“From a faith perspective, we can think of healthy conviction as a motivating factor that leads us to repent of, or change, our actions. This is a beautiful, necessary part of growth and learning to try softer. . . . We all need a healthy sense of personal responsibility to help us love others well.”- Aundi Kolber
“Be excessively kind with yourself.”- John O’ Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us
In Chapter 9 (“Try Softer with Your Inner Critic”) of Try Softer, Aundi Kolber observes that self-hatred blunts the desire to live from the belief that God is good. Most significantly, Aundi finds that self-hatred/contempt = the most pervasive reason her clients continue trying to white-knuckle their way through life.
Certainly, we want to identify our weaknesses and attempt to improve in those areas. However, a big difference exists between healthy guilt and shame:
- Guilt=I did something bad.
- Shame=I am bad.
Therefore, even though we’re imperfect, healthy guilt allows us to recognize that we’re loved and valuable. In addition, a secure relationship with God provides a safe landing place to connect with Him. On the other hand, with shame we assess our value or worth in a critical manner. Hence, Aundi explains the main contrast between guilt and shame:
“In my experience, the primary difference between guilt and shame is this: the first recognizes that in order to truly change behaviors (or anything else) we need love, support, and regulated nervous systems. Shame, however, leverages the threat of relational exile as a way to teach ( e. g., ‘Stop complaining or don’t show your face around here.’).”
Finally, Aundi stresses, trying softer doesn’t center on knowing or doing the right thing. Rather, trying softer focuses on treating ourselves gently in the face of pain that keeps us stuck. Because it’s not possible to hate or shame ourselves into change. No matter how hard we try. Only love moves us toward true growth.
Today’s question: How does healthy conviction help you in learning to try softer? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Worst critic – being hard on ourselves”