You’ve come to the right place if you are wondering what shame is, how it affects us and twists our identity, ways we are shamed, why we carry shame for years, the lies shame promotes, and how to combat shame and heal from it.
Hello and welcome precious reader!
Do you ever feel this way or hear these voices:
“You are not good enough.”
“You don’t deserve more.”
“You don’t have a seat here.”
“Something is wrong with you and it is your fault.”
“You are the problem.”
“You deserved to be treated that way.”
“Why do you even try?”
“The truth will send everyone running from you.”
“No one would like the real you.”
If so, you are not alone. And you are in the same situation as the rest of us.
Shame’s goal is to twist and distort your identity. To keep you from being the wonderful, glorious, amazing you that you were created to be.
Shame wants you to believe the above lies. But don’t.
Shame distorts our identity by telling lies about our identity.
Just like a jack-in-the-box, shame likes to pop its ugly head up and remind us we are broken. Not good enough. That our past defines our present and future. That we don’t measure up to everyone else. That we are not smart enough. Brave enough. Skinny enough. Good enough. Loveable or perfect enough.
It tells us we have not done enough. Proved our worth enough.
It wants to whittle us down to size and kick us in the back.
It wants us to forget who we really are. Our true identity. And get us instead to focus on this false reality we think represents us.
Once we listen to the lie and start believing it, it starts distorting our identity. And as time goes on, we often keep validating and believing the lies about our self (our identity and worth) unless we use truth to stamp out and discredit these lies.
How shame affects our identity is that it says it is all our fault. That we don’t measure up. That we need to try harder, do more, and hide our true self.
It blames us and holds us accountable, shaming us in the process.
And we accept fault and think that something is wrong with us.
This is how shame works. It is how it distorts our identity and diminishes our worth.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can fight back.
To win the shame game, we first need to learn about shame and how it operates.
We can’t beat shame at its game, unless we understand how the game is played!
That’s why I am so glad you found this resource page about shame and how to deal with it.
First of all, don’t feel bad that you have experienced shame. Shame is a universal human experience. So, don’t ever feel shame about feeling shame.
We have all felt shame and carry injuries from shame.
Shame injures you. Hurts you. Which means you need healing.
You may feel bad, like you have no hope or there is no solution. Or you may feel flawed and like you need fixing, but what you really need is healing. Why? Because shame leaves deep scares and festering wounds that need special healing.
We do not choose shame. It is often something done to us or something we experience without our permission.
You probably have questions, and below there is a Q&A with a lot of answers.
So we all have shame? Now What?
Freedom from shame is possible. Learn how to wrench shame from the driver’s seat and operate and live in truth and love.
First off, this site will only welcome you, love you, and hand out grace. It does NOT in any way want to shame you, tell you it is your fault, or make you feel bad about what happened to you.
I want you to find freedom and release from shame. And you can. Because the one thing that shame distorts is our identity (who we are). Shame lies to us and says we are no good. Unlovable. That if anyone knew the truth about us, they would unfriend us. We are defective. And that it is all our fault.
Stop listening to those voices. Stop right now. Those are all just lies that shame wants you to believe. Shame’s goal is to tear down your identity and steal your joy. And it is good at its job.
The truth is always different from a lie. And the truth is you are loveable. Worthy. Valuable. More so than you can even imagine. Yes, you are.
With a few simple steps and some more knowledge about shame, you can quit believing all the lies that shame serves up to you. You can be free. Shame free.
We can’t change the shameful experiences that happened to us, but we can choose to change what we believe. We can stop believing the lies from shame and and choose to believe the truth. We can be in charge of our reactions and emotions to shame and see it and ourselves differently
Let’s get started.
Shame is some of the heaviest and burdensome luggage we deal with.
Have you ever lugged a large suitcase around a busy airport? The kind without wheels and a broken handle that is 2 ounces below minimum weight requirements? You finally quit struggling and sit down to rest for a minutes and notice everyone zipping past you with their compact wheel racing suitcases they are pushing with barely a finger worth of pressure.
