[0:00:09.6] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to The Alpha Male Coach podcast. The only podcast that teaches men the cognitive mastery and alpha mindset that it takes to become an influential and irresistible man of confidence. Here is your host, certified life coach and international man of mystery, Kevin Aillaud.
[0:00:32.6] KA: What’s up my brothers, welcome back to the Alpha Male Coach Podcast. I am your host Kevin Aillaud and today we are continuing to identify and discuss emotions this month as November is mastering emotional ownership in the Spartan Agoge and that’s that 365-day training program to develop the skills of cognitive mastery and emotional ownership.
Now, last week guys, was the podcast on loneliness. There was a huge response from that. Loneliness is heavy, I know a lot of guys struggle with that. Today, we’re going to talk about shame. Now, before I do that, go over to iTunes and leave me a rating and review, do this now, it will take one minute. It might take less than a minute, just a couple words in the review, you know, five-star rating, hit the quick five-star.
Now, here’s the thing. We’re going to talk about shame today and I’m not trying to shame you into doing this because as most of you already know or will find out today, other people don’t create shame, right? Your thoughts create shame. I’m telling you to do this because if you love this content and you want to share it with other people then definitely tell your friends and also leave me a rating and review because then the podcast gets boosted in iTunes and more people can find it. If you already done that, thank you very much, we got like 110 ratings, that’s beautiful, I appreciate that, our goal is 500.
Now, today, we’re going to be talking about a feeling that humans definitely have a lot. In fact, it’s called the most human emotion. That emotion is shame. Shame is one of the emotions that we feel the most often, but we understand it the least.
[0:02:15.5] KA: At the same time, it’s an emotion that shapes and drives so much of our behavior both when we are feeling it and when we are resisting or avoiding feeling it because when we are feeling ashamed, we blame ourselves and we withdraw. But we’re also so averse to feeling shame that we will often turn it into anger and lash out at other people to try to avoid lashing out at ourselves, which of course doesn’t work.
Shame creates a lot of conflict and distress, both with ourselves and with other people. Because it’s such a common and deeply felt emotion, we’re often led to avoid it and turn to buffering which leads to addictions of all kinds. It is rare a human alive today, my friends, who doesn’t buffer with something especially with all the additional forms of false pleasures we have in the world.
Shame is a universal emotion, there is a word for it in every language. In fact, the origin of the word shame is thought to come from the oldest of languages, the very first languages and in those languages, the word itself means, to cover. I think that is so perfect, that’s the perfect image for shame because shame thrives in darkness and its secrecy and when we feel ashamed, we don’t want to be seen, it’s impossible to feel shame about something that everyone knows about and doesn’t care about.
Because shame is caused by your predictions about the judgment of others. Of course, those are really your judgments about yourself that you are projecting. What you need to know right away, brother, is that shame is not caused by any particular action that you have taken or any experience that you have had.
[0:03:58.3] KA: Shame is caused by your thoughts about yourself. Period. That is it. Generally, those thoughts about your own unworthiness, weakness or inadequacy. In the social dynamics of anthropology, which I talk about so often, humans are so averse to shame because it has a powerful role in social cohesion. Human evolution may have selected for shame. I mean, think about this, when humans begin to bond into primitive tribes, adherence to social norms was essential for survival and those norms required cooperation.
If you were just out for yourself, you weren’t serving the group and everyone suffered. It’s hypothesized that those primitive humans that felt shame when they didn’t live up to the group’s rules or expectations were more likely to try hard to work for the group’s benefit. The theory is that shame motivated you to repair your relationships and try to make other people like you after you had screwed up or harmed them or whatever.
You can see that guilt can feel similar but it’s very different than shame. Where guilt is the thought, I have done something wrong and it comes from your thought about your actions, shame sounds more like there’s something wrong with me which comes from a thought about yourself. The problem is that shame has metastasized from this purpose and for a lot of us, it affects every area of our lives.
Let me be clear with you guys, in the year 2019, whether everybody in the tribe likes you, no longer impacts your daily survival. When it was a trade off between feeling shame and being left behind to die, shame might have been a useful choice. But now, it’s not serving you brother at all, every. What remains is that we tend to feel shame when we have thoughts about not adhering to certain norms. Now, for men, this can be elusive and insidious.
[0:05:46.2] KA: For a man living in the year 2019, it’s almost impossible to not feel shame if we don’t manage our minds with cognitive mastery. Because we’re basically taught that being a man is inherently shameful in one way or another. Either we adhere to outdated social norms of dominance and aggression and competition and, you know, emotions are shameful and all of those outdated definitions of being an alpha male and then we’re shamed for having this toxic masculinity and in some cases we bring shame to ourselves with the cognition.
