Shame: It's ABout Time we Talked About It
Can we talk about shame for a minute?
Although it is a normal part of the human experience, shame can get in the way of us
being able to be fully ourselves, connect authentically, chase our desires and so
When we realise that the easiest way to dissolve shame is to pull it out to the surface,
and share it and that often the internal stories we tell ourselves don't hold up under
But what if you are holding onto shame around a particular event or person and you
just cannot seem to shake it, please get some support.
If you'd asked me a little while ago if I felt shame around anything, there would have
been bits like feeling like my brain cannot keep up (oh hey ADHD!) but I just
unearthed one HUGE source of shame and I did not even know it was there.
I was witholding self-love and self-forgiveness for choices I made when I was only a
wee little girl - sounds so strange, but true.
Working through this, through body and breath, and with a trusted professional has
brought a whole lotta healing to me in the past few weeks and I feel LIGHTER.
I included in this post some
questions that can help bring
shame to the surface for you too, if
you have an inkling that there is
something there for you.
What is shame?
Shame is a complex and powerful emotion that involves feelings of embarrassment, humiliation, or disgrace in relation to ourself and our actions.
It is a deeply uncomfortable and distressing emotion that arises when a person perceives that they have violated social norms, moral standards, or their own internal values.
Where does shame come from?
Shame often results from a sense of failing to meet expectations or from the fear of judgment, rejection, or disapproval by others.
It may be triggered by various factors such as personal mistakes, perceived inadequacies, or social comparisons.
Is shame normal?
The experience of shame can have significant psychological and emotional impacts, leading to feelings of worthlessness, self-consciousness, and a desire to hide or withdraw from others.
However, it is important to recognise that shame is a common human experience and that addressing and understanding it can contribute to personal growth, self-compassion, and healing.
What is the cost of shame?
Feeling ashamed can have a significant impact on our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
It can hinder our ability to:
-> Express ourselves authentically
-> Take risks or pursue goals
-> Form and maintain relationships
-> Seek help and support
-> Practise self-compassion & self-care
-> Embrace vulnerability
-> Learn from our mistakes
Overall, feeling shame keeps us separated from others and holding the mistaken belief that it is "only me" who feels or thinks a particular way.
One antidote to feeling SHAME is to SHARE our internal fears - when we share, we often find that either we're being too hard on ourselves or thinking/feeling in a self-defeating pattern like "the imposter syndrome"', "the perfectionist" or "the good girl"
Sources of shame
Asking yourself these questions can help bring shame to the surface to be seen, shared and questioned, rather than swimming along under the cerebral surface unchecked:
What am I making myself wrong for?
What could I never tell anyone?
Where am I with holding love and acceptance from myself?
Where in life do I feel judged, "other'd" or unseen?
Are there societal or family rules I feel pressure to meet that don't feel aligned to my values?
Are there specific areas of my identity I feel the need to hide or keep secret?
Where does a sense of being "less than" show up in my relationships?
Self compassion as soul balm
Use what I like to call the best friend filtre as a self-compassion test: If you would not say or think something about your BFF, it does not get the self-compassion test.
No matter what society, our families, or even our inner critic says: we are human, we make mistakes, and we are all perfectly imperfect just as we are.
The opposite of shame is self-acceptance and self-worth - moving little by little towards these gently increases our self-compassion and our ability to tend to ourselves.
Midlife is a natural time for introspection, healing and developing greater self-compassion and care: