Learn 12 reasons why shaming yourself doesn't help, what's more powerful than shame, and what you can do instead of shaming yourself.
Welcome to the Husband Material podcast, where we help Christian men outgrow porn. Why? So you can change your brain, heal your heart and save your relationship. My name is Drew Boa and I'm here to show you how let's go. Today, we are talking about shaming yourself or, as I like to say, shoulding all over yourself. One of my favorite sayings in the world is don't should all over yourself. But why? I asked the husband material community, what does shame say to you? And men said things like whatever you do, it will never be good enough. You're a failure. You're not wanted. You don't deserve to be loved. You are so gross you can't be forgiven. You're worthless. You're a disgrace. You'll never be enough. You're weak. If people knew who you really are, they would all walk away. You'll never get it right. You're defective. You're inferior. You will be judged and rejected. So run and hide. God is disappointed with you. You will never be free. Which of those messages resonate with you? Which of those messages are you most likely to agree with? Yes, sometimes others shame us, but in my experience, men outgrowing porn are the most harsh and critical with ourselves. We are our own worst critic, and today I want to give you some ammunition against the lies of shame, because shaming yourself is ineffective, stressful, exhausting, isolating, addicting, unoriginal, self-absorbed, ignorant, oppressive, temporary and not as powerful as the shame antidote, which I'm going to reveal at the end of the episode. So if you want to hear what is more powerful than shame and what you can do instead of shaming yourself, stay with me until the end. Okay, are you ready for my top 12 reasons to stop shaming yourself? Number one shaming yourself is ineffective. Shame can be useful as an indicator of where we need more healing and where there has been a rupture or a disconnection in a relationship that needs to be reconnected. And shame can actually be a really powerful motivator of like. If you feel like you're not good enough at something, that might motivate you to get really, really, really good at it. But the problem is, no matter how much you succeed, you will still feel like a failure because shame is driving that performance. And so, although shame can motivate us, ultimately it's ineffective, it's not helpful and, because it doesn't make us feel better, it is stressful. Shaming yourself intensifies the need to self soothe, and so it reinforces that cycle of going back to porn and unwanted sexual behavior. There is a binge purge cycle which looks like this First I binge and I consume as much content as I need to get my sexual feelings satisfied, seemingly, and then I will purge and I will say I'm never doing this again. I need to get rid of absolutely everything. Patrick Karn's actually called it sexual bulimia, which is a very graphic image, but I mean that's what many of us have done consuming and consuming sexual content only to try to get rid of it and condemning ourselves. And this is not only stressful, it's also exhausting. Shaming yourself is endless because there's always more to criticize and condemn. No matter how well you're doing, no matter how much you've grown, it's always incomplete. We are imperfect, and so shaming yourself really is exhausting. It's also isolating. I mean, when you're shaming yourself, do you really want to go out and connect with people? Probably not. You probably feel more drawn to hiding, lying, pretending like everything's okay and maybe even deceiving yourself. I mean, when we are really, really, really ashamed of something, we might even block it out and forget as a way of trying to separate from that shame. But it doesn't work. And here's a really interesting fact I learned from Dr Jake Porter at last year's Porn Free man Conference Shaming yourself can actually be addicting in the sense that if I sexually act out and I have this script in my head that I'm a failure, this experience can confirm that script and the bias confirmation actually leads to a dopamine rush. So it's not only the sexually acting out that's giving me a hit of dopamine and rewarding me. The very condemnation itself can be rewarding, like oh, I knew it, I was right all along, I really never will change, I really can't get over this. And that confirmation creates a chemical reaction in your brain which is experienced as pleasure. Isn't that crazy. I thought that was wild. It's not just the sexual behavior we have a bond to. It's actually the shame itself. Crazy. Here's one of my favorite reasons to stop shaming yourself. Shaming yourself is unoriginal, it's boring, it's been done before and, specifically, it is probably just repeating what others have said to you. When I am shitting all over myself like I should be making more money, I should be more successful or whatever, I am just repeating what I internalized about myself when I was a kid, based on what others were telling me and based on what I was seeing from others. It's really easy for us to forget some of the positive comments we receive, but some of the most critical, condemning comments that we receive can stick with us for years or decades. I can still remember when I was in middle school, some of the things other boys said to me. Like you're so gay, you should go kill yourself. People said these things to me. One boy said