Understand what shame is. Heal from shame that binds you.
“I feel I’m never enough. Something is wrong with me and I hardly have an idea what it is. I might as well disappear or drown in my drinking at the bar,” cried Tina in one of our Zoom sessions.
Tina suffered a lot of physical bruises and wounds from her latest boyfriend. She could not let go despite the harm being done to her.
Shame. Author Brene Brown once described what it is.
“Shame is an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that you are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something you’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes you feel unworthy of connection.”
Shame produces shame-based thinking. Check and notice the signs of it.
- It makes you vulnerable to perfectionism.
- It makes you critical of yourself which drives you to be critical of others,
- It makes you use self-defeating thoughts to shield yourself from shame.
Understand too the difference between guilt and shame.
“Shame is closely related to guilt, but there is a key qualitative difference. No audience is needed for feelings of guilt, no one else need know, for the guilty person is his own judge. Not so for shame. The humiliation of shame requires disapproval or ridicule by others. If no one ever learns of a misdeed there will be no shame, but there still might be guilt. Of course, there may be both. The distinction between shame and guilt is very important, since these two emotions may tear a person in opposite directions. The wish to relieve guilt may motivate a confession, but the wish to avoid the humiliation of shame may prevent it.” — Paul Ekman
In psychotherapy, shame is a common psychological wound that needs a lot of work to heal.
By its nature and dynamic, it involves the only way to heal: to take off the focus off you and put it on the Higher power, the experience as well as expression of your higher self.