You know, this is isn’t me, this is not my best version, this is just what society expects from me. Or, we have the pendulum swinging the other way, right? Where we’re told that real men show their emotions and cry at movies and you know, we’re holding babies and doing the laundry and chores or whatever. And then we feel shame because this isn’t the best version of who we are either. When we’re just always trying to react to emotion and playing this role of people pleasing and trying to make other people happy with that whole happy wife, happy life thing, right?
We’re taught so many sets of conflicting social norms, we’re taught to be emotionless but put your emotions on display for everyone to see, right? We’re taught, be confident but not too confident because then you’re just arrogant. And all of these kind of contradictions and paradoxes. It’s just inevitable that we will fail to live up to our mental standards for ourselves and then we’ll feel shame.
[0:07:09.3] KA: Now look, if you are a father and taught that you should be driven by your career but also care about your kids more than anything else, you’re going to feel a lot of shame every time you prioritize one for the other. You know, you’re caught in this catch 22. This catch 22 of you know, societal norms. Now, fundamentally, shame is a problem of self-worth and self-acceptance. It’s very closely related to perfectionism for obvious reasons. When you hold yourself to unrealistic standards, you feel a lot of shame.
When you accept yourself and all your imperfections, all your flaws and guys, you know, I use this term very loosely because we are both perfect and imperfect beings. Which is a whole other paradox for you but when we accept ourselves, we don’t feel ashamed but when you believe you’re unworthy, you do. Shame is not an objective indication that you have done something wrong, it is not related to circumstance, it is not related to action. I’ve had students who are ashamed that they’ve gotten a divorce and I’ve had students who are ashamed if they stayed married.
I’ve had students who are ashamed of their failures and I’ve had students who are ashamed of their successes. If they thought that they didn’t deserve to be successful. It has nothing to do with what you actually did or didn’t do. Shame is entirely caused by your thoughts about yourself and some of you feel ashamed just for being yourself, just for being who you are. You believe you are unworthy just for existing the way you do.
And then, some of you feel shame and guilt about specific actions you’ve taken or not taken. But either way, the route is the same. It’s a belief that you’re unworthy and unacceptable for taking whatever action that you might be thinking about. But let’s be very clear, it’s not a belief that the action you took or didn’t take was a mistake or a problem, that’s actually not what causes shame.
Believing that something is a mistake or our problem does not cause shame. Shame is the belief that you are unworthy or unacceptable for that action or that mistake. You can believe that you made a mistake without feeling shame at all. I’m going to say that again. Because I know a lot of you are making this face like what did he just say? I know a lot of you want to rewind this podcast. You can make an epic mistake, you can screw up royally, brother, you can completely up end your life and you can feel zero shame because shame comes from a thought about yourself.
[0:09:32.5] KA: It comes from believing that you are weak or pitiful or unworthy. Shame comes from a judgment about yourself. It doesn’t have anything to do with what actions you’ve taken or not taken or what has happened to you or not happened to you. It comes from a negative thought about yourself and about your worth.
Remember when I said that the evolutionary theory of shame is partly that humans are sensitive to it, because of the tribal social dynamic and because information got out that devalued you in other people’s eyes? It could impact your survival and how much everyone else cared about you. That is why you can think of shame as a status based emotion. It has to do with your perception of your status compared to other people in social norms. Negative thoughts about your status, your worth or your value are what produced the feeling of shame. A lot of people think that shame is motivating just like they think anxiety or fear is motivating but it is really not.
If you really pay attention to what your actions are when you are feeling shame, shame makes you want to hide. It makes you want to disappear. Think of that old word origin, right? Which means to cover. You want to cover yourself when you feel ashamed. You don’t want to meet other people’s eyes. You don’t want to make eye contact. You want to hide, you don’t even want to go out into the open. That does not motivate you to take action.
It doesn’t motivate you to fix any mistakes, to do anything positive for yourself or anyone else, to be creative and to have fun. Shame just wants to make you want to hide and comfort yourself usually with false pleasures with some kind of buffering. It doesn’t produce productive action but the truth is and you guys know this, shame is just a vibration in the cells of your body just like any other emotion. Now you guys are probably going to get tired of hearing me say that over and over again.
And that is so good because that will mean that you have learned it. If you get tired of hearing me saying it, it means you know it. Emotions are not harmful to us no matter how uncomfortable they might be and for some people, shame feels very hot, like it heats up your body. It raises your body temperature especially in the face, this flushed face and a flushed face doesn’t sound so bad. That is just basically like a sunburn but for most of us, shame completely is intolerable.
[0:11:44.1]: And we just do anything to get out of it. That is why shame can sometimes manifest as lashing out at other people. When we feel shame and it feels intolerable, we want to blame someone else. So we subconsciously think that if someone else takes the blame or the responsibility, we will be able to stop thinking we’re at fault and then we’ll feel better. For example, have you ever been called out on a mistake and you are so desperate to blame someone else for the mistake as quickly as possible.
