Oftentimes, shame is closely associated with guilt. Though both feelings may seem similar, it does differ from one another. When you feel guilt, it is when you have done something wrong and you feel really bad about it. On the other hand, when you feel shame, it comes from within you that “you are not good enough”.
Shame is a feeling you have built-in you from a long time ago. In most cases, shame is developed by repetitively hearing negative aspects about you from the people surrounding you- it can be your parents, siblings, peers, and sometimes your teachers. For instance, when you were young, you were always compared to your sibling being better than you. When this is repeatedly said to you, you will always believe that you are the underdog and that no matter what you do, you will not do better. When this happens, shame becomes a roadblock to your healing, success, and aligning with your purpose in life.
Overcoming shame is not an overnight process. It takes time and it can happen if you follow these simple practices in your everyday life:
Acknowledging Past Occasions
Acknowledging what happened in your past is an important part to overcoming shame. Recognize the event/s you have been through. What are the things that have been said to you? Who are the people that said it? What did you feel when it was said to you? Giving these details some attention will help you understand where the feeling of shame comes from. It will help you process the root cause of your feelings.
Write Everything Down
Once you have acknowledged the root cause of your shame, write it all down. As you write, it will help you release all the negative emotions you have inside you. By means of writing, you are able to express what you really feel, and rather than denying it in your mind, it is all written down now. After that, you are able to review all these and start thinking of another perspective, which will shift your feeling of shame to feeling good about yourself.
Meditating helps your mind to focus. It is a form of mindful practice that lets you center your mind on what is important to you. As you breathe in, think of that shameful feeling that hinders you from doing your purpose. And as you breathe out, let go of the shame and think of what you wanted to achieve instead. Breathe in again, but this time, instead of the shameful feeling, think about your strength that will help you be the person you really are. As you do this repeatedly, you are instilling in your mind your positive attributes and that these traits will help you in bringing out the best in you.
Learn From Your Mistakes
Mistakes are not the end of the road. When you encounter mistakes, you do not stop. You simply pause and clear your mind. Think of what you need to do next and remember where you made the wrong turn. Through this, you learn from your mistake and try hard not to make the same mistake again. Do not let your feeling of shame be the reason why you stop trying. Rather, be mindful of your strengths and believe that you can achieve great things.
Always remember that your shame is not your label. That is not who you are. Think positively about yourself. Think of your strengths, but also acknowledge your weaknesses. Your weaknesses can be improved as long as you believe you can. As you overcome your shame, you would not believe how far and big your triumphs will be.
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