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Episode 128: Shame is the Enemy of Change

Oct 14, 2021
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April Price Coaching
Episode 128: Shame is the Enemy of Change

Episode Summary

Shame is the most universal human emotion. We all feel it. And sometimes we think it’s necessary to feel shame in order to change and to do things differently in our lives.

However, shame is the enemy of change. Shame keeps us stuck and repeating the same behaviors because shame causes us to hide. And hiding doesn’t help at all. To makes changes, we need to look closer, have more awareness, and curiously examine why we are doing what we’re doing.

In this week’s episode, I’ll show you that not only is shame unnecessary and useless, it’s also sabotaging you and keeping you from making the changes you want.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thought you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome!

Hello, podcast universe. Welcome to episode 128 of the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April Price and I cannot tell you how happy I am to be here today. Every morning I do a thought download, and I figure out like what is happening in my brain. And this morning I did a little exercise where I asked myself, how do I want to feel? How do I want to feel today as I coach and as I record this podcast? And one of the feelings that I wrote down was love. I want to feel love, and I do. Whenever I think about you, I love that you are out there. I love that you are listening. I love that I live in a world where this is even a thing like where I can have an idea in one part of the world at one time in the history of the world, and that later other people can hear it wherever they are, whenever they are. And that my voice, and these thoughts, and these ideas can be in your head somewhere else in this world is like a magical, amazing thing.

Like, I just sometimes I'm just like, I cannot believe this is the world I live in, so I am so happy to be here. I love being here, and I love it that you are here. And just as a little like plug like that is a great little mini emotional makeover. That question how do I want to feel right? Like, remember that thinking always happens in the present. We are always thinking in a present moment, and that is creating an emotion for you. And so, if you want to feel better and any present moment, you just need to think a different thought. So, you ask yourself, how do I want to feel, and then what would I need to think in order to feel that. It's an awesome little trick to have a little like instant emotional makeover?

And speaking of emotional makeovers, I have another one for you. I told you about this last week, but I wanted to remind you that I have a course called "How God Really Feels About You:Three Secrets to Feeling His Love. I think that so many of us are missing out on the feeling of God's love. We're just totally missing it out on it, believing that he disapproves of us, believing that he's disappointed in us, that he wishes that we were different, or that we were doing it different. I just want you to know that I do not believe that's true, and I think it can make such a difference in your life to believe, and to know how much God loves you so you can get access to this little course. It's totally free, go to my website It's all one word or you can text 66866. You just put that number into your phone 66866 and text the word howGodfeels again, all one word howGodfeels, and it will send you back a link and get you that course. So, I hope that all of you will do that so that you can feel differently about how God feels about you.

Okay, and with that onto the episode, I am happy to be here because today I want to talk to you about shame, and how I think shame is the emotion that keeps us stuck, and keeps us from changing the most, okay? So, it's kind of surprising because, like shame sort of feels necessary to change, right? Like, we sort of think we have to be doing something wrong, or we have to want to change something, and and feel bad about something, have some shame about something in order to change. But in fact, I think that shame is the very thing that prevents us, and stops us from change. Like, if shame could change us, I think we would all be living vastly different lives already, right? Like, we're all very good at shame, and yet we just keep living the same lives. And if shame worked like, we would get some serious change in ourselves, and in the world because the truth is, all humans are really, really good at shame, right?

Brené Brown says that shame is the most common, most universal human emotion like the emotion that we feel the most as human beings. So, if shame was good at changing us, then we would all be change experts. We would be changing all the time because we are also good at feeling shame. But shame actually doesn't create change, it keeps us stuck. And it's the biggest reason that most of us stay the same, and repeat behaviors, even behaviors that we don't like. And so, that's what I want to talk to you about today how your self critical, self disparaging, shameful thoughts are keeping you from who you want to be, and showing up in your life the way that you want to and creating the results that you want ultimately.

So, first, I wanted to start with a story. So, the other day I was getting ready for the day and my daughter texted in the family group chat and she was like, Hey, did anybody use my account? Anybody use my bank account to buy something on Amazon, right? And everybody's like, No, we didn't. So, it turns out like she was waiting very like nervously for her payday, right? She had $14 in her account, okay? And she was waiting for payday, which was a couple of days away, and she had gone to school that day. She and a friend were talking about how they don't have any money, and she's like, No, really, I really don't have any money. Look, and she was going to show her her balance, which was fourteen dollars, but when she opened it up, it was like a dollar 97, and she was like, Oh no, where did that $10 go right or whatever? It was $12. She was like, that money was there, and now it's not, right? And so, she was like, okay, who used my card at Amazon? Because I didn't buy anything, I was waiting until Friday.

