Whatever with Heather - Mindset, Parenting & Personal Growth

18. The Problem with Using Shame/Blame/Guilt for Motivation

November 02, 2023 Heather Evans Season 1 Episode 18
Whatever with Heather - Mindset, Parenting & Personal Growth
18. The Problem with Using Shame/Blame/Guilt for Motivation
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode we dive into the shame, blame, and guilt motivation cycle. This is the cycle that keeps us STUCK.

We chat about envisioning a compelling future to pull us forward.

Imagine what you could achieve by creating a brighter image of your desired self, which can drive meaningful and lasting change in your life. I talk about how you can visualize this future, make it real, and take responsibility for your mistakes without resorting to shame, blame, and guilt. Embrace the journey of becoming the best version of yourself and learn how to become your own guide and cheerleader. Let's break free from the toxic cycle and step into a future filled with potential and possibilities.

Speaker 0:

Hey y'all, welcome back to another episode of Whatever with Heather. Today we're going to talk about the shame, blame and guilt motivation, motivation and air quotes cycle. There seems to be a lot of resistance and I felt it as well in releasing shame, blame and guilt. Part of us somewhere deep inside believes that these are things we should feel about certain things. Today I'm not going to go into all the reasons why shame, blame and guilt don't serve us, and I'm also not going to go into where these feelings came from and who these feelings benefit, but I can tell you that it's not you, and I can tell you that there is a better way to go through life than by shaming, blaming and guilting yourself. Shame, blame and guilt is a huge topic, but today we're going to zoom in on the shame, blame and guilt motivation cycle and why. Using shame, blame and guilt for motivating ourselves to be better or be different or build a habit or build a routine or be someone new is not an effective strategy in motivating ourselves. Many of us motivate ourselves with shame, blame and guilt because shame, blame and guilt can get the ball rolling. Let's talk about this cycle. What happens is this you may feel shame, blame or guilty about some area of your life you could think of this as your parenting or your finances, or your health, or your body or your friendships and you feel this shame about what you're currently doing or not doing. You feel guilty about what you're currently doing or not doing, or you blame yourself for not doing things or for doing things, and so this shame, blame and guilt motivates you to want to make a change. Like. I don't want to be like this anymore. I feel very guilty about this. I feel very shamy about this, and so shame, blame and guilt initially motivate that change. One thing most of us can relate to is feeling shame, blame or guilt when it comes to exercise or moving our bodies or even our diet, our nutritional intake. Initially, we feel shame, blame or guilt around this, and that eventually gets so heavy that it motivates us to change. We want to be different and therefore we use this shame, blame and guilt we feel about maybe the way our body looks, to motivate us, to try to get us to change into a body we want, and shame, blame and guilt can really get the ball rolling. You may start to make changes. You may start to work out more, you may start to eat differently and you may begin to feel really proud and you might start to notice changes. And this may last days, this may last weeks, this may last longer than that. But then you quote unquote mess up. And when you mess up, what do you feel again? You feel shame, blame and guilt. They were waiting for you to mess up. And now, this time when shame, blame and guilt step in, they demotivate you, they take away your motivation, they take away your momentum. It's like hitting a wall. They tear you down, they make you feel like trash and you stop all progress towards change in this area of your life. Do you relate to this? You feel guilty about how you haven't been moving or how you've been eating and you're like, okay, I'm going to be better, because I feel so guilty. This guilt motivates you to change and you make a change. And then you quote unquote mess up. And now guilt is there again, but this time to demotivate you, to stop you in your tracks. When we motivate ourselves to change with shame, blame and guilt, they will always be waiting there for us when we mess up, make a mistake, fail, and we will mess up, make a mistake or fail, because we're human. It is very unlikely that you are going to start a change in your life, especially with something with movement or maybe even being more patient with your kids. Like it's very unlikely you're going to start that change and be perfect at it and never make a mistake. And so when we motivate ourselves with shame, blame and guilt and the mistake happens, shame, blame and guilt are still there because we allow shame, blame and guilt to decide what we do and what we don't do. We can also become very worried that if we don't allow ourselves to feel, shame, blame or guilt will never be motivated to change ever