Drowning in guilt and other overwhelming emotions? Here’s how to take back control!
Confidence & Mindset Coach
June 25,2020 at 8:04PM UTC
Hello, sweet friend!
Your friendly neighborhood certified self-love + confidence coach Kayla writing here with a slappin’ hot take on three of the biggest emotions that seem to hold us back and drag us down— when we should truly be rising up and feeling radiant with self-love!
Shame, guilt, and fear are powerful emotions that feel like they’re the three horsemen of the self-love apocalypse.
They’re destructive, counterproductive, and it can feel overwhelming to try to rise up when they’re walking all over you.
These three emotions feel SO familiar to us when they overtake us— they feel like they belong because we’ve carried them jangling in our nerves and sagging in our hearts for so long.
But that sense of belonging? That’s just a lie our brain tells to us.
The only reason why our unconscious mind allows us to feel shame, guilt, and fear is because they’re emotions that keep us safe, small and unadventurous. (Click here for more on why our brains want us to stay safe).
But it’s important to maintain perspective on the real truth here: because we know that shame, guilt, and fear are bad for us. We feel burdened, we feel the darkness curling around us, and we feel unsafe— huddled in the biting brine of self-hate.
That’s decidedly, unarguably, and terribly bad for us, sweet friend!
Nobody deserves to feel that way!
***YOU DON’T DESERVE TO FEEL THAT WAY!***
I used to feel utterly powerless when shame washed over me: Every time I disappointed someone else, disappointed myself, or didn’t measure up, it would crash into me like a tidal wave.
I would crumple sobbing on the floor by the bathroom sink with mucous pouring from my nose, feeling like I deserved every last ounce of shame that filled me.
Even now— last night— I felt the waves of it lapping at the shores of my own self-love and self-worth. My husband and I were arguing, and that familiar feeling of disappointing someone was creeping in.
And the power of training your brain, crafting a positive mindset, and making your self-worth a priority is evident in this metaphor, sweet friends:
There’s a difference between the times in life where I felt a tidal wave of shame…
…and now when I’ve felt shame’s little waves ebbing and flowing.
Because I’ve invested in shoring up my own self-love, I stand in a place of power over any shame, guilt or fear that tries to enter my mind.
And that where today’s article is leading, sweet friend, because I have solutions for how you can take back your power against these three emotions!
There’s a 4 Step Process I follow when I’m rising up to powerfully choose my own self-love in the face of shame and guilt and fear. (And don’t at all feel weird when you read this and it seems like the steps are out of order— this is a flexible system and there’s a way that it will work for you, sweet friend. Think of it like a 4 Step Menu).
>> Know what triggers your shame and guilt. Some of my triggers that I know will spark shame are: failing (in any way) & disappointing the people I love. Also, feeling stupid in front of other people. In fact, I once had a fear-of-shame-induced panic attack when playing cribbage for the first time in front of my husband’s parents (because you have to add the cards to 15, and math on its own is one of my shame triggers). It was not great. I could feel it coming, so I snuck away to the upstairs bathroom and had a full meltdown. That was six years ago. Last month? I played cribbage with them for the second time in my life and actually had fun doing it! Designing a self-love mindset works, sweet friend, and knowing your triggers is an important first step!
>> Build a habit of labeling your emotions. Sometimes emotions can be sneaky if we don’t stop to examine what we’re truly feeling. Asking yourself questions like “what is really upsetting me here?” or “what emotion feels like it’s at the root of this?” can clarify what you’re experiencing. It also works as a way to begin detaching from the emotion itself.
>> Speaking of detaching, begin breaking up the emotion that you’re feeling, by throwing a total side-bar into your thinking. Having a phrase like “imagine a rubber duck riding down a purple river” in your back pocket can be a genuinely useful tool, despite how silly it sounds. When you can jog your brain and break away from the emotion that you’re feeling, you allow yourself to detach a little and pull back. Doing this allows you to examine what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and if you truly want to feel it. And if you don’t want to feel it? Continue breaking up your emotional state. Tell yourself “I’m breaking my emotional state now. I’m thinking about a teal-and-yellow striped crocodile. Or a tiny shrill poodle yapping. Or I’m thinking about that amazing time I felt the ocean on my toes for the first time!”
