How can we understand shame?
Shame is identified as negative beliefs or ideas we come to understand about ourselves.
Here is an interesting fact…
The majority of shame we experience in adulthood is in fact a result of past childhood wounds.
This is how powerful shame is!
The experiences and ideas we have with shame can last a whole lifetime if we don’t heal our shame.
Ask these quick questions and answer them honestly?
In childhood, have I ever experienced neglect, abandonment, abuse (mental, verbal, physical, or sexual), or my other needs were not met on a consistent basis by my parents or caretakers?
In school was I bullied, overlooked, or not accepted by my peers, teacher, coaches, and or mentors?
Did I often compare myself (lifestyle, appearance, image) to others on t.v., in movies, on social media, etc.?
If you answered yes to one or more questions, then you might be dealing with unresolved shame.
Although shame can have a strong power over us, we are all able to overcome, be free and heal from shame.
What does shame look like?
Shame is the inner voice we hear and believe that tells us things like, ‘’I’m not good enough, no one will love me as is, or I’m too (ugly, dumb, stupid…) that’s why people don’t like/love me.
It is a nonstop internal dialogue filled with negative emotions and thoughts of reasons why people hurt you or don’t love you.
Even long after the hurt and you might not even be around the very same people that placed that hurt on you, the repercussions still linger.
How it controls our behaviors
Our beliefs of shame shape how we think about ourselves, others, and the world around us.
We can understand shame by how we handle our problems and relationships.
There is an inner compass we all have which tells us what we need and what we want becomes defected. Of course, this is not our fault.
There could have been many horrible things that we had to go through during childhood or even adulthood that are beyond our control.
And we don’t want to place blame on others because it is not about them. It is about us and our healing journey.
Shame pushes us on a path that makes us want to gravitate toward people and things that make us feel good at the moment.
But, in the long term are not actually beneficial for us.
Sure, these people and things will help us soothe our shame (pain) and it feels great at the moment.
But unfortunately, it only ends up bringing us more pain and more shame added to our original wounds.
Sometimes shame might even intentionally drive us to do things that we know are not good for us.
We self-sabotage our own happiness in fears that it might escape us or that we don’t truly deserve to be happy in life.
Shame moves silently within us, anyone who has childhood wounds from pain or trauma will likely be affected by shame.
You can’t just by looking at someone truly know that they experience shame, but it surely will affect that individual’s mental health and life.
How shame affects our lives.
If you have ever dealt with shame, you know that it is a hard and long internal battle.
The battle between wanting to be loved and happy with feeling like you don’t deserve happiness because you are not good enough.
Don’t think that shame only results in people who feel and display that they have low self-worth or are insecure.
People who have ‘’narcissistic’’ personality traits can also be those who are dealing with shame.
Even though they seem overly confident, charismatic, and self-assured.
As stated, before you won’t be able to tell who battles with shame or not just by looking at the surface.
Shame affects the inner parts of ourselves.
The part that is hidden from the world and maybe hidden from our own eyes because it is too hard for us to face.
No matter how well it ”looks” like we are doing in life, if our shame is not dealt with or properly healed it will cause destruction to different areas of our lives.
Shame makes us prone to erratic, compulsive or addictive behaviors.
Stuck on an endless path of unhappiness, codependency, and needing to prove our self-worth to the world.
Not to mention that we create environments that perpetuate hurt to us, those around us, and our children.
Parents (one or both) who battled with unhealed shame often pass on shame to their children and cause cycles of generational pain and trauma.
One might not see the importance of dealing with our shame.
After all the healing journey is not an easy road.
We must understand that our shame causes a ripple effect that creates destruction with everyone and everything we come in contact with.
How we can begin to heal shame.
If you are battling with shame and would like to overcome this fight, that is great news!
I do have to let you know that this journey you want to embark on will be tough!
Not as tough as living and battle with shame. But it will take courage and mental perseverance to come out to the other side.
Healing begins with diving deep into those hurtful emotions and pain that you once had.
That’s why it is very important to seek help from a professional or someone that has experience in helping those with Shame.
It is always best to have a professional guide or mentor to help you alongside.
It is imperative to your healing that find someone you are comfortable with and that whom you feel safe.
Before starting out on this journey keep in mind not to have too high of an expectation or standard for yourself.
For some the healing journey will longer or shorter than others and that is okay.
Or you might have a harder or easier time on this journey and that is still okay.
We want to overcome the mindset of being so hard on ourselves and our healing process.
Remember that you are worth the love and respect that you seek.
All of us are worth having and receiving love and respect!
During tough times in your healing remind yourself that YOU are worth fighting for!
If others make you feel selfish for wanting to heal and better yourself, know that it is not selfish.
It is not selfish to want to be healthy and happy. So, that you can properly give love to yourself (self-love) and others.