Episode Six: Self approval, and other shame anti-dotes

Apr 26, 2022

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Hello, siblings. Welcome to the Sensory Siblings podcast. I'm your host, Louisa Shaeri. And this is beaming to you from The SOLA System, the liberatory framework and 'unmasking unschool' for creative, autistic-identified folks who were seeking another way to see, know and be yourself. This is a radical reimagining of what's possible when we redefine ourselves from within, by unlearning who we are not, making self-connection our goal, activating the languages of our sensory oriented perception, and creating the culture shifts to activate futures and selves. It all starts within.

Hey, siblings.

So today, I want to get into an icky subject, which I've certainly experienced, and had to dig into plenty of times, and I imagine will be part of your journey as well. And the subject is shame, Euw, yuk, nooooo, we don't want to go there. Because it's such a bad feeling, right? But stay with me. Because shame offers you one of the most powerful tunnels of Un but stay with me, because shame is an invitation into one of the most powerful Tunnels of Un. So today, I want to unpack shame, and how you can think about it in a useful way and answer that call that it represents. Because it's a side effect of learning to people, please.

And then finding out that you can't always please people. And when you live according to pleasing other people, you don't live your own life, but you start living like an arcade machine ball ping pong in between what other people want. Sometimes people are displeased, and they let us know. And if we've made other people's approval, important, then when they do this, when they express being displeased, we experience shame. And so we avoid doing that thing again. And so when in the future, we need to do that thing. Or that thing that we were shamed for represents a positive evolution, it again, reproduces that feeling of shame, and boxes us into old versions of people pleasing actions to try and avoid the shame, when the way to deal with shame, is to go right into it, and feel through it, move it out of your body, and at the same time to know that it's just emotions that are coming from old ideas, past models of who you thought you get to be.

In other words, it's the product of thoughts about yourself, the other side of that tunnel of un, of feeling through it, and knowing that the thoughts that might accompany those feelings aren't through the other side of going through that is an inner freedom to please yourself, and only yourself, of having your own approval, and to discover that the social consequences of having your own approval might not lead to the social death you expect it to be. So let's go deeper. So notice how shame, it feels like it kind of contains the idea that someone else is looking at you and finding you less than not good enough, not enough, and how shame is I'm thinking of other people's perspectives on me.

