What Do You Do When…

Cathy Laffan returns to the blog today with a post for her monthly series.


What do you do when you realize that you’ve been stuck in shame for months?



My husband was reading an article and said he was going to email it to me and he wanted me to read just one item and not the entire article. I read it and immediately felt confronted. To reduce my anxiety, I read the entire article and quickly identified a statement that matched one of my husband’s behaviors and I asked him if he’d read it. He said he did but told me this was about me and not about him, I felt confronted again. Why was I feeling so confronted and anxious?

Reading the statement raised my awareness that I was not only talking to myself in such a negative and shaming manner but I was also speaking the words out loud in front of my husband. The result of both were taking a toll on me and resulting in behavior that wasn’t in alignment with my personal values. Realizing this left me feeling even more shame.

What is shame anyhow? Webster’s defines shame as “a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong”. Shame is also the fourth level of The Responsibility Process, just below Obligation. Feeling shame produces a negative cycle for me. I feel shame about something I’ve done or said and when I realize I am feeling shame then I feel bad about feeling that way and round and round it goes. The worse I feel, the worse I feel.

Do you remember my blog post on Compassion? If I showed myself compassion and used the Power Cycle to move forward, how did I end up here? A bit of reflection helped me to see that I overcommitted myself in a couple of areas. The time it took me to address those commitments meant that I didn’t have time for other activities and ultimately led me away from my values. Over time these behaviors led to my feelings of shame and I got stuck.

Screen-Shot-2014-06-01-at-4.39.38-PMHow do I break free from being stuck? The first step is to be aware. In this case, my husband compassionately helped raise my awareness by sharing the article with me. The next step is to forgive or release. When it comes to self-forgiveness, I find that using a tool is often helpful. I use Ho’oponopono and the techniques I learned through participation in The Leadership Gift™ Program.

For me, self-forgiveness is a bit of a process that happens over time, so it takes repetition.

Now that I’m unstuck, what’s next? I’ll be taking it one step and day at a time. Each moment I spend practicing The Responsibility Process will crowd out those unwanted behaviors and return me to alignment with my values.  

I’ll keep you posted on my progress in my next blog post.



Cathy Laffan

CL Nov 2013_cropCathy Laffan is a member of The Leadership Gift™ Program and accredited as The Leadership Gift Practitioner. She is a Managing Director with 24 years of experience working for a leading global financial services firm. She has 20 years of experience in the project management field and is certified as a Project Management Professional.

A champion of flexible work arrangements, Cathy has been working remotely full-time for 4 years. Cathy is also a Toastmaster and has earned the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader designations from Toastmasters International.


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Posted in Responsibility on 11/02/2015 06:53 am
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