Dealing with Shame

The Dealing with Shame IQ Matrix explores how to better understand and overcome the emotionally crippling effects of shame. Shame, like anger is often an emotion we experience that masks genuine and authentic emotions, i.e. grief, loneliness, and sadness. We do this because we feel somewhat insecure about ourselves and shame effectively becomes a coping mechanism for dealing with these emotions. Therefore shame effectively becomes very much like a mask you wear that hides your true emotional experiences. This of course isn’t healthy. In fact shame, unlike guilt, has a very negative effect on a person’s psyche. It is only when we learn to see shame for what it is can we then begin the healing process..

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Here is a quick breakdown of each branch of the Dealing with Shame IQ Matrix:

  • Is it Guilt or Shame?: The first branch of this map breaks down the difference between shame and guilt. Guilt effectively means that you feel you have done something wrong. On the other hand shame means that you feel that there is something wrong with you. It’s a small distinction, but one that makes a huge difference to your psyche.
  • Feeling Ashamed: The second branch explores various triggers that can cause you to suddenly feel ashamed. Moreover, the branch examines how shame is used as a mask to hide authentic emotions and the compulsive and defensive behaviors that can result from allowing shame to take over your life.
  • Shame-Based Thinking: In order to feel ashamed about something you must think about that “something” in a very specific way. The third branch of this map explores how to recognize when you get caught up in shame-based thinking. Moreover, it provides you with a set of questions that will help you to challenge those thoughts and choose more helpful thoughts instead.
  • Overcoming Shame Process: The final branch of the map walks you through a four step process to help you overcome shame. The process involves recognizing your feelings, needs and triggers, then questioning your shame objectively and acknowledging what you want while making slight perspective shifts that will help you view yourself and your circumstances in more optimal ways. The final step of the process involves confiding in people you trust.

Progressively working through this map and integrating these concepts and ideas into your psyche will help you to develop various coping strategies for overcoming the feelings of shame you have about various aspects of yourself. No longer will you feel flawed, inadequate and/or lacking. Instead you will feel more empowered as you begin letting go of your unrealistic standards and ideals and start living a more authentic life.

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