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Tag Archives: shame

Pastoral Burnout and Self-Compassion

A study conducted out of Duke University, published in 2011, looked at the four primary factors of why clergy burnout: Desire to please others. Fear of letting parishioners down or not living up to their expectations can leave clergy depleted….Clergy high in desire to please neglect their hobbies, families, and spirituality, fear letting down congregants, and have a hard time saying no to requests. Clergy low in desire to please reserve time for their personal lives without feeling selfish or anxious about disappointing others. Guilt or shame proneness. Overall, “shame is considered the more painful emotion because one’s core self—not simply one’s behavior—is at stake”. Self-compassion. Self-compassion entails offering kindness, patience, and understanding to oneself during times of failure or disappointment. Individuals high in self-compassion recognize that others go through similar experiences and feel connected rather than isolated during times of pain. (They) neither ignore nor ruminate about their own shortcomings. Differentiation of self from role Beebe (2007) found. Read more.

Pastoral Burnout and Self-Compassion

A study conducted out of Duke University, published in 2011, looked at the four primary factors of why clergy burnout: Desire to please others. Fear of letting parishioners down or not living up to their expectations can leave clergy depleted….Clergy high in desire to please neglect their hobbies, families, and spirituality, fear letting down congregants, and have a hard time saying no to requests. Clergy low in desire to please reserve time for their personal lives without feeling selfish or anxious about disappointing others. Guilt or shame proneness. Overall, “shame is considered the more painful emotion because one’s core self—not simply one’s behavior—is at stake”. Self-compassion. Self-compassion entails offering kindness, patience, and understanding to oneself during times of failure or disappointment. Individuals high in self-compassion recognize that others go through similar experiences and feel connected rather than isolated during times of pain. (They) neither ignore nor ruminate about their own shortcomings. Differentiation of self. Read more.

"Quitting" in Asian Culture

Jiji Harner, from the Philippines, assisted me in my “I Quit” seminar in Singapore. I thank her for gathering these insights and helpful observations through her experience as a Filipina and her diverse experiences as a professional counselor. Quit being afraid of what others think…poses a much greater challenge in Asian Culture compared to Western culture.  You could see the puzzle in the faces of the participants. “If I quit being afraid of what others think – then who will I become?”  The desire to please and submit to authority has been inculcated in our minds. To undo this tendency is almost impossible because it is considered disrespectful, bad and ungodly to not do what those around you expect of you. To varying degrees Asian cultures tend to be other-directed, thinking: “How will others view my actions?” Instead of self-directed: “What do I think of my action?” People in Asian cultures tend to be. Read more.

Learning from Angelina Jolie

For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than the are the people of the light. (Luke 16:8) I was deeply moved by a front page article in the New York Times yesterday, along with Angelina Jolie’s editorial a day earlier, about her courageous decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. She writes: “On April 27, I finished the three months of medical procedures that the mastectomies involved…I am writing about it now because I hope that other women can benefit from my experience.” While Angelina does not, as far as I know, consider herself a Christ-follower, we can learn a few things from her. Leading out of brokenness and vulnerability is powerful. She went public on an issue few Christians have been willing to talk about. We are imperfect human beings with limits. Beautiful and rich as she may be, she humbly acknowledged that she is. Read more.

Shame and Leadership

Marjorie Thompson, in The Way of Forgiveness (Upper Room Books), distinguishes between guilt and shame.  She notes that guilt is about what we have done (“I did something bad”) while shame is about who we are (“I am bad”). Recognizing we’ve made a mistake, i.e. guilt, is very different from believing we are a mistake, i.e. shame. This led me, this past year and a half, into an exploration into shame –in Scripture, in my own life, in conversations with seasoned therapists, and to researchers of shame like Brene Brown. Shame is cruel. Like a hidden taskmaster, it drives us to overachieve, overwork, overcompensate, and protect ourselves with a face that is not our own. Shame is, at its essence, demonic. We can’t lead well without resisting the shame-based messages that come to us from the culture, our churches, our failures, and inside our own head. We can’t lead well when we feel deeply flawed. Read more.

Sabbath and Our Terror of Death

I have been teaching pastors and leaders about Sabbath-keeping for over a decade. Why is it then that so few actually stop to receive this wonderful gift (Mark 2:27)? The root answer lies, I believe, in the place from which we have our sense of self. If our sense of self comes from our work, accomplishments, or ministry, then stopping our work to can be quite terrifying. It touches our deep anxieties about our own deaths. Many of us come carry a great deal of shame, an intensely painful feeling or experience of being flawed. It may come from a background of abuse (as was my history), or a deep well of pain and regret. We feel unworthy of the rich delights and love God offers us in Sabbath. It is easier to just keep working –even if our lives are spinning out of control. Sabbath is about letting ourselves be seen by God. Sabbath. Read more.