You trained for months and worked so hard, when the email comes you notice the surge of anxious excitement as you click to open the team lists. “Please let me be in first grade” you silently implore as your eyes quickly notice the heading for the first grade team. You can’t see your name.
You notice the thump of your heart beating as you keep scrolling, quickly past the other names in a blur. Then you see it. There it is, your name, right in the middle of the second grade football team. You are instantly deflated and your stomach feels tight. You shoot off a disgusted reply to the coach and sit back, furious with disbelief. You don’t think you will ever get past these emotions.
The way you think about your emotions can affect them, they are not “out of control” and they are not “unchanging”. You can learn to deal with them more productively and respond in better ways in the future.
Our brains are hard wired for negativity. They have a ‘negativity bias’. We know this, scientists have told us many times, yet sometimes we still forget that we need to have workarounds in place when we fall down that negativity slide. For a few tips to help you next time you find yourself focusing on the negativity, read on.
Haver you noticed more incidences of online shaming lately? Apparently those of us with an acceptable ‘greater good’ in mind are more likely to feel entitled to shame others – but does it work and what if you are on the receiving end?
Consider someone posts a photo of their fun day at the beach, but all you notice is how many people are there, all in the same space. Although your country has yet to introduce any COVID-19 lockdown measures, your anger rises and rises, as you think about your vulnerable Mum, with her advanced age and diabetes, and tell yourself everyone should know better!
hurl abuse in the online comment section, telling them they are stupid and selfish, and sit back furiously, waiting for the announcement they all have COVID-19, or
tell them you understand how much they love the beach, but share your concerns about your Mum, her vulnerability, and how we can all reduce risk if we practice social distancing?
Not surprisingly, option one may invoke shame for those on the receiving end (and even change), but it is unlikely to be lasting, deliberate and meaningful change. According to Dr Brene Brown, shame is not a helpful tool for change. Shame is correlated to things such as such addiction, depression, violence and aggression.
Option two is more likely to invoke meaningful long term change, as authentic interactions with others builds trust and positive relationships, which can then influence change.
Are you carrying feelings of shame? Mindfulness meditation may help you work through shame. This free guided meditation* is a good start. The important part is to be curious about your moment of shame, in a non-judgemental and safe way. With your renewed understanding of your shame, you may decide you need to do something to address the moment, or you may be able to appreciate the learning and let it go. We are all human, treat yourself kindly.