And then, through their perspective, finding myself inadequate or bad or wrong, or rubbish. It's something I should be good at, or should be, or that I should be something other than what I am right now. So I'm going to restate the start of that sentence. I'm thinking of other people's perspective on me. It's I'm and it's thinking, it's that I'm doing that thinking. The feelings of shame and inadequacy are coming directly from the thoughts that I am thinking. It's me that is doing the shaming. So I might be using other people's thoughts and projecting what I imagine their thoughts to be. But those projections are still in my own thoughts. There is no way that I can actually know what other people are thinking even if they tell me what seems like their thoughts about me If I'm trying to second guess their thoughts, actually puts my focus on trying to control their thoughts, or modify myself to please them, instead of being in my own experience, and therefore in touch with my own ability to please myself, and approve of myself. So no one else can shame you, unless, in your own thinking on some level, you are in agreement with them in some way. So in your own thoughts or beliefs about yourself, even if they're not conscious, so no one else can shame you unless that's there is some kind of unconscious belief in you that agrees with what they are saying or shaming you for. So shame is a feeling and emotion creating the body by those thoughts or beliefs of inadequacy, the emotion is real, but the thoughts producing them may not reflect what people actually think, nor what is actually true for you. It being true, is impossible to know. And it's actually irrelevant. So a thought or belief is, is useful and empowering and productive. If it energises you, if it feels like this is a reality that I have energy for, that I can grow in. Shame is a recoil, it's the opposite. It's de energising it stooping, low and withdrawing of energy or hiding. It's a kind of self loathing. It's the invisible lines drawn. It's a parenting tactic, as social conditioning tool to force an agreement of social hierarchy, and importance and correctness, it's coercion. These are the lines and if you cross them, we will make you feel bad. How dare you? Who do you think you are? Idiot are being laughed at or being disapproved of. So to shame someone is to attempt to impose values onto them, to get them to conform to your reality and your idea of should, what they should be, what is the right thing to do. And crucially, at the same time, these conditions of approval, these shoulds will also make you feel good. If you comply with them, if you stick within them, oh, I got that feeling of having someone's approval, I got an A star, I passed the conditional acceptance standards, I got a smile of acceptance, I got a sense that I'm meeting someone's expectations for me, I won that praise. I am like to I am approved of. And so it feels good. So you want more. And this is the difficulty and anguish and horror of shame. It's believing that there are conditions on your belonging, and your worthiness and your love-ability. So being stuck between the good feeling of getting approval, and the bad feeling of what happens when you don't, governs so many of our behaviours and the things that we do. And yet it's it's ping pong in between what other people want for us, and ignoring our own preferences and our own source, inner source of self approval. Brene Brown has lots to say about shame. She has said things like keep a list of people whose opinions matter in your wallet and discount everyone else's opinion. And I'm paraphrasing here. And she also talks about if they aren't also in the arena in the ring, experiencing what it takes to put yourself out there, then their opinions on my putting myself out there don't count. So the people you love the most and the people who are taking the same risks, only their opinions count. Now I love Brene Brown, but I have to disagree. Because I don't think anyone's opinion of you matters or counts even the people closest to you. Because it really doesn't help you one bit to put other people's thoughts or you imagine them to be and other people's approval of you above your own. So how they treat you how you treat them. How will you feel how they feel that counts? But to have your own approval means that other people's approval or dis approval is irrelevant. And this is what I believe Maya Angelou meant when she talked about belonging, you are only free when you realise you belong, no place, you belong every place, no place at all, the price is high, the reward is great. So the price is high, because you have to give up those highs that come from gaining those micro approvals, like the dopamine hits of likes on social media, like getting the a stars getting the approval of your caregivers, you have to give up taking them in and making the mean anything about you or your worthiness, you have to stop using other people's approval, as a way to distract yourself from your own life and what you aren't happy with. And the reward is great. Because when you have your own approval, you have total inner freedom, that freedom doesn't have to mean rejection. And that rejection, if you do experience other people rejecting you, hurts so much less, because your ego isn't invested in conforming to other people's versions of you, and their opinions of you, and their values, and their standards and their shoulds. And in fact, you probably mutually agree, if someone disapproves of you, or has a problem with you, that you aren't a good match, they don't share your values, and that you don't need them to approve of you because they're just not your person. When you have your own approval, it's inner peace. It's no longer having to check yourself against someone else's standard. It's so much more internal space. It's even boring. There's nothing to chase, no standard to me. It's drama free, you can start taking actions based on a deeper, more meaningful motivation. That is more about your own growth and discovery. And getting to know Hey, what are I actually like? What do I actually want or need? What would I do? If no one could disapprove. There's no drama, there's no looking outside yourself. So I offer to you that thoughts from other people, you can literally drop them out of your attention, they aren't possible for you to know, noise trying to get them going to lead you