Shame can be like that broken suitcase you are trying to lug. And freedom can feel like exchanging your old suitcase with a new wheeled suitcase that zips effortlessly beside you.
But don’t be fooled. If you are human, you carry shame. It may look like others are not burdened with shame, but shame is a human condition and something we all experience. People may look shame free, but we are not. Not unless we have dealt with our shame and done the work to combat its lies.
I wish I could wave a wand and stop all shame. Bu I can’t.
As long as we are human, we will encounter shame, that is why we want to learn how to react to shame and deal with it.
Shame is not shameful. It is the human condition we all experience.
And that is sad.
But we don’t have to let it have the last word.
There is freedom.
Shame is a heavy word, but I don’t want this to be a heavy topic. Because the good news is that we can reduce the feelings of shame we lug around. We can replace the lies, that shame has foisted upon us, with the truth. We can reshape the narrative we believe about our self and our identity. We can heal our hurts and injuries caused by shame.
Just the word shame, can cause us shame. We may feel it in our body (similarly or a little different from others), but we all have known and experienced shame. It is a universal emotion we as humans share and experience. No matter your race, age, country, language, or status.
Science has shown we start experiencing shame as early as 12-18 months. Long before we have the words or skills to deal with these formidable and powerful emotions which make us feel ill, want to hide, and feel there is something wrong with us.
I am a Christian, so my approach will look at this topic from a Christian viewpoint. But whether you are Christian or not, much of this information applies and can be used to heal from and stop shame in its tracks, no matter your religion.
Maybe you were googling this topic. Maybe you are looking for solutions or answers to questions. No matter why you landed here, you are invited to come in and relax.
You are brave for exploring this topic. Your journey may unearth some unpleasant memories and realizations, but freedom comes with some hard work. So brave reader, keep the goal in sight and celebrate your successes.
The truth about shame really can set you free from shame.
We are here to heal, not shame and blame others.
Please know that our goal is not to blame and shame the people who shamed us. That’s not our job.
We have all used shame on others. None of us have a free-from-shaming-others-ticket and were most likely doing the best we could. And we can assume the same for the people who shamed us. People in pain, often lash out and hurt others. (No, that does not make what they did right. And yes, it caused us pain.)
That’s one reason we want to gain freedom over shame, so we don’t hurt people when we are in pain. When we feel like we are not enough and we are not liking who we are. When our self-worth is rickety and negative doubts and thoughts are running through our grey matter.
We want to heal our shame that is distorting our identity and not pass shame onto those around us. We want to thrive and walk in joy (two things shame hates).
We want to unconditionally love others and ourselves, because they are opposites.
Let’s start learning!
First off, there is a Q & A below. Click on the questions and see short answers. Want to know more? Dive deeper into the subject by reading the recommended web pages and resources.
There is also a Shame Quiz you can take to identify some areas that shame affects you. Don’t worry, the quiz is completely confidential. (Only you know the answers.)
Download the PDF freebie about shame and discover tips on dealing with shame. (see below)
If you want to dig deeper, here is a list of shame and identity resources. If you know of other good resources, please email me from my contact page. I would love to add them.
Stop letting shame say, “You are NOT enough.”
- It’s time to stop believing the lies that shame is saying about you.
- To quit thinking you deserve less and it’s your fault.
- To quit hiding the real you.
- To quit the negative self-talk about yourself.
- It’s time to learn the truth and change the narrative about yourself.
Learn practical ways to deal with shame. Exercises and tips to help stop shame from eroding your identity and stealing your joy. Avoid shame from tripping you up in the future.
What to Do When You Are Feeling Shame: A Guided Exercise will help you take steps towards that freedom.
It’s time to start unwrapping shame by walking in truth!
More about me.
I am not a shame expert, but I am a human who has experienced shame and been on a journey to silence shame in myself and others. My goal is to give people the tools to set themselves free from the bonds and lies that shame holds them in. So, look to me as a fellow traveler of life and a mentor who is a few steps farther along on this journey to freedom.
