Shame is one of the most toxic emotions you can experience. It’s a torturous feeling of embarrassment caused by what you perceive to be wrong or foolish behavior.
Not to mention, its side-effects are devastating. It’ll make you think you’re —inherently “bad.”
“Shame is a soul-eating emotion.”
― Carl Gustav Jung
You can see how shame can destroy your mental health, career, quality of life, and relationships. The most important thing you can do is to conquer it.
Otherwise, it can lead to feelings of inferiority, worthlessness, rage, jealousy, depression, and loneliness. Furthermore, it’s the driving force for you to go through more shameful experiences.
Shame won’t fade away. Instead, it becomes more powerful over time.
Even worse, it breeds a self-hate that can eventually lead to a lifetime of addiction to any vice that will make you feel “okay” again.
But, this is just shame fooling you into becoming its slave. It can seem impossible to overcome, and people commit suicide to escape shame’s grasp.
You can see how important it is to end this detrimental emotion. So, don’t take this lightly. You’ll be a much happier and better version of yourself just by fixing this one issue. You deserve to have self-esteem and to be excited to be alive.
Don’t be afraid to think about it or learn about it. If you try to deny it, then it’ll grow in the background for a lifetime. It will blindfold you and lead you down a path of self-sabotage. Eventually, it annihilates your potential happiness or success. Furthermore, it’ll cause you to distrust those you love and ruin your relationships.
Even worse, it can force you to stay in unhealthy relationships. You don’t leave them because you think you deserve the torment. You don’t.
Is shame sabotaging your life?
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
― Brene Brown
In the past, you may have felt ashamed of your appearance, personality, or intelligence level. Because of this, over time, you believed that you were an inferior person and unworthy of love.
Or maybe you don’t think you have shame? Although, if you think about it, there are probably things from your past that still haunt you today. Shame can hide deep within your subconscious. Thus you might not realize it’s there.
Luckily, you can fix this problem. Furthermore, you don’t deserve to suffer. We are all imperfect humans! So, no matter what made you feel ashamed, it doesn’t make you less valuable or unworthy of love.
Shame isn’t pleasant to think about, but that’s how it trapped you in the first place. Today you’re going to be brave and rip off the band-aid of denial, so you can heal.
Triumph over shame with these tips:
1. Examine how you’re treating yourself
“Unlike guilt, which is the feeling of doing something wrong, shame is the feeling of being something wrong.”
— Marilyn J. Sorensen
You can’t overpower this emotion if you keep doing the things that reinforce it.
So, gain awareness by asking yourself these questions:
- Am I making myself suffer through horrible relationships? Do I keep thinking it will get better? Or that I deserve it?
- Do I force myself to work a job that brings me misery? Have I even tried to look for a better option?
- Am I taking care of my needs? Do I mistreat myself?
- Do I have a vice that I use to feel better, but it’s ruining my life?
Your answers will show you the consequences of shame in your life, so you can find a way to defeat it.
2. Where did your shame originate?
“Shame is like everything else; live with it for long enough, and it becomes part of the furniture.”
— Salman Rushdie
Many times, this belief starts in childhood and can continue well into adulthood. Furthermore, these thoughts can cause the person to turn against themselves. To overcome this problem, you need to get to the root of it. So, ask yourself what started this emotion.
Possible causes of shame:
- Bullying or shaming: Shaming is making someone feel bad about themselves to manipulate their behavior. Societies create rules for how people should act, and they use shame (or fear) in an attempt to change them. Also, if someone strays from conformity, they might get teased or forced out of the group.
- A troubled childhood: Maybe your parents praised some aspects of who you are, but they also criticized what they didn’t like about you. You might have felt like their love was conditional on you conforming to their ideals. Little did they know that their offhand comments could destroy your mental well-being.
- Trauma and abuse: Trauma and abuse cause a sense of inferiority, self-hate, and self-blame for the victim. It can make them believe that they deserved the mistreatment.
There are many ways shame can seep into your soul. The above examples are possible causes but not definite in every case.