I bet no girls like you. Ugh, that one just stuck with me forever. And when I say those things to myself or I agree with the feeling of shame that tells that to me I am simply parroting what somebody else said. So in that way, shame is unoriginal, it's uncreative. So the next time those lies and shame messages run through your head, you can remember that's unoriginal, that's old. That's not me necessarily. That could be coming from my dad. That could be coming from the bullies at school. That could be coming from voices who don't have the authority or the influence or the right to talk to me anymore. We've gone through many reasons to stop shaming yourself. This next one is more confrontational, more challenging, more in your face. So I hope you are open to receiving the truth that shaming yourself is also self-absorbed. As long as you are focused on how horrible you are and how unworthy you are, you are not able to focus on others and what others need and how you can be a blessing and how you can get outside of yourself. So if I'm shaming myself for being selfish, I'm actually just still being selfish by focusing on my shame. Now that's different from self-care and from receiving the love and support that I need to get over the shame. That's different. What I'm saying is, when I am wallowing in condemnation, I'm so inwardly focused that I'm unaware of the rest of the world. So if I make a really bad decision and then I spend the next few hours shaming myself because of it, I'm not only not helping me, I'm not helping anyone else. So shaming yourself is self-absorbed and shaming yourself is ignorant. Let me explain what I mean. If you find yourself judging someone and then you hear that person's story and you find out what led up to whatever it is that you're judging them for, it's so much easier to feel a sense of love and care and compassion and to relate to this other person with kindness. When you see the story behind whatever it is that you are ashamed of about yourself, it's a breakthrough. And if you could understand yourself perfectly, if you could know yourself as God knows you and see every little contributor to what has led to your choices and to the qualities and the conditions of your life. If you could actually fully see it all, man, your heart would break, it would open up. And in this life we just get a glimpse. We just get a glimpse. We don't understand everything, Maybe we never will, but the more we learn about ourselves and about others and what is behind the things that we feel and the things that we've done, it has a softening effect. It has a melting effect on our harshness and our criticism. I just have the chills saying that. I feel a sense of warmth lighting up in my heart as I think about how God must see us, because he knows us fully and he loves us perfectly and you know what we're going to get to this later. But if he knows everything about you and he doesn't shame you, maybe you can stop shaming yourself. In the Gospel, jesus takes away our sin and gives us His grace. He liberates us from the prison of shame, because here's one more reason to stop shaming yourself. Shame is oppressive. Shame says if only I'm a failure, I'm not worthy. If only I was different, if only my life was different. If only I didn't make those choices. If only that person didn't do things to me. There are so many if-on-lays that come with shame. Grace doesn't say if only. Grace says even if Grace exchanges the slavery of if-only for the freedom of even if, even if everything goes wrong, even if it doesn't get better, even if my life doesn't change, even if I don't change, even if I fail, even if I hurt the people I love the most, I am still enough, I am still loved, I am still God's beloved Son and he is well pleased with me, even if anything. That is the freedom of grace instead of the slavery of shame. So I hope that gives you a little bit of a reframe. Instead of saying, oh, if only I look different, if only I could be different, if only I was further along on this journey by now, you could say even if it takes me way longer than I expected, and even if I continue to make mistakes, I'm not giving up, I'm not a lost cause. You can fill in the blanks of that sentence to work for you and in the end, shame is temporary. You can stop shaming yourself because one day there will be no shame and there will be no shame for eternity. So let's start getting used to it forever. When we are living fully connected to God and ourselves and each other, there will be no place for shame. And right now we are just starting to shed the shame, so let's keep shedding it. I mean, we're gonna get rid of it anyway, so why not sooner, then later? Shame is temporary. Grace is eternal. And here's the second to last reason To stop shaming yourself. Grace is more powerful than shame. Dr Martin Luther King Jr is famous for saying darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that. And I would add shame cannot drive out shame. Only grace can do that. As much as we might be tempted to shame ourselves or to condemn others in the middle of our brokenness and our unwanted sexual behavior, grace is always so much more powerful. I have experienced this over and over again in my life. One of the most recent powerful shame-breaking moments was in an IFS counseling session where I was spending some time with my inner critic. This part of me was saying Drew, in this difficult situation coming up, whatever you do, no matter how