I set out to write one blog post about shame. That turned into research and thinking about shame for months as I wrote 11 blog posts about shame. Which set me on the journey of discovering how prevalent shame was in my own life (which surprised me because I didn’t feel I had much shame), and then taking steps to heal the lies that shame left on my soul.
I am still thinking about shame and researching the topic. My future goal is to create a course to help you heal from and navigate shame. When we have the tools to deal with shame, our responses will be healthier and shame will not trip us up so much.
I don’t want you to just believe everything I say, but think about it and judge it on its own merit. What I share are my own opinions, perceptions, and understandings of shame based on research and knowledge. I am a fellow traveler on this journey and don’t know all the answers.
Shame brainwashes us and leads us to believe one way about our self and the world. But the truth frees us and helps give us a new way of thinking and being in the world. I hope this information does the same for you.
You can be free from shame and no longer held hostage by its chains.
I know, because I am freer than I have ever been.
I was raised by a toxic mother who used shame and conditional love as readily as she drank water (which sadly is probably how she was raised and so she was doing what she knew). For years I believed my worth was based upon what I did. That I needed to be perfect, and yet something was wrong with me. And more. Yet now, I am no longer bound by those insidious lies that shame led me to adopt and believe. I can not change the past, or other people, but I can choose to change my narrative, how I view the past, stop believing shame’s lies about my identity, and instead believe the truth about myself.
You can too!
Cheering you on!
P.S. Don’t forget to take the shame quiz! Knowing what lies you are believing, is one of the first steps to breaking the lies and replacing them with truth.
Curious about which lies shame is telling you?
We all carry shame? None of us are immune from it. The question is how much are we carrying?
And which lies has shame gotten us to believe?
Take the quiz (it’s totally confidential and requires no email address) and discover how shame may be affecting you.
Once you know, you can take steps to stop letting shame be in the driver’s seat.
Questions and answers about shame.
What is Shame?
The fear that we are not good enough. We often feel unworthy of love, to dirty for people to want to be around, not deserving, and not good enough to belong.
Shame tells us to hide (it isolates us) and that we are not worthy of love and connection. That we are bad people.
What shame tells us (the message)?
Shame is a liar. It never tells the truth. And then these lies pop up in our soul and become a part of us and our identity and we carry them around for years, until we address them.
Some common lies that shame weaves into our identity: >You are not good enough. >You don’t deserve more. >You don’t have a seat here. Something is wrong with you and it is your fault. > You are the problem. >You deserve to be treated that way. > Asking for what you want is selfish. > Why do you even try? >You’re worthless. > The truth will leave you friendless. > You are a bad person. > You are defective. Unlovable. > It tells us there is no cure. To try harder. Hide more. >Be something different. Wear masks. Keep secrets.
Shame has no love or grace. It doesn’t allow us to change or grow or overcome our past. It tears us down. It doesn’t present a solution. It convinces us to believe lies about our self.
Go deeper, read There is No Shame in Feeling Shame, post 2 and Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk in Freedom, post 10.
What does shame sound like?
The voice of shame is always accusatory, judgmental, and critical. It is never kind and encouraging, but instead condemning. It loves to be right and point out HOW and WHY we are wrong. Sometimes you hear its voice, sometimes you just feel beaten down with no hope or breathing room.
Go deeper, read The Symptoms of Shame and the 4 Ways It Makes You Feel, post 5, and Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk in Freedom, post 10. Take the shame quiz and see how shame might affect you.
What kinds of things can shame us?
Our past: Lack of education. Meager childhood. Abuse. Being bullied. Absent parent. Abortion. Poor mistakes in Life. Sin.
Our personality and who we are: Being to sensitive. To tall. To short. To Loud. A daydreamer. An introvert. Outspoken. Our gender. Ethnicity.