It can help to journal or write about what caused you to feel shameful. It hurts, but the more you desensitize yourself from it, the less power it has over you. Describe it in detail, then read it from your adult perspective. Then re-frame your thoughts about the event and realize that it wasn’t your fault, because you’re a different person now, and you were never unworthy.
3. Don’t allow shame to make you part of the problem
Most people don’t know how to deal with shame. Essentially, it can create detrimental behaviors like bullying or gossiping. In contrast, some people become hyper-defensive and choose to blame others for their pain.
Others develop pseudo (fake) confidence and become arrogant or narcissistic. Although, the only satisfaction they have in life is in making others feel pain too.
If you’re causing others to feel your pain, you’re still worthy of happiness and love. Don’t act like you’re broken for life, because you’re not. Luckily, you have the power to change how you behave. So, consciously choose to stop harming others, so you can finally heal from the pain you feel inside.
You’re only causing yourself more torment if you don’t. Be a joy in others’ lives (or at least in your life) and see what a difference that makes with how you feel.
4. Build your self-worth
Once you stop the toxic programming in your mind, you can build it back up the way it should be. Firstly, start repairing your self-worth, this is the belief that you are a valuable person.
The opposite of shame is self-worth. If you’ve felt shameful for a long time, then your confidence and self-esteem probably need some work. So, take better care of yourself, start accepting who you are, make progress toward goals, and stop comparing yourself to others. These will all help build self-worth.
5. Overwhelm yourself with positivity
Shame occurs because you’ve thought negative things about yourself for so long. But, you can take control back by flooding your mind with positivity. So, watch inspirational, motivating, or funny videos. Make a playlist, so you can watch them when you’re feeling down.
Write down the good things about yourself and your life. Also, don’t let the detrimental messages play in the background anymore.
6. Have compassion for yourself and others
Be easy on yourself because you aren’t the names you call yourself. Treat yourself with kindness like you would with a friend. Being kind and accepting of yourself is a great way to heal your shame. When you have self-compassion, you’ll stop believing the things that caused shameful feelings.
7. Don’t reject love or kindness
When you feel unworthy, it’ll be hard to accept love and kindness from others. It would be best if you retrained yourself. So, when someone is kind to you, accept it. You deserve to get treated well. Please don’t deny yourself happiness; embrace it. Allow yourself to be loved.
8. Change your damaging beliefs
Once you realize you’ve believed some messed-up things, you can change them. Shame can cause you to tear yourself down for any imperfection. But, are you really the person you tell yourself you are? You’re a good person, and you’re doing the best you can. You’re here at MotivatedProgress.com, so your heart is in the right place.
Write down several positive things about yourself. Keep the list so you can read it when the negativity seeps in. Instead of blindly believing every thought you have, dwell on these positive things. Although it won’t work instantly, you’ve got to think of them daily in every spare moment.
9. Gain awareness
Become aware when you’re feeling shameful. Don’t avoid or ignore it. You need to accept that you feel this way so that you can defeat it. It’s okay; you’re just experiencing an emotion. Find out what triggered this feeling.
After that, tell yourself, “It’s pointless to dwell on the past because it’s over and gone. I’m going to focus on today, instead.” then let it go.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
The feeling of shame means that you’ve refused to forgive yourself for what happened. You can’t change the past, but you can change your future. So, it’s best to accept what happened, forgive everyone involved and release it. Don’t ruminate about it anymore. You’ll never be free from this toxic emotion until you do.
“The past has no power over the present moment.”
Some people reflect on their lives and tie who they currently are to the past. They feel some things shouldn’t have happened, but they did. Learn to accept it and change how you respond to it. Moreover, don’t judge it to be a bad thing, just know it happened, and now it’s done. Then separate yourself from your past.
In the end, everyone has something they aren’t proud of, but they don’t have to carry it for a lifetime. Choose to leave it in the past. Healing from shame will dramatically improve your well-being and your life.
So, remember to pay attention to your thoughts, don’t allow them to tear you down. Also, gain self-worth, forgive yourself, and accept kindness from others. You are a valuable, worthy person, and you deserve to feel the joy of life!
I hope you do everything you can to heal and go on to live a remarkable life. Because you deserve to be happy, loved, and treated well. Subscribe so you can continue your journey of healing and improvement.