Download a free chapter of my new book: The Happier Approach
Yesterday I had an extreme Monger attack. In this episode, I share what I learned, why shame attacks are so hard and what our job is when we put on that warm, cozy sweater of our Monger.
Press to Listen
Hey, everyone. Today I want to share a personal story, something that happened to me yesterday. And I thought you all might find it helpful and interesting and relatable. And what happened was I found myself in a full-on Monger attack. And it wasn’t the typical Monger attack. I tend to have the Monger attack of “Oh, you’re a loser” or “Who do you think you are?” But this was a Monger attack that was a full-on shame attack. Someone in my life triggered a very old button and accidentally pushed it. They didn’t do it intentionally at all but they accidentally pushed it, and it just sent me down a dark tunnel of a shame spiral.
What was so fascinating about it, I found myself in a shame spiral. I started crying. I said to my husband, “This is a ten response to a two situation. I know I’m way overreacting”. But the beauty of what happened was I was in a new spot for me for looking at it. At one time, I could see that I was sitting in the shame and I could also see there was a choice to be sitting in the shame, for lack of a better phrase. And even though I was in the middle of it and I could recognize I was in the middle of it and I was doing all the stuff that I teach people to do and A.S.K. and could name all my feelings and could pull back and see the big picture. What was fascinating about it was that it wasn’t just let’s practice A.S.K. and I’ll immediately feel better. I had to practice A.S.K., acknowledge what you’re feeling and I could say “I’m feeling sad and I’m feeling angry and I’m feeling triggered and I’m feeling like a bad person,” and I could say all the things I was feeling. My husband and I went for a walk. And did the slowdown and get into your body piece.
And I could see the big picture. I could pull back and give some other reasons as to why it was happening. And see what was going on. But I kept coming back to the warm, cozy sweater. And I love that analogy. And if you’ve been listening to this podcast, you’ve heard me say it multiple times. But the warm, cozy sweater is the belief that we need the shame. I wish I could come up with a better phrase for saying it, but it’s like finding a warm, cozy sweater in your closet, and you put it on, and then you realize “Ah, this is so itchy and I hate how this feels.” But for some reason, we’re drawn into the sweater. And as I was standing in the park with my husband watching our dog play, I was like, “I can’t get out of this.” I would do A.S.K. and I would pull back, and I’d see the big picture. And then eventually the warm, cozy sweater would wash over me again.And I kept practicing A.S.K. and I kept getting the warm, cozy sweater. I’d get a break from the shame for five minutes, 10 minutes.
But I could very quickly flip the switch and come back to the warm, cozy sweater. Because the tape that I was playing over and over, the shame tape, the thing that got triggered, the incident that triggered me was so familiar. It was so old. It was so used to being triggered. And it was interesting to recognize this is just a tape. You’re playing this over and over and over again. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve been that triggered, that I’ve been that awash in shame. But it also was really interesting to be able to pull back and just notice how the shame is so comforting and how we believe we deserve it and how it does feel like a warm, cozy sweater. And so it’s like pulling yourself out of the muck like your feet are stuck in quicksand. And the shame is like quicksand, and it’s just sucking you down. And it’s being able to pull yourself out of that. And so I think A.S.K., I know A.S.K. is a great way to do that.
But I also know that it needs to be repeatedly done. I went to bed earlier than normal last night, partially because I was just so exhausted from trying to pull myself out of the muck. And I wanted to the day to be over. I was tired of feeling and wearing the warm, cozy sweater, and I knew that when I woke up, I would feel differently because I had done all the work. I had seen the big picture. I was able to see where the other person was coming from and why they said what they said. I could see how I the reaction that I had. And it all made sense logically. But I just needed to have it make sense in my heart. And so my biggest fan was “Just go to sleep. When you wake up tomorrow, it’ll be different. We’ll just keep practicing this.” And that is what happened that today when I woke up, I could still go back to the shame place, but it wasn’t there as much.