well you do, you are still going to fail and you are going to get an F. In my imagination. My inner critic was holding a red pen and filling up every paper with lots of red marks and pointing out everything that's wrong, holding a clipboard and making a list of everything I'm doing wrong, and there was always, always a huge list. This part of me was trying to help but it was not working. I wonder if you can relate to that. Do you have a part of you that is constantly criticizing you and giving you grades and giving you a fail and pointing out every flaw, every mistake, every problem with what you're doing? That's my inner critic in this moment. And in that counseling session we invited Jesus to come near. And do you know what happened? As soon as Jesus showed up, my inner critic dropped the clipboard and Jesus said there are no grades with me. My last reason to stop shaming yourself is this there are no grades with Jesus. He is not ashamed of you Period. In Hebrews 12 it says for the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning the shame. Other translations say despising the shame, disregarding the shame. When Jesus endured his suffering on the cross, he shared in our shame so that we can share in his joy. What was the joy set before him? What was his motivation for dying and rising from the dead. What did he lack that he gained through all of that Us, you and me. We are his joy, we are his delight, we are the reason why he has done everything to get us back. Nothing, no shame, no condemnation, no sin, no evil, no sexual addiction can separate us from his love. Jesus has not only taken away our failure. He has also given us his righteousness, his record, his grade, so that we don't have to worry anymore about how good we are or whether or not we measure up. And as a result of that experience, my inner critic became my inner observer. Instead of holding a red pen, my inner observer now holds a little pointer that points things out without judgment, without shame, just with greater self-awareness. And when I do feel shame, it's an opportunity to heal. Now, that is a more powerful approach. There you have it 12 reasons to stop shaming yourself because it is ineffective, stressful, exhausting, isolating, addicted, unoriginal, self-absorbed, ignorant, oppressive, temporary. And because grace is more powerful than shame and God is not ashamed of you. Now, what can you do? Instead of shaming yourself? Please come to the Porn Free man Conference. This is the anti-shame event of the year. As I've been going through all of the presentations and all of the great exercises and experiences that we're gonna have together on January 5th and 6th. Every single one is anti-shame. It's specifically addressing shame from five different angles. The first session, on outgrowing porn versus purity culture, is going to demonstrate the anti-shame approach. You're gonna learn, okay, what does it look like to take the shaming approach and the anti-shaming approach in dealing with a relapse, feeling triggered to sexually act out, sharing with your group, telling your story, celebrating your successes and your growth. We're gonna look at each of those scenarios and give you a taste of the grace approach, the love and acceptance and kindness approach. And it's not enough to just talk about it, you have to experience it. So that's our first session, which I'm gonna lead with a few surprise guests, and then our second session. Chris Bruno is gonna take us into our stories. Remember what I said about how, in our stories, when we learn why we made certain choices or what was behind the things that we're ashamed of, it melts us, it changes us. That's what Chris is gonna help us do getting into the story behind our porn and coming into a posture of blessing rather than cursing. In session three, carol Sheets is going to teach us how to help our partners heal without going into shame, because men who are married often feel extra shame about how their sexual choices have impacted their wives, and so we need to be able to overcome that in order to connect with them and help them heal. Then, in session four, nate Larkin is going to be going directly into some of our places of deepest shame, talking about how do we deal with a relapse, understanding what's happening in our brains, changing the way that we respond so that we can bounce back with grace rather than shame. And then, lastly, dr Peter Malinowski is going to lead us in an IFS approach to working with our parts. Remember, that's the story I told about how my inner critic dropped the clipboard and Jesus came to me and said there are no grades with me. That was an IFS experience. Peter's going to be leading us through something like that. It's going to be extremely powerful. It's an anti-shaming approach. This conference is going to be awesome. You're going to exchange shame for curiosity, compassion and kindness in a way that's going to be extremely empowering, and I would absolutely love to see you there. Even if you can't come to the whole thing, still register so that you can get access to the replays and come to at least one. I mean, these live sessions are going to be phenomenal. This is the week to stop shaming yourself and learn a different approach. Go to thepornfreemancom, go to the links below this episode. I would love to see you there, even if 2024 is not a porn for a year for you, my friend, always remember you are God's beloved Son. In you he is well-placed.