Anyway, I was like, hey, don't worry about it. I will look into it later and I'll see what the charges for, and I'll check into it, right? So, I go and I do that, and turns out through a little research, I found out that Amazon had been charging Olivia's account for our family, like Amazon Prime purchases, right? So, like, we have these subscriptions, so we have Amazon Prime that shows us these videos, and then you can add subscriptions. So, we had like inadvertently added like subscriptions as we wanted to watch things. But Amazon had been charging Olivia's account for it instead of ours, her card for it instead of the family card, or like my card. So, anyway, like I added it all up, it had been going on since, like about the time the pandemic started. And so, I added it all up, and it turns out over the last year and a half 770 dollars had come out of her account to cover these subscriptions, right? She was just totally unaware that she was footing the family like viewing bill, right? Like, it was just like she had no idea that every month, $50 was coming out of her account to cover all these subscriptions. Now, to be fair, I had no idea that we were paying 50 extra dollars a month for these subscriptions. So like, the awareness was, like, really important for everybody involved, right?

But what I wanted to like show you is like, I talked to her about like Olivia, didn't you notice like all these charges coming out of your account? And she said, I never look at my account like I just know it's always going to be bad, and so I never looked at it right? And this is what I want to like offer to you is happening for each one of us. Shame is keeping us from looking. Shame is keeping us from awareness of what is really happening. Shame is keeping us from seeing the real problem, and that lack of awareness is really what is preventing us from changing. Okay, so in Olivia's case, it's really easy to see shame for her balance, her checking account balance, shame for that result kept her from looking at why it was that way. Well, it was creating that, like, she didn't even want to know what was creating it. You just knew it was bad, right? So, she didn't look at it.

And so many times for each of us, we are doing the same thing. We look at the results in our lives, or we even look at the behaviors we're taking and we're just like, we're so ashamed about it. We just feel so bad about it, we we aren't even looking at the cause of it. We aren't looking at the cause of the real problem, which is always our thoughts. So, we think that shame is going to make us really aware of our faults and we really need it. But the truth is that it might be making you aware of your faults, but it doesn't make you aware of the cause, right? It keeps you from looking at the true cause. Like Olivia, she made her aware that she was failing at money, right? But it wasn't making her aware of why, right? And she couldn't see what was really creating the problem. And it is the same for us, whatever we are doing, or not doing, however we are behaving, or however, we are not showing up in the ways we want. What we want to know is why, like, why am I showing up that way? Why am I behaving that way? Why am I getting that result, right? Because what we do and what we create is just flowing downstream. It is just the natural results of our thoughts.

Just as Olivia's bank account balance is the natural consequence of transactions, right, those transactions in and of themselves are not good or bad, they're just math. It's just addition and subtraction, mostly subtraction, right? But it's just addition and subtraction of transactions, and the balance is just the natural consequence of those transactions, it is the same for us. Whatever result we have in our life is just the natural consequence of whatever transactions we have made in our mind. Whatever thoughts we've added, whatever thoughts we subtracted, whatever thoughts we have used that is creating downstream of it, our actions and our results. Okay, that is all that is happening, and we want to be so curious about that transactions that are happening in our mind. What thoughts am I thinking and adding? What thoughts are my subtracting or missing? Like when I think this, this is what I do, when I think that that's what I do, or not do, right? And if we weren't so mad at the balance, or the result we were getting in our life, then we could look at the transactions of thoughts, and understand what the real problem was and then make changes.

Okay, so if you are so mad at the results in your life, or the behaviors in your life, you don't look at the thought transactions that are creating them, and then you don't have awareness of the real problem and your shame, like, just makes you the problem and we stay stuck, okay? I want you to notice, like if I don't make the balance wrong, but just like a series of transactions, like if I don't make myself wrong for that, then I can look all day at why it is the way it is. Like, if Olivia doesn't make herself wrong for that balance, or the bank account like wrong in some way for that balance, then she can just look with total curiosity and openness at why it is the way it is and then make changes. But we have to use curiosity instead of shame. If we don't make ourselves wrong for how we're showing up what results were creating, then we can look all day long and get curious about why it is the way that it is. What am I thinking, what are the thoughts that are creating this for me? What am I believing about me, or my life, or my capacity that is creating this result for me?

This morning I had a session with my coach, and she is specifically helping me with my intimacy and and I was telling her like, I wasn't happy about some results that I had gotten over the last couple of weeks. And she asked me, what created that for you, right? Like, I was like, I'm not happy about this, and she's like, what is creating that for you? And I was like, Oh, like, I was like, I don't know, like, I haven't even looked at it, right? I just assumed that I was doing something wrong, that I was broken in some way, that my body wasn't working the way I wanted it to. But I'm not doing it right, right? And that, like, making myself wrong had prevented me from even looking at it. What was creating it? Well, it was like creating this experience for me. I hadn't really even looked at what was doing that, okay?

