their craft and to create and connect their way to the top, being comfortable in their own skin.
Let go the yolk of shame.
Dissolve the fear of criticism.
Live a fun, successful life void of this most destructive emotion.
Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who’s been featured on Richard Branson’s Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur, Positively Positive, Life Hack, John Chow Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He has written and self-published 126 bite-sized eBooks on Amazon. Ryan can help you build a successful blog at Blogging From Paradise.
Image courtesy of Jared Rice.