3 Exercises to Sweep the Stronghold of Shame From Your Life

Time to sweep this stronghold out of your life forever. (Unsplash)

Becoming a person who sees yourself as worthy isn't easy. That's because believing and receiving that you are innately worthy is hard work. More important, it is consistent work.

Remember, it took consistent behaviors to spiral you into believing you were worthless in the past. Often, shame has a stronghold in your life and this needs to be taken out bit by bit. It only makes sense that consistent work is going to be a big part of your beliefs to remove shame and receive that you are innately worthy.

In today's article, I will give you three tips to start cleaning shame out of your life.

Shame can be one of the primary drivers in someone's life who believes and behaves in a worthless lifestyle. Shame says, "I am bad, ugly, fat, stupid, crazy or unwanted." Shame wants you to accept a lie about your identity.

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Shame removes responsibility for the choices you had in these situations. We all make mistakes in our choices, but that doesn't make us bad. You can easily say, "I make bad choices." This makes two things true: 1) You take responsibility for your choices, even if this choice has been made thousands of times over several decades; and 2) When you rephrase "I am bad..." into different choices, you can always make new statements going forward. This is the beauty of being human and loved by God: we innately can change course when we take full responsibility and make new choices.

Shame can also come into your life by the shameful act of another person, such as abuse or other crimes committed against you. In this case, you have taken on their shamefulness as your shame

  1. Recreate your "I am" statements. So, here's the first tip. Get ready to write.

On a separate sheet of paper, write down your "I am" statements about yourself. Almost every person who struggles with worthlessness has "I am" statements. Then write down the "fully accepted responsibility statements" that tell the truth as it is now. Here is an example:

I am statement: I am worthless.

Fully accepted responsibility statement: I made some bad choices. However, I am forgiven for that and I choose to believe Jesus' blood has redeemed those choices. I have accountability now to help me make better choices. I call now when I feel worthless and take responsibility for my behavior or lack thereof.

Shame has tried for too long to remove responsibility from your choices and keep you stuck. Taking responsibility for your choices will give you freedom to make the right ones. This exercise was so important that, if you did it, you may have had a paradigm shift from shame to responsibility.

  1. Expose your secrets. As we continue in our discussion on shame, I must talk about secrets. My experience with shame is that it is often connected to secrets. These secrets tend to fall into two categories.

The first category is things you have done that you are not proud of and haven't told anyone about, ever. I can't tell you how many times clients have told me things they did that they were not proud of. After telling me, they felt much better and were able to get free of the shame from that situation.

The second category is things that were done to you that you have never told anyone about. These secrets can also have shame attached to them. Again, when clients told me this type of secret for the first time ever, they were relieved of the shame.

Before you do this with someone, make sure that person is mature and someone who doesn't gossip. If you need to be really safe, see a professional so that your confidentiality is protected. The sooner you accomplish this, the better.

On a separate sheet of paper, write down your secrets, or make an appointment to see the person you're going to share this with—and make notes to keep your memory focused because things can get intense.

  1. Write a letter. Many who have had almost a plague of shame in their soul for most of their lives may not even know what it is like to live without shame.

This exercise is something you do after you have disclosed your secrets to another person. If you have told someone the secrets that have been plaguing you for decades, you are ready to do these two exercises.

On another piece of paper, write a goodbye letter to shame. Acknowledge its existence in your life, break your agreement with it from your heart and tell shame an overdue goodbye.

Shame does not have a place in your life. You are deemed worthy by the blood of Jesus. Therefore, accept and receive the freedom from bondage and shame. Use these techniques to combat the attempts of shame to have any say or control in your life. God has given you the freedom to choose, so choose a life without shame!

Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books and DVDs, including Worthy. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on hisFacebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at heart2heart@xc.org.

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