And so, this is just so powerful for all of us. If we don't make ourselves wrong, we aren't using shame to make us feel bad about the things in our life. Then we can ask, what is creating this for me? What thoughts am I thinking that is creating this experience for me? And we can't ask that question, and we can't find the answers to that question, if we have shame for what we've created, right? When we make ourselves wrong for what we are creating.

So, I would love it if you would think about something in your life that you don't like, right? Either a result or a behavior, and action that you're taking, or you're not taking. And I want you to notice first how you feel when you think about it. I do have shame. Do you do feel regret? Do you feel like embarrassed about it, right? Does your brain tell you that you are wrong, that you're doing it wrong in some way, that there's a problem with you because of this thing? That shame right there is keeping you from awareness about what is actually creating the behavior and the result in your life. The shame that you feel is actually keeping you from awareness about what is actually creating the result or the behavior in your life. And that is why shame is the very worst change agent in the world, okay? It just keeps us hiding instead of really being aware of what is creating this for us.

So, now what do we do? What do we do instead of shame? How do we overcome this shame so that we can create the change that we want in our lives? And what I'm going to offer is going to sound a little bit radical, you just have to go with me. Okay, so the first thing that we need to do is we have to make ourselves right, we have to make ourselves right. And I know that feels very dangerous, right? And it feels very scary, right? We're just like, Oh my gosh, like the last scrap of decent behavior left inside of me is my shame, so I can't let go of that, right? Like, without that, I'm just going to be a lazy, terrible person who does terrible things to other people and has no moral compass, right? Like, I need my shame, right? But I just want you to know that shame is not working for you. You have lived your life, you know, using shame and trying to get change with your shame. So, I want you to try this on. I want you to try on making ourselves right. And if it doesn't work for you, you can go back to shame any time you want, right? Shame is always there for you. It is always available, okay?

So, I want you to think about if our actions, and our results are just like the natural outcome of our thought, right? Just like in Olivia's bank account, her bank balance was just the natural result of transactions. Then, in fact, that bank balance is always right, all right? We want to look at that balance, we want to say that's wrong, it shouldn't be that low. It shouldn't look like that if you're an adult, right? And we want to call it wrong, but I want to offer to you that that is exactly right. The balance is always exactly, right? It's just the natural outcome of transactions, and it's the same with our life. We want to make our actions wrong. We want to make our results wrong, but they are always right. There are always the natural outcome, the natural result of the transactions of thoughts we've thought. Okay, it's always right, it can't be wrong. And so we can stop making ourselves wrong. Whatever we're doing, whatever we're creating, it's just the natural outcome of whatever thoughts we've had. And so, it's always reflecting exactly what has happened in that way. It is always right.

Okay, so like in Olivia's account, one plus one is two, right? Minus four is negative two, okay? So, that balance is always right given the transactions that have occurred, and I want you to start thinking about your behaviors, and results in the same way. Stop telling yourself that you're wrong, right? Like, stop telling yourself that your behaviors are wrong, they are exactly right in that you had that thought that created a feeling and drove those actions 100% right, right? It actually isn't wrong. We don't have to be ashamed about it, we can just say like, this is what happens when I think these thoughts, when I make this choice in my mind, this is what happens. Like, I think if you really start to think about it as right as like the natural outcome of thought, it will start to loosen up the shame for you.

So, for example, let's say that I want to be a person that exercises and but I have thoughts, right? I have thoughts that my brain gives me, like, I don't have time. I don't know where to start. This is going to be hard. This is going to take so much energy. I'm so out of shape. It's going to hurt. It's going to take forever. It's going to be embarrassing, right? And if I think these thoughts that's going to create a feeling of dread, or embarrassment, or shame, or frustration, or like a lovely combination of all of those emotions, and then I'm not going to go exercise because I feel dread, and embarrassment, and shame, and frustration. And so, I don't go exercise. And I need to stop telling myself that that's wrong. And you just stop saying that, like, this is so terrible that I don't go exercise, and you don't do the things I say I'm going to. I don't have to have shame about that. I should start thinking, well, of course, this action or inaction in this case isn't wrong, and neither am I. It is exactly right what created it.

