Love Your Kids. Love Yourself. How to Stop the Shame and Self-Loathing Game

When I was a younger mom with littles in my house, I came across an amazing quote by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. I cut it out and pasted it to the inside of my drop down desk so that I could read it every day. It was just that inspiring. It even became yellow over time.

I used it as a way to create WILL POWER, i.e., I WILL NOT LOSE PATIENCE with my kids!

And yet, how could something so inspiring and that seemed so TRUE create fear and dread inside of me?

I’m going to share it with you now…but if you are a perfectionist, you must PROMISE me that if you keep reading, you will not use it as a shame ticket.

O.K. You perfectionists out there…you promised. Here goes…


“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.


I realize now that I used this amazing quote as a nice little invitation to make myself feel SHAME and GUILT, because, of course, I am HUMAN and I fail again and again in showing up perfectly as who I am committed to being.

Hmmm. Why did I do this to myself? Why did I play the shame game and create self-suffering and self-loathing?

Maybe because I was a perfectionist? Maybe because I was afraid that my moments of anger or frustration, directed at my children, were going to scar them for life?

Hmmm. Yep. That would be it.

Sound familiar? You must be human, too!


Guess what? Humans fail. We do it all of the time.

Why do we think this is so terrible? Do we not realize that our whole planet was set up to give us a chance to start fresh Every. Single. Day? It’s called a sun rise and a sun set. Kind of like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day. We get a new chance to start again simply because we have an opportunity to wake up.

Wow. God is so smart.

I have since learned that guilt is helpful in tiny bits. It’s the voice in our heads that tells us something is amiss and it’s time to clean it up and get us back on the road we want to be on. It really isn’t a problem. It only becomes a problem when we dramatize our life.

Too many times we indulge in guilt and it turns into shame, which isn’t useful AT ALL. Shame just keeps us stuck and certainly does nothing to help us move forward.

How about we stop?

Maybe it’s time for a little grace. Maybe a sprinkle of compassion. Of love. Oh, and I’m not talking at the moment about doing this for everybody else. Of course, that’s a good idea, too. BUT, this grace, love, and compassion, is a gift we can give to ourselves. In fact, God kind of assumes that this is a given.

Take a look:

In Matthew 22:37-39 it reads, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

It seems to me that he makes an assumption that loving ourselves is a given. If not, he would have said, “Thou shalt love thyself.” He believes this is already in place.

You are enough. Simply because you are here. On the planet. Exactly as you are.

You make mistakes. It’s fine. It’s expected. Clean it up and move on.


Oh. And you can love yourself while you do it.

If you want to get started on figuring out how to love yourself today, go to my home page and gift yourself a free session with me. Let’s kick the self-shaming to the door.

Sue NelsonComment