again. The truth is there are two ways to be motivated. You can be motivated away from something fear based motivation or you can be motivated towards things. So my fear of being where I'm at, or getting worse, or staying the same, can create momentum for me to want to make change. It can create this motivation. The motivation doesn't last because shame, blame and guilt will be there to step in. Now. Fear based motivation is very effective. You probably experienced this as a child, where if you do this, then this will happen. We can be trained very well to do or not do things based out of fear when you were young. If you didn't study for a test, you would probably get a bad grade or not as good of grade as you could have gotten had you studied. Or you could have said I want an A and your fear of a bad grade could have motivated you to study, or you could really want an A and therefore you study for the A. Lots of times these come in together. It's the fear of the bad grade and the dry for the A that motivate you to study, or the fear of if you get a bad grade then you won't go to the college you want and you really want to go to the specific college. That is a away from and a towards motivation. I don't want to fail because I may not get into that college. You're moving away from that discomfort and you are also, at the same time, moving towards the college you want to go to. We see in our lives how this plays out a lot. You'll see this in interacting with people you love and care about, with your children. We motivate people through shame, blame and guilt, and we also motivate people by putting a carrot in front of them, right, and they're chasing the carrot, the thing they want. We motivate people that way and we motivate ourselves that way. And I am not saying that all away from motivation, where you're trying to move away from something, is negative or bad. No, that can actually be some really poet motivation, but it is not lasting motivation. We also need motivation towards something and, at the same time, shame, blame and guilt are, in my opinion, not good or lasting motivators, because shame, blame and guilt if they run the show, that means they will also run the show when things aren't going well. So then, what do we do instead? If we aren't motivating ourselves with shame, blame and guilt, then how the heck are we ever going to get ourselves to get to the next thing, the next version of ourselves, the next place of growth we want to be, or new mindset we want to have, or new health level we want to attain, or new relationships we want to gain. We do this by creating a compelling future. We do this by envisioning what our life will be like, who we will be, what our life will feel like when we step into the thing that we are wanting. We also need to take into account you will never feel better about your life as long as you allow shame, blame and guilt to run the show. They may motivate you initially, but as your main motivators, they will then turn around and cut you down. It's an abusive relationship with yourself, one you will continue to have and then wonder why. You feel like you're in this endless cycle of success and then failure and success, and then failure, or an endless road of I'm a failure, I can't do anything right, what's wrong with me? Why can't I stick with things? Why can't I just get it together? And this goes on repeat for years and years. So then, what do we do to motivate ourselves to change? What I have found to be powerful and what others have found to be powerful is looking towards a compelling future, meaning, if I want to be a more patient person, I imagine the future in which I am that person, and then I begin to act as the person I want to be. It is not my fear of snapping at my kids or my guilt of being angry and short-tempered that motivates me forward. It is the vision I have of who I want to be that motivates me forward. And then, when I fail or mess up or I'm short-tempered, I don't feel guilty. I take ownership of my mistake. I can feel sad or even disappointed in myself, without shaming or guilting myself and saying what a bad person I am. I'm just a normal person and I will have mistakes and failures because I am a normal person. So I motivate myself to change by this compelling future of me being overall more patient. I envision myself as that. I act like that and when I fail, I own the failure, I own the mistake, and then I still let that compelling future pull me forward, instead of letting shame, blame and guilt stop the show. I acknowledge what I've done well, I acknowledge where I need to do work, not with an attitude of where can I put so much weight and heaviness on my mistakes and failures and mess ups? I then imagine the compelling future and let myself be pulled to that again. This can work in so many areas of your life. This can work for your health. What is my compelling future? It's that I can play with my kids and not get tired. It's that my body can heal from sicknesses more easily. It's that I can live a long life where I can move and go on adventures. Your compelling future is a much better way, a much more holistic, healthy way for you to motivate yourself forward. It's the carrot