The cool thing about what happened, and part of the reason I wanted to share this story was this stuff just keeps happening and we can either choose to put on the warm, cozy sweater and keep it on and never be able to pull out of it, which is what I did for years. And that was the realization that I had, and I said to my husband, “I wore this warm, cozy sweater all the time and people could trigger me without them knowing it at any given moment.” I was constantly feeling one step away from feeling like I was unworthy or one step away from feeling like a bad person. Which is why this work is so important to me because that was such a terrible way of moving through the world. And I want to help people stop that terrible feeling from happening to them. But it also the idea that I recognized that I had a choice. And there was a switch I could flip. And the switch isn’t that easy to flip. So, yes, I have a choice, and yes, I could pull myself out of the shame and pull myself out of the monger attack and take off the warm, cozy sweater, but the power of that muck and the power of that quicksand is huge and powerful.
I want you all to recognize how hard this work is and that it is challenging to pull yourself out of it. And if you are practicing A.S.K. and you’re like, “This isn’t working. I had to practice A.S.K. like 10 times today to get out of the shame attack”, I get it. And, it does work over time. You may need to practice it. Yesterday I hit a shame situation. My Monger was in full on attack. And that was a hard one. And yes, I had to practice A.S.K. for a number of times before I could separate it out. But the other thing is that this shame stuff if we choose to work it, it does teach us. We can learn and yesterday when I was able to pull back and look at the big picture, I could see the situation so differently because when we are stuck in the shame and our Monger is in control and we’re wearing that warm, cozy sweater, we only see black and white. We are wrong. The other person is right. We’re a loser. We’re not worthy. We didn’t do it right. Whatever it is, there’s no gray.
And what was cool about yesterday’s event is I, even though I was still wearing the warm, cozy sweater and there was a part of me that was really buying into the attack of the monger, there was another part of me that was the biggest fan that was like, “You can grow from this. This doesn’t have to be your trigger. You don’t have to be triggered by this every time.” And I think that’s the piece that I want everyone to learn here. I just read this amazing newsletter from [Kelly Dials 00:07:43], who was saying how it used to be that we would get confident and be feeling good and be feeling really confident and we would think, “Oh, I won. I’m confident. I’ve checked that off the list. I figured out how to have confidence.” And now that she’s in a different growth period in her life and that confidence is gone and she’s feeling more insecure. And she was like, “I think it’s a mix of both. I think we have the confidence and then we have insecurity and then we grow. And then we have more confidence, and then we grow, and we have insecurity.”
And hopefully, as we’re going through life, that’s the key. We are constantly growing and learning new things. As we grow, we’re going to hit these spots of insecurity. And right now, I’m going through some pretty hefty growth spurts in my personal and professional life. And my Monger has been louder. I talked about this a couple of episodes ago, but I think that’s the point of life is to constantly be juggling that insecurity, confidence, insecurity, confidence as we move up the mountain of life. And the idea that you will get confidence and you will have arrived is not true. And anyone that is selling that to you is a liar.
It drives me crazy that that is out there in the world because that is not how life works. You never achieve happiness. You never achieve confidence. It doesn’t stay forever. And what I try to teach is how to get through the periods of insecurity. How to get past the shame attack. How to take off the warm, cozy sweater so that you have strategies on what to do as you’re moving through life. And these things, hopefully, inevitably will come to you because you’ll continue to grow.
That is my message today and sharing my personal shame attack and all that stuff. I didn’t want to get into all the details because I don’t think they matter. What matters is how I learned and grew and my observations from the event. Okay, gang. That’s the show. Thanks for listening. I’ll be back next week with a Q&A. I think I was supposed to do the Q&A this week, but I got so excited about this particular message that I sidetracked the Q&A. Q&A is next week.
If you have a question, go to the live-happier.com/podcast website, and you can leave a question, or you can just email me: NancyJane@live-happier.com. And I will answer all those questions next week. Thanks so much.
To listen to past shows click here
Subscribe and Never Miss an Episode:
Like the Show? Leave a Review
If you enjoy the Happiness Hacks Podcast, please, take a minute and leave a review in iTunes. This helps more people find the show. Simply head to iTunes and leave a review. You can review the show by clicking here. Thank you!!