Our lack and limitations: Lack of money. Health problems. No kids. Dyslexia. Labels and diagnosis. Addictions. Mental capacity.
Society expectations and peer pressure: Mother shame. Body shame. Not fitting in. Being left out. Not being able to do it all or meet expectations of those who matter to us. Needing help. Lack of acceptance.
Having more than others: Having a job. Opportunities. Kids. A nice house. Having privileges.
Spiritual life: Lacking in spiritual maturity. Not giving enough. Inconsistent with prayer. God not answering our prayers. Not fitting the Christian mold.
Go deeper, read Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk in Freedom, post 10.
Who feels shame?
All of us. If we are human, we have experienced shame.
Please know, there is no shame in feeling shame. It is a natural human emotion, like happiness or fear. The emotion of shame is not bad, even if it feels icky, like fear does. The emotion is neither good nor bad. It is just trying to communicate something to us.
If we don’t address our feelings, though, then we carry that shame and think we are the defective ones. And that shame erodes our identity. We begin to believe the lies that shame tells us and these lies affect us, our choices, and life until we address them and replace them with the truth.
Go deeper, see There is No Shame in Feeling Shame, post 2; How the Lies of Shame Cause Us To Think We Are the Defective Ones, post 3; Environments Where Shame Thrives, post 4.
How does shame develop?
Shame develops when we misinterpret events, words, or actions that were done towards us (but were out of our control). Instead of realizing the truth (often because we are to young and don’t have the life knowledge or skills) to see the situation correctly, we mistakenly think it is our fault and we are to blame.
The problem is that most of us were not taught as children how to deal with shame. So we internalize it. Think it is us. Believe the lies that shame whispers about it being our fault and that we deserved it. And as adults continue to believe these same lies.
Go deeper, read How the Lies of Shame Cause Us to Think We Are the Defective Ones, post 3.
Do we feel shame all the time?
Not usually. Most of us have trigger points that bring up shame from the past and both similar and different things can cause shame in the present.
Just like we don’t have the same personality, self-expectations, strengths and weaknesses, or experiences, different things cause us shame.
While shame is universal, and we have all felt it, we feel shame about different things. What may bring mild embarrassment to one person, may bring intense feelings of shame to another. None of us like being teased about our body shape, but not all of us will feel shame when someone talks negatively about our body shape.
New experiences and environments tend to cause us more shame as we are learning, don’t know all the rules, are afraid to ask for help, and don’t want to appear incompetent.
Go deeper, read Why We Use Shame on Others and Ourselves: 6 Eye Opening Reasons, post 9 and Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk In Freedom, post 10. Also take the Shame Quiz to see how shame manifests for you.
Is feeling shame our fault?
No. We often feel shame for something that was done to us and for something that was out of our control. Shame occurs when we misinterpret the events or words or experience. We tie what happened to our identity and believe the lies that shame tells us about our identity.
A simple example is a young child feeling shame for her parent’s divorce, thinking that because of her actions or words her parent’s marriage failed. The truth is the parents choose to divorce.
Or a child who is bullied by her teachers thinking she deserved it because if only she had acted differently or wasn’t so “different” (or fill in your own word) she would not have been treated that way. The truth is the teacher choose to bully the child and blame them for their actions.
Shame consistently makes us think it was our fault, when it actually wasn’t or isn’t.
Go deeper, read How the Lies of Shame Cause Us to Think We Are the Defective Ones, post 3, and 12 Ways that Misinterpreting Events Causes Shame, post 6.
How can we avoid feeling shame?
We can’t. Feeling shame is not the problem. It’s what we do with the shame and how we handle the shame that causes the problems. It is also all the pains we take to avoid feeling shame at all costs that can create problems.
If we deal with the emotion of shame right away, we can eliminate it. Poof, it’s gone. And we are free.
Go deeper, see Environments Where Shame Thrives, post 4; Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk in Freedom, post 10; and a PDF Freebie What to Do When You Are Feeling Shame: A Guided Exercise
Which environments promote or exacerbate shame?
