Shame and guilt often go side by side. Shame is a self-conscious emotion that relates to regret, self-dishonour, feelings of unworthiness, humiliation, embarrassed and powerlessness; which can impact on your self-confidence. Shame exists as a result of your own or others’ actions. Shame is related to who you are as a person, while guilt is related to what you do. For those who feel shame often tend to withdraw, very good in self-blame or being angry. These feelings can lead you to a lot of different type of addictions, e.g. alcohol, food, sex, drugs, gambling, etc.
How to combat shame?
Face it rather than denying it
Acknowledging that you feel shame is an important step to deal with your shame. By acknowledging it you break its power over your life. Denying it can lead you to destructive behaviours that can add to your feeling of shame.
Talk to someone
Talking to someone you trust can help you to re-evaluate your feelings and correct your perception about yourself.
- Professional help
Going to counselling can be immensely helpful to re-wire the shame messages in your head and learning to differentiate between who you are and what you do. As shame can be deep-rooted from childhood experiences, you may need a professional person to unpack your feelings and to deal with the unfinished businesses from your past.
- Accept and forgive
No one is perfect, so accept your shortcomings. Without accepting your shortcoming that causes you to feel shame, it will be hard for you to forgive yourself. Some might be ashamed by others and by accepting it can help you forgive the person and to let it go.
It is important to know that almost everyone has struggled with shame in their life. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Dealing with your shame means you do self-care for your well-being.