anywhere helpful in your relationship to yourself or nor with others. And what some people have, after years of people pleasing, which I had, is a kind of background incessant internal monologue of checking self against the presumed perspective of this outside gaze. And this would play loudly when I was by myself, even when I was in my own company, it would be a kind of rehearsing and practising, and checking if I'm still acceptable, even when I'm in my own company, that kind of self monitoring, and self surveilling of my own thoughts and my own actions. So if that's something that you notice that comes into play, especially when you're by yourself, that is in the background, know that it's just habits. And it's almost like an engine that's been running for so long, that it's just still got momentum. And so all you have to do is notice it. Think of it like a radio in the background. And take it as a signal that this is a moment when you can drop into a greater level of self connection. And eventually it will stop. So eventually, when you keep noticing and then keep choosing to instead come into self connection, even if it's running in the background. Still, it will be a habit that slowly loses that momentum. And eventually, soon enough, it stops. When you've been practising imagining other people's thoughts, they've become big and powerful in your attention and in your ego is trying to recreate and guaranteed that hit of dopamine approval and that sense of social safety. And so withdrawing from the habit means that you can actually start to be in your life and find out what your actual life is and what you actually feel about it. So not even your dearest favourite person's opinion their thoughts about you matters. Therefore Thoughts are their thoughts. And they are about the person who's thinking them, and not really about you. Being your own best friend, not judging yourself or anything. Focusing on making self connection, your goal, and letting go of the habit of second guessing and checking yourself against this idea of what you should be, in order to try and keep getting those hits of approval. Imagining other people's thoughts is like, going to a YouTube comment section and asking for life advice, the response is going to be low quality, it's going to be focused on being right. It's some random person's thoughts that are coming from outside of your body, what they think you should do. And instead of connecting with what's right for you, making your own decisions approving of yourself, because you're living according to your preferences, and you never even pick up other people's approval or disapproval. It's belongs to them. You don't take it as yours. So two things, drop that habit of second guessing other people's thoughts, know that you can't even change their thoughts, you can't know what they are. And to if you encounter shame, get excited. Because there is total freedom, the other side of feeling through and experiencing that shame, it's a tonne of fun. So feel it sit with it really go into the anguish and the discomfort of it, knowing that it's temporary. And then notice what thoughts are company, how they're just mental conditionings that the thoughts that you imagined people have about you are just happening in your head. And that you don't have to imagine what they are. So they're just made up stories that are happening in your mind, not in theirs. And you can let go of them. The feeling of shame feels real, because it's a real emotion. So feel it, hold your own hand through it until you've released it. But it's an emotion produced by a model of reality that isn't true for you. And the reason you know it's not true, is because it feels like shame. So find the thoughts that you don't want to think anymore that are producing that shame. Question them? Is this true? Is this a thought that produces good feelings in me, when I think this thought do I become who I want to be. So this is different from rebelling, this is not fu I'm doing the opposite of what you want. So we don't want to get into rebellion, which is still caring what other people think. So rebellion can create a bit of room to start to not care to start to drop concern with what people are thinking about you. But you want to just drop the habit of imagining that you have any idea what people think that it's any of your business, and then it's helpful. Now, if the shame feelings come directly from someone shaming you, in person, this is actually giving you two things. One is giving you information about what they what rules they live by what rules they have for themselves, that are being confronted by something that you are doing. And it's also giving you an opportunity to dig into where might you be in agreement with what they express that is intentionally or unknowingly creating shame in you. And if you feel shame, because of what someone says, Where is it that you can recognise that you don't have to agree with something that creates shame. These are the threat of social death, but not actual death. inadequacy feels like rubbish, because it's not true. And so know that it's just about your own thoughts. It's in your control. And it's just the feeling that there are conditions on your belonging. Feeling the shame means temporary walk in the muck, the grossness that tunnel in order to move it out of your body. And in order to dive into that mark and find the thoughts at the root and pull them out. Look at them recognise that they aren't helping you and let them go. The other side of this Tunnel of Un is so much incredible choice. A new freedom from the thoughts of not enoughness you are enough. There is literally nothing you have to do or be or say, or experience or get right, or fulfil, or correct in order to be enough. So where are you making something mean? That you aren't enough to be enough means to know that unconditionally, you are worthy of love, support belonging, connection from birth with zero conditions, even if you aren't experiencing those things right now that if you don't meet a standard set by someone else, including yourself, it's either that you're still learning and gaining a skill, or that it's a mismatched expectation that is not meant for you. And that you can learn instead, to appreciate what is unique about you, and have gratitude for who you are. And the fact that you're alive. internalised ableism often feels like shame, triggered by other