Here are a few:
1. Secrecy. When we keep secrets about ourselves, others, our past, and our family, shame often develops. Shame thrives in secrecy and grows when we don’t talk about it.
2. Conditional love. It is controlling and gives the message that you are NOT worthy; you are loved only for what you do; and if you disappoint or something bad happens, it’s your fault, try harder.
3. Focusing on the past. Bringing up the past again and again. This keeps us caught and seen in our past mistakes.
4. Judgement and criticalness. Growth is stifled and we rarely feel good enough.
5. Rejection. When our emotions and feelings are discounted, opinions ignored, and our actions criticized we learn not to trust ourselves.
6. Labeling the person as bad. Instead of a specific action, behavior, or thing as bad.
7. Cruel and hurtful words. Harsh words that blame, cut, wound, and are untrue can make us think something is wrong with us.
8. Trauma and abuse. Bullying and ridicule. Neglect and ignoring.
9. Acute self-awareness.
10. Blame and shame.
11. High expectations; unattainable guidelines; rigid family, group, or religious rules.
Go deeper, read Environments Where Shame Thrives, post 4.
How does shame develop?
We misinterpret the words or actions of what we experience or what happens to us.
Shame develops because of the way we look at ourselves and the situation.
Shame has nothing to do with what we do, it is out of our control and it develops from what is done to us. We feel shame when something out of our choosing is done to us (we don’t initiate it).
Shame is often not our fault. But we misinterpret the shameful feelings and the event or words as something is wrong with us and we are defective. It is how we choose to react and process the events or words that creates the shame. Many of us, though, grew up in shameful environments.
Go deeper, see Environments Where Shame Thrives, post 4; How the Lies of Shame Cause Us to Think We Are the Defective Ones, post 3; and There is No Shame in Feeling Shame, post 2.
When does shame speak to us?
Often is follows us all day as a quiet nagging voice. It tells us we look horrible when we wake up and look in the mirror. It reminds us we still haven’t lost that extra weight as we get ready in the morning. It whispers that we are a bad mother when we yell at the kids at the breakfast table. It tells us we will never get the job we want in the office meeting. And when our husband asks if we washed his workout clothes so he can go jogging, it reminds us we are a failure. It is often a nagging judgmental, accusing, and critical voice that steals our joy and reminds us how we are failing. It is a voice that tells us we are not enough and makes everything our responsibility and our fault. After dinner we ask our children to pick up their toys. Feeling like a failure ourselves, and not wanting them to end up with our faults, we turn this critical voice on them and manage to shame them for not being proficient at picking up their toys.
Why we cannot trust shame?
Shame does not tell us the truth. It does not portray reality. Instead, shame lies to us and makes us feel bad. The emotion or feeling of shame, that we all feel when embarrassed, humiliated, mortified, and disgraced, is a perfectly normal emotion to feel (like fear, anger, or joy). And there is no shame in feeling the emotions of shame. It is neither a good or bad emotion. It is just trying to tell us something. If we deal with the emotion, we can dissipate it and release it. If we don’t, it can grow and become a shameful secret we carry around for years, trying to hide it from others. The choice is ours. But please know there is no shame in feeling the emotions of shame.
Go deeper, read There is No Shame in Feeling Shame, post 2 and How the Lies of Shame Cause Us to Think We Are the Defective Ones, post 3.
Do the same things cause us shame?
Most definitely not. We are unique individuals and view life differently. We have different upbringings and experiences.
Many things can shame us. But what shames one person may not shame another person. It all depends on how we view the event or situation and if we believe the lies that may develop as a result of these things.
What does shame do?
It attacks our identity. Our core: WHO we are (not what we do). It tells us something is wrong with us and it is our fault.
It lies and says we are defective. That if others knew the truth about us, they would not want to be our friend.
Shame isolates us and makes us feel unworthy. It tells us that we are inadequate. Not good enough. And to hide our shameful parts if we want to be loved.