And then suddenly I can get all kinds of awareness about what is creating this inaction in my life. What is creating this result of not exercising, right? Do you see a need to stop making your actions wrong, and telling yourself you're a bad person, or you're not doing it right? Like, if we can make those right, then we can ask ourselves, and what is creating that like? This is the natural result of something I'm thinking, which is creating an emotion for me, and driving me away from this action, okay?

So, then the very next step in that I hope you can see that is to stop making yourself wrong for the thoughts you have thought. So, shame is really sneaky, right? So, as soon as you make your actions and your results right and you're like, okay, they're just the natural result of what I'm thinking, then we're like, and I can't believe I'm thinking that right? It just moves the shame up to the thoughts. So, now we start to think like, I should be ashamed of these thoughts. Why am I picking these thoughts? I must be a terrible person. What kind of a person thinks these thoughts, right? But listen, I really want you to think about the fact that, like your brain is offering you thoughts all the time that are in line with its priorities. Remember, we talked about this last week that your brain has certain priorities to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and save energy, and the thoughts that offered you there for exercise, if we go back to that example are all about that. I don't know where to start. It's going to be hard. I don't have time. It's going to take a lot of energy. It's going to be embarrassing.

Like your brain is offering you these thoughts. And sometimes, yeah, we choose to think those thoughts, and believe those thoughts, and believe our brains negotiation. But that doesn't make you bad, and you don't have to be ashamed about it, okay? Your thoughts created it. You believed what your brain said, and it's fine. You chose thoughts that didn't serve you. What if that doesn't make you wrong, right? You don't have to make yourself wrong. You have the power and authority to choose curiosity over your thoughts. And if you choose curiosity instead of condemnation, then you can change any of the thoughts you want, okay? Your brain offered you thoughts, and there is such a huge difference between I can't believe I'm thinking that, and my brain has a really good reason for offering me the thought, right? I wonder what that is. I wonder why my brain would want me to think this. And then, what do I want to think instead, right? There is just such a huge difference between shame and responsibility.

Responsibility is like noticing I made this choice, and what do I want to choose instead? Shame is like I made this choice, and I can't believe I did that. I'm just it's, you know, I'm such a terrible person, right? Responsibility is where we notice with awareness, okay? I've been choosing this. What do I want to do next? Responsibility is where all the change and the power is. Whereas shame is where we stay the same, okay?

So, the other day I was listening to Ed Millets podcast and he was interviewing somebody. I think it was Chris Norton, and he was talking about this idea of radical responsibility, like taking radical responsibility for your life. And like, I love this idea, right? I'm all in on it. Like really understanding our agency and the power that we have to choose and that like that is all happening in our mind by the thoughts we are choosing, and taking 100% responsibility for that choice will help us then create the life we want. And I like thinking about doing that to a radical degree, but I think where you can get really radical, and really revolutionary in your responsibility, in taking responsibility is by not making yourself wrong in the process. Like taking responsibility without shame, without making yourself wrong. Radical responsibility for me is shifting from shame into curiosity, curiosity about the choice that I'm currently making and then taking ownership of that choice, right? Taking ownership of the choice that I want to make.

Like, okay, this is what I've been choosing to think, that doesn't serve me, what do I want to think instead? And if we do that without shame, and we do it over and over again, you can create amazing amounts of change in your life. Not stepping into shame. Not making yourself wrong is radical, because remember, the default choice of humans is shame, right? And so, it is completely radical to make yourself right, to make the actions, and results in your life, right. And to not make yourself wrong for it. Like it's so instinctive to make yourself wrong and like natural for us as humans, but is keeping every one of us stuck. If you want to live a radically different life, you have to start by giving up shame. By not making yourself wrong. But by making it all right so that then you can get curious about what thought transactions are creating your results, what thought transactions are driving your actions and then taking responsibility for those choices, like purposely choosing what you want to think so that it can create the actions and results you want in your life.

I think it can be really powerful to think about it like as neutrally as numbers. When I add this to this, this is what it creates in my life. And at any moment I can change the inputs, I can change the transactions, I can change the thoughts that are creating it, and take radical responsibility for my life. Like that is so powerful because one of the biggest obstacles to living differently than you are now, like from living your life the way you want to, from changing the things that you want to change is thinking you are doing it wrong. You are not doing it wrong. You are doing it exactly right, given the thoughts you are thinking. And if you are willing to look at those and have awareness for them, you can change any thought your thinking, and that will change everything else. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome. I love you for listening, and I'll see you next week!

A lot of us think that God is disappointed in us, after all, he knows everything about us. Everything about us isn't always amazing, but God is never disappointed in you and I want you to know why. Download my free course, How God Really Feels About You and learn three secrets that will help you feel his love. Go to And learn how much he loves, and approves of you exactly as you are.

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