Then it is probably because you are desperate not to feel shame. You had a thought about having done something wrong that product shame and you thought that if you could believe someone else had done something wrong or convince a third party that it wasn’t you, you’d feel better but of course even if you lash out, even if you successfully deflect the blame from yourself, you won’t feel any better because you are still thinking the same thought about yourself that causes the shame.
And the alternative to blaming other people is what? Lying, right? Just outright lying. You know this is done with a lot of behaviors, we feel shame around and want to hide from other people. When we tie our actions into our self-worth, when we make what we do mean something about who we are, we will lie to cover up any mistake or actions from which we fear judgment from other people.
Now guys check this out, the antidotes to shame are compassion and exposure. So compassion first and when you have compassion for yourself you don’t feel ashamed. When you fully accept yourself and love yourself no matter what, when you have your own back, you don’t feel ashamed because you choose never to think you are unworthy no matter what you do or don’t do or what happens or doesn’t happen. Now this is part of the first pillar of indomitable self-confidence. So if you go back all the way to the podcast on indomitable self-confidence, remember there are three pillars.
[0:13:32.0] And indomitable self-confidence is a state of being. Self-confidence is an emotion. We feel it, we create it with our thoughts. But indomitable self-confidence that is a state of being that we develop on purpose and we develop it through three pillars. The action pillar, the emotion pillar and the thought pillar and with that action pillar, when we accept and we love ourselves, we have our own back and we trust in what we say we are going to do.
And no matter what we do, we know that we are going to be our own best friend about it. We are not going to be beat ourselves up about it. We are never going to choose to think that we are unworthy or that there is something wrong with us. You know that is that first pillar and the third pillar, the pillar of the positive thoughts we have about ourselves. The second antidote to shame is exposure.
Now shame really thrives in scarcity and in darkness. Because again, to cover is the word. You know the word shame means to cover. So it thrives being covered. When we believe our own thoughts about why we should be ashamed that is when we hide, right? And we believe the story in our brain, it is telling us that we should feel ashamed. That is what we want to hide, we project our own beliefs onto other people and we fear their judgment.
When we show up and we tell the truth about what we’ve done and not done and about our thoughts and emotion, our inner experience the way we see the world, we don’t feel as much shame because we hear and see that other people have had that exact same experience. We are all in this together guys. That is the thing, the human experience is a universal experience and most importantly, we are owning the authenticity of our own experience and just being honest about what is happening in our brains and in the cells of our bodies, right?
[0:15:11.3] In our emotions and in our feelings, we experience solidarity instead of isolation and we often experience acceptance instead of the judgment that we fear. When you keep your shame to yourself, you are perpetuating the cycle. When you share your shame with other people you are sending a message to your own brain, which is what matters. It doesn’t matter what other people think, but you are sending a message to your own brain.
To yourself that you won’t be held hostage and you don’t have anything of which to be ashamed about. Exposing the darkness of shame to the light of vulnerability neutralizes it. It just takes it away so the next time you feel ashamed and you are worried about what other people think about you, I want you to ask yourself what you are thinking about yourself. What are the ways you are finding yourself unworthy? What are the ways you are judging yourself?
How is that shame, how is that emotion serving you? Shame and self-confidence are related in inverse proportion because self-confidence is based on self-acceptance. It’s impossible bro, to feel ashamed and self-confident at the same time. Self-confidence is based on self-acceptance and self-acceptance is the antidote to shame. One of the results of cognitive mastery and emotional ownership is indomitable self-confidence. I just mentioned, that is a powerful state of being, rooted in that emotion of self-confidence.
If you want to start working on your self-acceptance and your self-confidence, I have something that will totally help you out. I want to invite you to join a community of men dedicated to learning the skills of cognitive mastery and emotional ownership. You guys are invited, the Elevated Alpha Society Spartans are a team of cognitive warriors.
Now, they’re a very special team because they’ve been forged by the blade, right? They’ve been forged by fire and ice, these are men who have had difficult pasts and have persevered to build resilience and fortitude. Very often, the victories in battles that we have from the past that both develop our resilience and fortitude have also left us with the scar of shame. Which is the cognitive lies form your brain telling you that you are not worthy or that something is wrong with you.
What could you do to cultivate some compassion in your life to practice some exposure to the lies in your brain that are telling you to feel shame. And to release some of that shame out of your body so that you n ever feel it again. What you can do brother is join the Spartans, begin your one year Agoge training and imbue yourself with indomitable self-confidence. I look forward to working with you and until next week, my brother, elevate your alpha.
[END OF EPISODE]
[0:17:54.4] ANNOUNCER: Thank you for listening to this episode of the Alpha Male Coach Podcast. If you enjoyed what you’ve heard and want even more, sign up for Unleash your Alpha: Your guide to shifting to the alpha mindset, at the alphamalecoach.com/unleash.