Go deeper, see How the Lies of Shame Cause Us to Think We Are the Defective Ones, post 3; The Symptoms of Shame and the 4 Ways It Makes You Feel, post 5; and Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, and Walk In Freedom, post 10.
Signs that we may be experiencing current shame, or that past shame is influencing us today?
Silence, not saying what we want or need. >Hiding our true identity/self from others so we are liked. >Not sharing parts of you, or keeping deep dark secrets from those closest to you. >Not being vulnerable. >Giving up your needs for the needs of others. >Not saying what’s on your mind if it doesn’t fit in with what others believe. >Thinking something is wrong with you if you do something wrong. >Feeling defective. >Finding worth in what you do, or accomplish, not who you are. >Taking great pains to not experience more shame. >Comparing yourself and finding yourself lacking more often than not. >Pleasing others to your detriment. >Feel selfish asking for things, help, or needs. >Feel an event, such as abuse, sexual abuse, upbringing, family problems, health diagnosis, made your defective and or un-loveable. >You engage in self-sabotage. >Engaging in addictive tendencies to numb shame. >Negative self-talk to yourself. >Use shame to motivate yourself. >Use anger and defensiveness as a coping mechanism. >Perfectionism. >Never feeling good enough. >Low self-esteem. >Negative feelings about yourself. And more . . . .
The truth is, we are all affected by shame unless we have done work to heal our shame. Take the shame quiz and find out how shame affects you.
Go deeper, read The Symptoms of Shame and the 4 Ways It Makes You Feel, post 5 and hop over and take the Shame Quiz.
What does shame feel like?
Shame is a most uncomfortable feeling we try to avoid.
Shame can come and go and be triggered by certain events or words.
Shame makes us feel worthless, disgraced, and unworthy. We want to hide, we often blame our self and engage in negative self-talk, we may react in anger, or seek relief in addiction.
Go deeper, read There is No Shame in Feeling Shame, post 2; The Symptoms of Shame and the 4 Ways It Makes You Feel, post 5; and Why We Use Shame on Others and Ourselves: 6 Eye Opening Reasons, post 9.
Why we feel shame?
So many things can shame us. We don’t live up to our own expectations. The expectations of others.
Others perceive us differently than we want to be viewed.
We can be shamed by actions. Words. And by things done to us and not done to us.
Current events or words can trigger past shame.
Go deeper, read Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk in Freedom, post 10.
What does it mean if you feel shame?
It means you are perfectly normal. Shame DOES NOT make you a bad person. It makes you human.
When you feel shame is means you have believed some of the lies that shame has told you. That you have misinterpreted words and actions and consider yourself defective in some way.
You had no choice in what was done to you; it is often not your fault. The good news is you can heal from shame and walk in freedom.
Go deeper, and read How the Lies of Shame Cause Us to Think We Are the Defective Ones, post 3 and 12 Ways that Misinterpreting Events Causes Shame, post 6.
What’s the difference between guilt and shame?
Shame says, “You are a bad person.” Guilt says, “You did something bad.”
Shame has us feel bad about WHO we are. Guilt has us feel bad about our actions.
Shame attacks our identity. Who we are. Our whole being. Something we have no control over.
Guilt focuses on our action. What we did. Something we have control over.
To overcome guilt, we confess or apologize and make amends.
To overcome shame, receive empathy and know the truth.
Guilt is constructive and can lead to us making good changes.
Shame is destructive and leads to feeling unworthy of love, flawed, not belonging, and unworthy of connection with others.
Go deeper, read Shame Versus Guilt: What’s the Big Difference?, post 7.
Shame versus quilt quiz to take:
How does shame affects our life, relationships, and identity?
Shame often causes our identity to shrink to nothing. It can be hard to be vulnerable, be our true self and not pretend to be someone else or hide parts of our true self.
We often view ourselves as seriously flawed. Unworthy.
We may doubt ourselves. Our abilities. Even the core of who we are.
