How to Recognise and Overcome Shame

The origins of shame

The origins of shame are almost always tied back to experiences of feeling judged, criticized, or rejected by others.

Effects of shame

Many people who have a tendency to feel ashamed tend to avoid social situations, withdraw from others, and try to preserve their reputation by hiding aspects of themselves they believe will cause rejection. This can lead to negative consequences, such as being bullied at school or work or experiencing a stifling sense of self-doubt.

Causes of shame

Shame often develops in childhood as a result of a number of factors, such as poor upbringing, neglect or abuse, emotional or physical trauma, or a lack of social support. It can also be caused by a person's own behavior (e.g., failure to do a task or fail to meet a goal).

Managing shame

It is important to learn how to identify and manage shame as it develops in order to reduce its impact on your life. One of the best ways to do this is to pay close attention to your thoughts and feelings, noticing when they are dominated by shame.

Another way to do this is to keep a diary or write down your thoughts and feelings when they occur. If you find that these are more difficult than usual, it may be a good idea to consider talking to someone who can help you. Talking with a professional can help you understand your situation better and can guide you in developing coping skills for managing your emotions. You can find a qualified therapist online or ask your doctor about finding one in your area.

Difference between guilt and shame

Guilt and shame are similar at first glance, but they have different origins and motivations. Guilt is a response to something you did wrong, whereas shame is an emotion that occurs when you feel bad about yourself.

Resolving shame

If you are experiencing toxic shame, therapy can help. A therapist can explore the root of your shame to heal it and help you build positive relationships that will provide the validation you need to heal.

Resolving shame requires forgiveness and compassion, not celebration or denial. This can be very challenging, but it is necessary if you want to move beyond the cycle of self-hatred and destructive behaviors that shame can cause.

Focusing on self-love

The best way to resolve your shame is to focus on the things you love about yourself. It is not possible to do this overnight, but you can begin by writing down your most important traits. This can be done in a journal or a note on your computer, as if you were telling a friend about yourself.

As you begin to explore your own unique set of characteristics, you may be able to see that there are many reasons why others like and trust you. This can help you reframe your shame and allow you to accept that there are people in your life who care about you and that they will be willing to support you.

In addition, remember that you are not at fault and that you deserve the love of God more than anyone else does. When you are tempted to feel shame, remind yourself that God loves you more than you can imagine and that His Son Jesus suffered for your sins so that you could be forgiven.

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