>> Speak your shame, guilt or fear out loud. Saying something like “I’m feeling shame because I hate feeling like a failure” begins to put the power back into your hands. Bonus Points if you you add the power of choosing to your speaking: Saying something like “I’m choosing to feel shame because I’ve always been bad at math,” gives you the power to next choose the opposite choice of “I’m choosing to release my shame because I know that feeling this way doesn’t support my self-love.” Double Extra Bonus Points is you speak your emotion out loud to a trusted friend. Brene Brown said that “shame cannot survive being spoken,” and I agree. Speaking it gives you back your rationale, your power, and your choice.There are many other options, once you get yourself through these four, to continue working your way towards self-love after a shame or guilt spiral.
I’m a fan of doing something that genuinely warms my heart, like rereading a favorite book, taking a hot shower with essential oils, or watching an episode of Queer Eye. I’m currently in the process of persuading myself that spending time in the kitchen is a form of self-love– I’m working on it :)
These are all tactics that you can use anytime for any emotional spiral that you need to break. They might feel weird at first (like all new habits!) but soon they’ll become comfortable, familiar, and exactly what you needed
Love, love, more love, and a hazelnut-with-cream coffee,
Self-Love + Confidence Coach
Founder + CEO at Brave Heart Open Mind
P.S. If you didn’t catch my email last week or my post on Insta, please know that Brave Heart Open Mind fully supports the #blacklivesmatter movement, and believes that not only do black lives matter, black lives are worthy, and black lives are cherished.
P.P.S. Want to keep this lovely, positivity going? Heck yes! Take your Self-Love Quiz to find the perfect self-love mantra for YOU! >>> https://braveheartopenmind.com/self-love-mantra-quiz
Meet Your Self-Love + Confidence Coach, Kayla Vavra!
No alt text provided for this image
I founded Brave Heart Open Mind, this enthusiastic self-love development studio, in an effort to empower women with the ability to live their happiest, most confident lives!
Because I’ve walked the path of feeling like I wasn’t good enough— drowning in self-doubt and self-hate— and it genuinely straight up sucks. (It does, for real. If you’ve been there— ugly-crying on cold floral linoleum— you know it’s true).
Part of the entire existence of Brave Heart Open Mind is to allow me to help you get to where I am— in a place of self-love; in a place of consistent confidence; in a place of self-empowerment! And to help you get there faster than I did.
It took me over a decade to get to where I am today.
From my own rock bottom— sitting at the end of an emotionally abusive relationship, fully depressed, with imbalanced hormones, halfway through college, unable to do anything other than barely hang on and pretend I was fine, (when really my self-image was a total dumpster fire on the inside). There were real moments of sobbing-on-the-floor feelings of wretchedness, catatonic-in-bed feelings of hopelessness, and hiding-blades-from-myself urges of self-harm during this time.
Medication to balance my hormones helped regulate my brain chemistry to smooth back the depression and darkness, but I was still left with a completely trashed self-image. I wanted to love myself, and it took me over a decade to figure out how to actually make that happen.
My personal journey over the course of that decade has thankfully brought me all the way to where I am now: the founder of an amazing and fulfilling business, totally loving my life!
And if I can help you skip the trudging, slow-as-heck, mountain climb out of the trenches of self-doubt and self-hate, and streamline a decade for you— like, that’s amazing! Why wouldn’t I help you? How could I not??
And through painstakingly building positive lifelong habits for myself, I’ve paved a new path: One where I consistently push myself to grow, feel good enough, and live in a place of calm, centered confidence.
