You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself….

Six words that changed my life.

I was three years old and had finished a bath after a family Sunday night dinner. 

Fifty years later I recall how I felt when my grandmother, Lyla said,

“You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself”

And it wasn’t because I was toweling off…. 

Two powerful words in that thread…


Recently I read an article about shame and guilt in Positive Psychology.


The article Why Shame and Guilt are Functional for Mental Health by Joaquin Selva.

Two takeaways from the article:

  1. “Shame is characterized by the desire to hide and escape, guilt by the desire to repair. “
  2. “Guilt may even play a role in the development of prosocial behavior in becoming a key aspect of children’s conscience. “

To expand EQ and leadership skills, I found it essential to access my emotions. Emotions are the pathway to our subconscious and to liberation and freedom. 


Like many a man, I repressed emotions to please others. Usually the negative ones, like irritation, frustration and anger. The other side of the same coin was the inability to express my incredible joy, happiness and excitement.

This landed me in a numb zone of mediocrity.

A gray zone.

At 35 I learned to create a healthy relationship with my emotions and today I continue to practice. 

I learned how to deny my emotions. I was taught how to hide or avoid these quite normal human qualities. To suppress, sedate and withhold them. 


What about you?

Did you receive an “A” in the HOW TO EMOTE AS A MAN CLASS?




I see it today, with “THE SHOULDS” we place on one another. 


Or the abuse of power with the SHAME GAME.


It wasn’t until a caring, compassionate teacher taught me how I could create a healthy relationship with my emotions. 


Back to the bathtub and my grandmother.

Get ready, this is going to shock you as a man.

The grand reveal….

What was I doing that I should be so ashamed of?




Yes, a man touching and playing with his penis.

I was young and curious. Not that unique. 


It made my grandmother way more uncomfortable than me, but the lasting impression was now on me. 

Shame and guilt are part of the human experience: they are uncomfortable too.

The shame that I felt at three had an impact because I decided I didn’t want to have that experience of shame again.

That feeling of being wronged, the shame drove me to course correct. I did whatever I could to avoid that gut bomb. Playing small and being a muted little boy. Not allowing myself to experience many emotions.  

As I grew older, I built a wall around my heart and learned to avoid, deflect, deny and often distort emotions. At 35 I was reintroduced to the power and liberation of emotions and the wind that these emotions put back into my sail. 

I avoided emotions because I didn’t have the skills to experience an emotion without attaching or becoming the emotion.


Two extraordinary and powerful learnings for me. 



What changed in my life was: EVERYTHING.

For me and many men in our community, once they learn to access their emotions EVERYTHING changes. The lights come on, the roof is blown off, passion returns. The fire in the engine room sparks the power, imagination and innovation are reignited. 

What was once impossible now is possible.

For me I gave myself permission to follow my heart and begin coaching. Physically, I reset my standards and what my mind and body could accomplish. Spiritually, I felt the power of God working through me and shared my inspiration with my clients. Relationally, I reinvented my marriage despite being separated and having an affair. 

What is possible when we feel?




Realm.Men is a men’s leadership community built on confidence and commitment, where men strengthen their professional, physical, relational and spiritual lives, because only Realm.Men provides the process that permits adventure for the Soul. 


Doug McGhee
Founder of Realm.Men