It causes us to hide parts of ourselves. We don’t want anyone to know our secrets. We fear people would run from us or withdraw their love if they only knew the truth about us.
We feel we need to prove our worth.
We often dislike our self, engage in negative self-talk, and beat our self up.
Go deeper, read You Are Not Meant to Live in Shame, post ; How the Lies of Shame Cause Us to Think We Are the Defective Ones, post 3; The Symptoms of Shame and the 4 Ways It Makes You Feel, post 5; and Combat Shame by Knowing Your True Identity, post 8.
Where does shame rear its ugly head in our lives?
Shame lies to us about our identity 1. what we think of our self and 2. how we view our self. It makes us want to hide who we are. It takes away our voice. Be someone else. Not try, take chances, or try new things. It keeps us second guessing our self. We usually engage in negative self-talk. We often spend a lot of energy trying to not be shamed again by someone and proving our worth to others and our self.
We may think we are driven by fear or worry or anger, but if we glance behind those fears, worries, and anger, we may find shame fueling these emotions. We may be afraid of making mistakes or doing the wrong thing because as a child we were shamed for not doing what adults expected of us. And now we are just protecting our self by not stepping out to do that new thing. We may say we are afraid, but often behind that fear is past experiences where we experienced shame.
Dealing with shame and getting free of shame will help us be braver, stronger, less worried people.
Go deeper, read Shame: Recognize It, Heal from It, Walk in Freedom, post 10.
When to address shame?
Right now. Discover how shame works, what it looks and feels like, and how it affects you. Learn your true identity and replace the lies of shame for the truth. Start kicking shame to the curb. Empathy and truth crush shame’s hold on us.
For more tips and ways to fight shame read Combat Shame by Knowing Your True Identity, post 8, and Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk in Freedom, post 10. Also get the freebie: “What to Do When You Are Feeling Shame: A Guided Exercise.”
How do you fight shame?
Realize you are an injured person (who needs healing), not a person who just need to try harder and do better, or a person for who there is no hope (what shame tells you). Learn about shame — how it works and how to identify it.
Know your identity and combat the lies of shame with the truth. Learn your story and how shame impacts it. Quit believing that untrue story and instead rewrite and believe the true story.
Practice vulnerability and being in relationships with empathy. Let yourself be known and seem. Being known and seen break shame’s bonds.
Have grace, kindness, and compassion with yourself. Don’t blame yourself for believing the lies that shame told you. Let yourself be human.
Go deeper, read Combat Shame by Knowing Your True Identity, post 8; Why We Use Shame on Others and Ourselves: 6 Eye Opening Reasons, 9; and Shame: Recognize It, Heal from It, Walk in Freedom, post 10.
Want more tips? Get the freebie and learn specific tips on how to heal from shame and respond to shame in the future.
What God wants for us?
He wants us to walk in freedom from shame. In hope and love. To not hide our true self. To be in community with others. To experience love, grace, hope, and peace. He is the opposite of shame and never deals with us in shame.
Unconditional love is the opposite of shame.
Go deeper, read You Are Not Meant to Live in Shame, post 1 and Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk in Freedom, post 10.
Why our enemy wants us to feel shame?
Shame is a tool our enemy uses against us, and we use against each other (and on ourselves, because many of us shame ourselves). When we feel trapped in shame, worthless, and wanting to hide, shame wins.
Our enemy wants us to feel shame in such proportions that we feel there is no use, we feel hopeless, discouraged, debilitated, and a victim. Because then we feel like an outcast from others and God. We feel unlovable. The more we feel these things, the probability is we will self-medicate with unhealthy behaviors, solutions, and addictions, and then feel even worse.
Shame wants to win at all costs and never has good intentions towards us.
Go deeper, read The symptoms of Shame and the 4 Ways It Makes You Feel, post 5. .
What is the opposite of shame?
