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Focusing Tip #683 – “I made a mistake and now I feel my guts turning around”

Focusing Tip #683 – “I made a mistake and now I feel my guts turning around”
December 4, 2019 Ann Weiser Cornell
Do your guts twist up with shame when you make a mistake, even a very innocent one? Read on...

Focusing Tip #683 – “I made a mistake and now I feel my guts turning around”

Do your guts twist up with shame when you make a mistake, even a very innocent one? Read on…


Ada writes:

As a boss, I made a mistake today. I decided something that affected my clients, and they complained.

It was an innocent mistake but I’m very harsh with myself, blaming myself for that stupid mistake. I feel that my guts are turning around and I feel very shamed and blaming myself for that. Can you help me?

Dear Ada:

Yes, the “shame shock” that an inner critic can give us often feels like a punch in the gut. It’s very unpleasant!

Right away when this happens, here is the “first aid”:

ONE: Pause and feel the support under your body. Breathe.

TWO: Put a gentle hand on the place where your body feels bad, and say to that place, “Yes, I know you’re feeling bad.”

THREE: Use this language: “I am sensing something in me feeling really ashamed and bad about that mistake.”

That’s what you can do right away… but there is a lot more going on here.

After you acknowledged the “ashamed part” that feels so bad in the body, you might also want to acknowledge the “shaming part” — also known as the inner critic. Also known, in Inner Relationship Focusing, as a Protector.

Here’s how I’d recommend acknowledging this type of part:

ONE: Acknowledge what it is saying — but without agreeing or disagreeing. For example: “I am sensing something in me is saying that was a stupid mistake and I’m wrong and bad.”

TWO: Wonder if it might be worried. “I am wondering if it might be worried about me making mistakes… and what it is worried will happen.”

Shame around making mistakes and not being perfect is quite common. I have a short on-demand seminar that goes into this. It’s called Proudly Imperfect.

I know this pattern so well! Mistakes used to be excruciating for me. But now they don’t bother me… I learn, repair, connect with the other people involved, and move forward. Thanks to Focusing!

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