And these habits aren’t magic— anyone can learn them! Everyone deserves to learn them. They’re rooted in solid verbal communication skills, body language tactics, and powerful mindset shifts. Meshing these three skillsets together creates a powerful range of habits that can make any lovely human feel confident! All you have to do is learn them and consistently work hard to practice them throughout your life. When you’re ready to commit to yourself, when you’re ready to finally let yourself feel good enough, when you’re ready to live a life of confidence, I can help you learn and practice these habits! You’re worth it! (You SO are!)
I’m also a total scifi nerd!
I can’t wait for us to work together! Seriously, we’ll be a force to be reckoned with! You’ll learn such powerful new habits, and you’ll feel so much power in the confidence that you’ve unlocked! Heck yes!!
In other nerdy news, you should also know that I’m a total geek and an avid life-long learner: I am certified to teach public speaking (and more!) with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication & Journalism and a Masters Degree in Education by the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I am certified as a Life & Success Coach, Hypnotherapist, and NLP, EFT, and TIME Practitioner by the International Board of Coaches and Practitioners.
Browse recent posts
Rival at work.
I have a colleague who I work with collaboratively for his technical knowledge which is impressive. He has been with the company for over 12 years now, most of them in Europe. I am in Canada. He moved to Canada a year and a half ago after I had been hired as a manager in Canada. He does not report to me. He is to help me with technical knowledge only. He helps everyone with technical knowledge actually. He told me in a casual, friendly conversation he wants to be in management and moved to Canada to pursue a promotion. As he has become more comfortable in his role, he feels the need to undermine my efforts. He lies to me, he one ups me on our open TEAM board at work and scoops projects with my customers behind my back. He takes credit for my work too. He is popular because of his impressive technical knowledge and is extremely helpful to the team overall. He has kind of entrenched himself at the company as the technical expert. However, he is making my job miserable. He cannot travel outside Canada due to his visa restrictions so he feels the need to build his name and clientiele with my Canadian customers. The rest of the team are in USA and they rely on his expertise but he does not intrude on their customers and projects. He did tell me the other day he feels that my position is not needed since he does it and I should talk with upper management about my purpose. He wrote this to me in a TEAMS chat. I am at a loss as to handle him. Any advice?
0 Likes • 2 Comments
Looking for Clinical Data Analyst roles where I can grow and learn!
I was laid off in June 2023 and am looking for data analyst roles, preferably in the healthcare field. I have four years of experience as a business analyst on a healthcare product, and am looking to pivot into more back-end work with data. I have some training in SQL, Python, R, and Tableau from graduate school, although I did not use these skills at my last job, and am working on improving them through a bootcamp. Aside from the difficult job market, I have had trouble finding a company willing to take on somebody who is new to the field but absolutely willing to learn and grow.
FYI I am currently based in Northern Virginia but am open to relocating for the right job opportunity and benefits.
0 Likes • 0 Comments
How do you negotiate salary?
Would love to know your tips, input, and all the things! I've read a bunch of good advice on LinkedIn and whatnot... but I'd love to know what this community has to share! Also – how do you stay confident when talking about money? And more specifically - as a woman when a man is interviewing you. Thanks in advance ✨
0 Likes • 1 Comment
I would never dare ask a recruiter this when discussing a job opportunity, but I have a dumb question.... When you are interviewing for a "contract" position through an agency.... are you truly locked into the timeframe they state? If you find a permanent job during that time, can you quit the contract job?
0 Likes • 2 Comments
Ready to take your career to the next level?
Watch this video about exploring career paths when your head says, “I don’t know." Acknowledgement of "not knowing" is the first step towards a successful career! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2FLDPg3uV0
Remember, it's okay not to have all the answers right now, as long as you know how to move yourself forward and increase your clarity slowly but surely. A little progress can go a long way!
0 Likes • 0 Comments
Growing my resume!
Do you consider courses/professional certificates on Coursera to be valuable and/or worth the time? I have degrees, but there are some certifications that I feel would bulk my resume if Coursera is respected.