Shame is created by invalidation which is felt when we have been diminished in some way or not respected, or when our truth has not been honoured. As children we may have been told that we were wrong, bad, naughty or not good enough. We may have been treated as insignificant, not listened to or not have had our opinion or feelings taken seriously. Shaming words include things like stupid, silly, pervert, ugly, idiot, bad, dumb, evil, wrong, and imbecile. Phrases that would be considered shaming are ‘how dare you’, ‘You should know…..’, ‘You’re so thick’, ‘grow up’. Other acts that shame people are sarcasm, shaming experiences such as wetting the bed and being punished for it, swearing and derogatory phrases along with such labels as arrogant, controlling, and righteous.
Shame is often about being exposed in public as flawed, inferior or deficient and therefore one of the most common fears is that of public speaking. As children this is most often experienced either in the family or in the classroom. The child made to sit in the corner as punishment may feel ashamed of themselves. Shame may also be experienced when a teacher’s use of sarcasm causes the other students to laugh at them leading to them becoming highly self-conscious or easily embarrassed.
Once hurt by shame it is not uncommon to fear it happening again and we tend to put our attention outside ourselves in order to monitor how we believe we are appearing to others and their response to us. As a result we lose touch with what is really going on inside us. This loss often results in making mistakes that may in turn lead to people laughing at us or thinking we are stupid thus bringing more shame on ourselves. When someone has been shamed they are more likely to be shaming towards others themselves.
6 things you can do to lessen or let go of the feelings of shame.
1.Grieve your shame – Shame is an emotion of sadness due to the belief that we are bad, wrong, and without the right to exist and be respected. If you continue to deny, repress and try to avoid feeling shame you will continue to suffer. The shame you have experienced in your life has built up and you need to release the hold that you have got on it if you want to feel free, fully alive, whole and happy. If you have been hurt by shame in the past it is perfectly natural to cry about it now.
2.Stop shaming yourself and others- People tell themselves they are stupid, silly, dumb, no good, hopeless etc instead of feeling the emotions under it and being empathetic with themselves. Sometimes we make mistakes and that is okay. Shaming other people shuts them down and distances us from them.
3.Connect with our essence – We are so engrossed in judging, criticizing, and invalidating ourselves that it is often difficult for us to perceive of our personality as totally okay.
4.Find a group of people who will not judge you – Being able to listen and feel what the other person is sharing and understand what their experience has been without needing to draw any conclusions or trying to make sense of it. It involves not taking sides and not judging the other person as good, bad, right or wrong, just letting their story and experience in to our hearts.
5.Come out of hiding – When we feel ashamed we often want to pull back and hide away. We are afraid that someone will find out what we are ashamed to tell everyone. Live with integrity, be honest, and face up to those difficult issues that you have been running away from.
6.Stand up for your rights – When you stand up for your right to be honoured and respected you begin to let go of the hold shaming has on you. You deserve to be treated with respect.
Shame invalidates you and is disrespectful, it is most likely something that has been with you since childhood and once you are aware of what it is and how it came to be you will be able to take the steps necessary to heal and move forward. If you are currently being shamed it is important to express to the person that you are feeling abused and ask them to stop. Shame usually occurs from a closed hearted exchange and there is usually a lack of vulnerability (from fear of being hurt) on both sides. Depending on the extent to which the shaming is an issue it may be necessary to get some help in dealing with and overcoming it.Share this: Twitter | StumbleUpon | Facebook | LinkedIn