people expressing their thoughts or values, or by newly identifying as disabled and then suddenly, you are part of a whole subset of people who society deems as an underclass as not worthy. And suddenly, that sense of not enoughness is in your conscious awareness because you're newly identifying with it. So that's just something to work through and feel through. extractive capitalism feels like shame, because it's an engine of linearity, in which your value is determined by your ability to produce capital, and tax and labour, and along preset lines of resource flows that move away from you. It's the denial of simply the fact that you're alive here worthy of that life, and that your value has nothing to do with your ability to produce profit, or tax or babies, that resources are meant for mutual exchange and sustenance, and not extraction into fossil fuels. Your worthiness is already a given. Societal norms feel like shame, because they say, there is a correct way to be, and anything outside of that is incorrect or deficient or rude, or uninteresting, or unworthy of attention and acknowledgement and celebration, and admiration. So to conclude, other people's thoughts are a dead end, a cul de sac, it leads you nowhere. And shame is a gift. Because it's pointing to unconscious, learned thoughts that are in your way, and that you can untangle and feel. And in doing so you gain the gift of having your own mind, and of shame free existence. When you've unwound the thoughts underneath the shame, then no one can use those types of thoughts to harm you. Being so called different, not fitting in becomes the greatest gift because your body reacts so strongly with shame in response to normative thoughts and systems and structures, that it actually gives you a very loud compass, to exit those into knowing that your existence is a miracle of epic, infinite proportions, that your one life belongs to you, and is yours to direct as you see fit. And you see what fits you when you clean the lens with which you see yourself, cleaning away all of the shame producing thoughts that skew the narrative of who you are, that distort your self concept with the weight of what you imagine other people's gaze to be cleaning all of that so that self clarity is possible. And you clean it by feeling all of the shame feeling it out of your body, getting to the root of the thoughts or unconscious beliefs, that there is some kind of condition on your acceptability and your worthiness. So some antidotes to shame, telling your story and having another human witness it with total non judgement and acceptance, receiving coaching to address and find and unwind the beliefs that are active in you. Coaching is what helps you clean the lens with which you see yourself questioning those thoughts knowing that if they don't feel good, they aren't useful. Meanwhile, feeling that emotion, that difficult emotion so it's not stuck in your body, witnessing others tell their experiences that you share and maybe feel shame around and realising that you don't reject them for And thereby experiencing a new level of self acceptance. So all of this is available in The SOLA System. If you want support to unwind the thoughts and beliefs that you personally have absorbed throughout your lifetime, that are now holding you back, consider joining The SOLA System, going through the process receiving coaching directly, let's address it now. So you can move through quickly, with support, start seeing change quickly, and then building momentum into designing your life as your life instead of waiting, believing you aren't ready, living according to other people's agendas or warped self concept. And then nothing changes. And you start to believe that change is impossible. So this is exactly why I created it. This is why it's so long, it's six months. But it's underpinning is the foundation of the rest of your life. This is why the live calls are essential, you get to have that human to human connection and witness. This is why coaching is integral, because it's those techniques or strategies for quickly identifying and pulling out and replacing beliefs that no longer work for you that are holding you back with ones that are actually going to help you, there is always another level of self belief that you can get to every time you take a new step towards a new goal, some old beliefs will start to show up and invite you into another tonne of iron and into, Hey, maybe I don't want to be thinking that about myself anymore. Maybe the thoughts and the kind of persona and the constructed identity that has been about fitting in or people pleasing is something I want to evolve beyond. This is the container to do that work. And it's not hours and hours and hours of healing before I can do anything. It's find the root causes, and move through it quickly so that you can start to make change. So imagine it if you could guarantee zero judgement, zero negative thoughts from other people? What would you choose to do? What would you choose to wear? What would you do with your day to day? How would you structure it? What choices would you make? And what secret dreams would you go for? And in a future episode, I'll get into secret dreams. It's been a subject of discussion in the solar system with siblings in there. And we'll get into how to think about making admitting a secret dream and then making that big dream happen. strategies for how you get yourself to do things without force and without conforming and without feeling like everything is an expectation that you won't meet. Okay, so that's it siblings. Talk to you next week. Thanks for listening to this week's sensory siblings podcast. Head over to where you can join the + Siblings Discord server, and discuss the topics explored with other listeners. And if you're ready to go deeper into activating your future self, I want to invite you to join my six month unmasking. unschool called the Solar System + siblings who are going to unlearn the habits of self negating then create self esteem, self clarity, and the self belief to model the social esteem that will create culture shifts, first in yourself and then rippling out into everything you do and beyond. Head over to, where you can join The SOLA System + Siblings and I will see inside.




is for #autistic-status visionaries, creatives and change-makers, who are seeking a more empowering way to see, know and be yourself.