Imagine having your deepest, darkest, most vulnerable parts exposed for all to see? Imagine feeling as if everyone around you could see right through you to your core with no layer of protection? Imagine feeling that you are never good enough. Who do you think you are?
This is what shame does to us. We’ve all felt the uncomfortable feeling of shame wash over us before. Shame is defined as “a highly unpleasant self-conscious emotion arising from the sense of there being something dishonorable, immodest, or indecorous in one’s own conduct or circumstances.” In layman’s terms, shame is that gut-wrenching feeling that we’ve all experienced but wish we hadn’t. It can leave us feeling worthless, humiliated, embarrassed and ashamed.
Unchecked shame can lead to depression, anxiety, poor self esteem, aggression and/or perfectionism. When we feel shame we tend to either withdraw from others by isolating ourselves, attack ourselves by engaging in negative self-talk, avoid the issue by turning to drug or alcohol abuse or attack others by lashing out either physically or verbally. Shame is a very powerful and internalized emotion that we lock up deep within ourselves. It can literally eat away at us from the inside out and it tends to be a long, drawn out, self imposed sentence.
So what can we do to alleviate our shame? Why are we so secretive about an emotion that we all feel at some point in our lives? It seems counterintuitive to talk about our deepest, darkest feelings to relieve our shame but that is exactly what is needed in order to combat shame. Expressing vulnerability, by talking about our shame, is the antidote.
When we are vulnerable enough to open up and express our shame, it slowly starts to dissipate. Speaking to a professional about the times and circumstances in your life when you felt shame, how that shame has manifested within you and presents in your life today can take the power of shame away and leave you feeling relieved and at peace.
Only monsters grow in the dark. Shedding light on shame, with the help of a therapist, will alleviate that heavy, unnecessary burden you are needlessly carrying. Give yourself the gift of living a shame free life. Reach out to set up an appointment today.