Whose attention did you seek the most when you were a child and how is this still playing out in your life?
This question usually sparks some dynamic conversations and opens the door to deeper conversations around shame. Shame for behaviors, reactions, patterns, thoughts or habits playing out that we realize may be the very thing keeping us back in our relationships, careers or life. Shame for having the behaviors or patterns in the first place. And as we peel back the layers, shame for the behaviors being a coping mechanism for what we did or didn't receive or that we felt it necessary to have it in the first place to feel "whole."
Often, the conversation on shame leads back to childhood and family... When we grow up in an environment where who we are, our feelings, thoughts or behaviors aren't deemed acceptable, good enough or important, it's our primal instinct to curb our behavior to fit into the tribe/ family/ group. To stuff those "unacceptable" things down so that they don't resurface and cause us more discomfort, pain or trigger our nervous systems into fight or flight from the sheer fear of being "too" yet again. Long term these coping mechanisms can morph into perfectionism, lack of boundaries, explosive anger, angst, fear, indecisiveness or an inability to connect or be vulnerable.
Our relationship with our emotions can be just as powerful as the emotions themselves and just like we would nurture a new friendship or relationship, to shift the relationship with shame requires a level of nurturing with love, compassion and understanding as well. Get infatuated with romancing and caring for your whole-self... What would happen if the inner dialogue shifted from "stop doing that" and "why did I do that" to "what was I needing when I did that.” How different would our experiences, interactions, worth, feelings and relationships be then?