Unconditional love is the opposite of shame. Shame seeks to condemn us. Love seeks to kindly convict us and helps us change. Shame reminds us of our past, faults, and limitations. Love sees our potential and good. Shame says you are never good enough. Love says you are good enough. Shame has no grace or forgiveness. Love has grace and forgiveness and knows you can change. Shame makes you a victim. Love says you have choices and can choose. Shame says you will never be good enough. Love says you are human, a work in progress and full of potential. Shame says you are bad, flawed, and need fixing. Love says you are injured and need healing.
Go deeper, read Shame: Recognize It, Heal from It, Walk in Freedom, post 10.
How does empathy heals us from shame?
Empathy is seeing something from the other person’s perspective without judgement. It is feeling what the person is feeling. It helps us be seen and understood.
Empathy works because you are putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and seeing it from their viewpoint, without judgement. Noticing their emotions and feeling with people. By asking questions and listening to the person, often we can give new insight and a new perspective to the event/words/situation. One the shamed person has probably never thought of. One that is more accurate than the lie or story the shamed person believed.
Empathy heals shame by saying: You didn’t deserve to be treated that way, no one does (that was wrong, dysfunctional, hurtful). I am sorry that you were treated that way.
Empathy and talking about the shameful experience helps the person see the incident in a new and different way. It expands their mind and helps them see new truth. Ultimately it topples lies and lets truth in.
Article on empathy, what it is and why it matters.
How can shame help us be better, stronger people?
Shame can teach us many lessons if we listen. It can help us not shame others. It can help us stop believing untruths about our self, quit blaming our self, and playing the victim role. It can help us be more compassionate and have empathy for ourselves and others. It can help us ground our identity in truth.
Shame is a curse that can be a blessing in disguise if we use it as a learning tool.
Go deeper, read What if Shame Has a Bigger Purpose Than Us?, post 11.
What do transformation and freedom from shame look like?
You will better love yourself (and others). Have higher self-esteem. Be kinder to yourself and others. Spend less time hiding your true self. Live with less fear, worry, trying to please others, and live up to the expectations of others. You will believe the truth about yourself, and not lies. You will have more empathy for yourself and others. You will see yourself more accurately, the good and bad parts, and still love yourself and enjoy yourself.
It does not mean we will never feel the emotions of shame again, but we will have the tools to deal with these emotions and painful experiences that are causing us shame and ultimately shame will not be able to grow and bury itself within us.
Go deeper, read You Are Not Meant to Live in Shame, post 1 and Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk in Freedom, post 10.
Why do we need to address our shame and heal from it?
Ignoring something never makes it go away. It just keeps lurking in the background. To heal, we must address it.
Unless we address our past shame, present situations will trigger our past shame.
Remember, we are not defective people, we are injured people. Injured people seek healing. We need healing, and our hurts from shame will dissipate. Just like we can be stronger after a broken bone is set and heals, healing from shame will make us kinder, more loving, braver, and stronger people.
Go deeper, read Shame: Recognize It, Heal from It, Walk in Freedom, post 1, Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, and Walk in Freedom, post10 and get the freebie “What to Do When You Are Feeling Shame: A Guided Exercise.” To help identify some of the lies about your identity and worth that you believe, take the shame assessment.
Does shaming others work?
Yes, if your goal is to silence someone, shut them down, or bully someone, then it works. But shaming another person is never acting in love or kindness, or wanting the best for the person. It never motivates change within a person for the right reason. And it leaves scars.
Often the goal of shaming another person is to make that person feel inadequate and ashamed. To humiliate them and put them in their place (which it does).
Shame reveals more about the person who is shaming, than it does the other person.
Go deeper, read Why We Use Shame on Others and Ourselves: 6 Eye Opening Reasons, post 9.
How can we help our children deal with shame?
Educate ourselves about shame. Teach them strategies and tips for how to deal with and react to shame. Talk about shame. And deal with our own shame.
Go deeper, read Shame: Recognize It, Heal From It, Walk In Freedom, post 10, and the freebie, “What to Do When You Are Feeling Shame: A Guided Exercise.“