that is motivating you forward. And at the same time, if I want to be somebody who is patient and I can envision myself as that like what would it look like? What would it feel like? How would I feel if I were patient? How would my home feel? I envision that then I can immediately step into that vision I've created. It therefore becomes easier for me to become that person because I know what it looks like and feels like and how I'll feel and how our home will feel. If I just want to be more patient and never imagine what that might look like or feel like, it's hard for me to even step into something I've never tried before or I've never thought of before. And by creating this compelling future, this vision and the future could be five years from now, the future could be three months from now, the future could be the next minute from now. When I envision myself like that, I can become that. For example, if you didn't know the career of being a nurse existed, never in your life would you become a nurse, because it's not a reality that exists in your brain. And so we create the reality we want in our brain. We make it real for us. We make it tangible for us, we write down what being patient would feel like. Maybe one of your big goals is to be off your phone. You can shame, blame and guilt yourself, but when you quote, unquote, mess up, you're gonna feel guilty again. But what if you envision what your life would be like if you were on your phone list? What if you envision what it's like to be a child and have their parent present? What if you envision your future self old lady, you or old man, you who's on their deathbed, who is so grateful they put their phone down? That is compelling versus I shouldn't be on my phone, I'm a bad mom, I'm distracted, I'm gonna not be on my phone anymore. And then, when you go back to your phone, you feel guilty again and then it stops you, like well, I feel guilty, like there's nothing positive there. It stops you in your tracks. But instead you create this compelling future. And it's not fake, it's real. If you were to get off your phone and be present with your family, your family's life would feel different. You would feel differently Future, you would feel differently about your life. Those are all real. Patient you in the future. She exists If you become her, and you only become her if you believe she exists. We only become what we believe is possible to become. The questions to ask yourself are where are shame, blame and guilt showing up in my life, and how can I begin to release them? Then you can also ask what compelling future do I want for myself? And we don't have to build all of this at once. Building it all at once is part of the problem, part of why we feel like we're drowning, part of why it feels like so much. But what if you just worked on one area of your life for a month and then you keep that area going and then the next month you work on another area? By the end of the year, you will have improved in 12 areas of your life, instead of starting with a goal in mind and then being stopped every time shame, blame and guilt come back into the picture. We think we have to make a lot of changes really quickly to be a different us in the future, and it's just not the case. Imagine one part of your life being different. Imagine yourself as that person and start to become that person. Act as that person would act, because that is you. You are patient. If you choose to be patient, you are off your phone. If you choose to be off your phone, you are someone that moves your body and takes care of your body. If you're someone who does those actions the moment you go on a walk, you are someone who is doing that. The moment you speak kindly and patiently to your children or spouse, you are patient. The moment you decide you are and you do an action that shows that you are, that that moment you do not have to make up for everything you've ever done wrong in your life. It's not a thing you keep score on. Who you decide to be today is who you are and you continue to be her because that's who you believe you are and that's who you act as. Release shame, blame and guilt. They do not have a place in your life. They do not make you better. You can take ownership without shaming and blaming and guilting yourself. You can own your mistakes. You can own your failures and your mess ups. That does not mean that you have to allow shame, blame and guilt to run the show. What compelling future do you want for you? Who do you want to be? Imagine her, be her. You are her. Step into the next version of you. That's it for the podcast today. If you're interested in joining with me or working with me, go to wwwthe-empowered-lifecom. Find me on Instagram at heatherevanslife. There are multiple ways we can work together and get you moving forward and give you the tools to do this for the rest of your life, without needing someone to guide you along the way, but you becoming your own guide, your own cheerleader, your own coach through life. Thank y'all for being here this week and I will see you again or chat with you again next week. Bye, y'all.

Motivating Change Without Shame and Guilt
Compelling Future, Releasing Shame, Blame