Fear and Shame?

Are you Trapped by Fear and Shame?

Fear and shame can be motivating, but not in a positive way. Is it helpful to say, “I can’t believe I had that thought, what is wrong with me?” or “You have it so great, why would you think something like that?”

Recently, someone expressed how exhausting it was to cognitively “stomp out” every negative thought they had. I agree! They felt that because they struggled with controlling their thoughts, they must be a bad person, weak or lazy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It takes an enormous amount of energy to choose another, more positive thought, without beating yourself up over the negative one. Choosing another thought allows us to remove the shame factor, and that is what we want because shame can feel like a prison we can’t escape. It isn’t uncommon to get stuck on the thoughts that take up space in our mind. We will berate ourselves over a thought. We give it a power it doesn’t deserve, and we all do this to some degree or another.

It’s Hard to Change Our Thoughts

At this point, you might be saying to yourself that choosing another thought sounds good, but easier said than done. Well, you’re right. As with most things in life, change requires practice. I can almost feel the anxiety that statement invokes for many of you but try to think in terms of baby steps. When we experience a negative thought, we feel it, and it’s upsetting. When we fight our thoughts, they gain power and can overwhelm us. Attempt to notice the thought. Don’t chastise yourself for it, only notice it. Remind yourself that it is just a thought. It is not your identity.

We Can Observe our Thoughts From a Distance

When we watch a scary movie, we may have an emotional response, but it’s happening outside of ourselves, not directly to us. We can rationally explain the scene to a friend, but we aren’t actually experiencing the scene that scared us in the movie. The idea here is to create distance from the thoughts, by describing them as if they were happening in a film and not to us. Again, this is where the practice element comes in. Allow yourself time and grace as you practice.

Finally, we are human, and we all need help sifting through the noise sometimes. We may not be able to control what pops into our mind, but that’s okay. In the noise or quiet of our mind, we get to choose how our thoughts effect us, and whether or not they get to rule our day.

July 2019, Deb Kunze, Counselor


We at Threads of Hope Counseling care deeply for you, your families, and our community. As the concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 increases worldwide, Threads of Hope is prepared to reduce the spread of illness by following the expert guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health. MDH continues to stress common-sense illness prevention strategies such as sanitizing surfaces, covering your cough and sneezes, and frequent hand washing.

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of a viral respiratory infection including fever, cough, and shortness of breath or if you or someone you have been in contact with traveled internationally in the last 14 days, please DO NOT come to our office. Instead we are happy to offer you telemedicine (online video) services.

Telemedicine appointments are HIPAA secure, do not require any downloads, and can be accessed on any device with microphone and internet access. Ask your provider or the administrative staff if this is a service you’d like to pursue.

Additionally, there is a lot of misinformation being spread regarding this virus which has inspired significant anxiety in many in the community. Look here for ideas on how to reduce your fear while remaining wise in facing the uncertainty of this disease.
We are here for you and there is always hope.