I firmly believe that we need to be living a shame-free approach for mental health, stress, anxiety, & self-sabotaging patterns & behaviors.
I am proud of the fact that this is one of Nourishment Vitality’s founding principles. In far too many circumstances, it is “shame” that is holding us back from living our lives to its full potential. We need more of a shame-free approach to be able to lighten up by letting go of what no longer serves us.
Shame-free, compassionate and authentic. That is me, Sheryl Puterman, and here is what I know and why I wrote this important blog.
Every struggle is a new teacher. How you either learn from the experience or hide from it will make all the difference in internalizing the lessons. Far too many humans may view their challenges through the lens of a tremendous amount of shame, regret, guilt, and even anger. I know that I did, and it was defining part of my struggle and story.
The experience of shame is common to most people in one way or another. So let’s take a deeper dive into this concept of “shame” and living shame-free.
Experts in the field of human souls and actions determine the influence of a sense of shame on a person’s life by the following parameters:
- Low self-esteem. A person who considers himself or herself to be inferior in the eyes of society.
- Fear of public opinion. The feeling of shame very often is nothing more than the fear of appearing different from everyone else.
- Blocking desires & giving up on your dreams. To be emotionally frozen by an artificially created perspective of social condemnation.
- Self-contempt. This is very close to low self-esteem, but it is its most extreme point of development.
Shame can overtake or consume us in all types of situations from the mild to the extreme. For example, have you ever had that experience when it seems that everyone around you is dressed better than you? Perhaps a bad hairstyle day? or, answering incorrectly in a class or business meeting.
Shame can lead to you having that feeling of inability to take part in meaningful dialogue, and ultimately limit your true potential. This uncomfortable feeling can be present in our head all the time, & it may be all due to that feeling of shame.
A sudden feeling of shame may make us blush, speechless, anxious, deeply embarrassed, or confused in the presence of other people. The absurdity of this experience is that it may occur even if there is actually nothing to be ashamed of. It is so often our internal perceptions.
By itself, the state of being ashamed is not an exclusively bad emotion.
This feeling can be viewed from several angles. Sometimes it can be the feeling that prevents you from committing a bad, or immoral act. However, most often this emotion can be extremely destructive, and overpowering. Because of it, a person may be afraid to communicate with people and make new acquaintances. Shame makes it difficult to admit one’s feelings for other people, learn something new, change jobs or study options, and so much more.
We are all afraid to look vulnerable in front of those who we feel do not accept us. A person who experiences excessive shame may be forced to live in a constant state of stress and tension.
One interesting definition of the word shame comes from the old German “scama”, which means “mask”.
The mask is what hides our true face, the discovery of which can lead, as it seems to us, that others may look at us with some level of contempt, as weak, as odd, and turn away from us.
It is believed that women experience feelings of shame and guilt more sharply, but in fact, as statistics show, there are no specific gender differences.
We are all ashamed the same way, but for different reasons. However, we continue to see that there are clear stereotypes imposed by society.
For example, women tend to have far more complexes about their appearance and physique. Now I don’t want to leave out the guys. Adult men can be equally affected, but due to social pressures, may keep the issues far more private.
At the same time, women can (according to society) show vulnerability, more sadness, and even cry far more often. On the other hand, men are mainly ashamed of their own tears and, in general, in the appearance of showing and feeling weakness.
Personal vulnerability researcher, Brene Brown notes another characteristic difference in her lecture,
Listening to Shame
“Shame for a woman is a web of conflicting expectations and unfulfilled desires associated with her ideas about who she should be. Men have no web. They are ashamed of only one thing – to appear weak. ”
The feeling of “shameful” secrets.Time to be living Shame-Free
Sometimes we may feel forced to hide a shameful secret from others. It may seem to us, the people around us are not able to accept us, as well as to love us with what we find unacceptable in ourselves. This leads us to feel closed and isolated from our loved ones, from their love and acceptance.
Shame may even be felt in the fear of disappointing others. The fear that an ideal that has not been met, a goal that has not been achieved, can make us feel unworthy of this connection. Shame is a very painful feeling or belief that we are inferior, which means that we are not worthy of attention, love, and affection.
People may also experience awkwardness or embarrassment when feeling that emotional state of shame. Often, having shared with another what seems shameful to us, we are relieved with the fact that this may well be accepted, and finally, the “wounded child” inside us, whom we have been so afraid to find, can be met with love and care.
The best way to lessen shame, & living a shame-free approach is to provide an opportunity for negative feelings to come out, to learn how to use your emotions correctly, and adapt to them as much as possible.
Imagine who you would be if you lived shame-free.
Start small, awareness is always the first step:-
- acknowledge the existence of the problem -the moment this feeling comes up, try to understand the reasons for its occurrence, understand and accept this state without any judgment. Simply observe.
- try to recognize the “triggers” -examine yourself – in which situations? when communicating with which people? in what moments do these feelings arise?
- do not think that you are less worthy than others, even if that’s how you felt from your past or even from your childhood -when you start to communicate more with people, you will learn that everyone has their own shortcomings
- do what brings you happiness and pleasure -if you like reading books, read. If you like watching movies, watch them. If you love dancing, dance. The more positive emotions & uplifted you feel, the less often you will feel ashamed. (This can be especially valid if you learn to excel in your passion)
- do not try to dismiss this emotion of shame. Validate your feelings when you feel ashamed. Try not to get down on yourself, but rather see yourself through the lens of kindness and compassion.
Finally, stop resisting and embrace your shame. Stop holding back from living shame-free. What we hide in the depths of ourselves will always burden us, burn from the inside, & hinder us from moving forward. Find the courage to pause, show curiosity about your feelings, and embrace all of who you are.
We need to accept ourselves the way we are. This will be the easiest way to lessen the grip of shame. Love yourself as the person you are today, and accept the people around you with their shortcomings.
If you find it difficult to overcome shame on your own, find like-minded people. There are a large number of different forums and interest groups where people share similar experiences on the Internet and on social networks.
You can even talk about your problem anonymously if it is difficult for you. Perhaps you will find not only a solution to it, but also some friendly support structures. And, perhaps, you can help someone with good advice or lend a helping hand in a difficult situation.
It is necessary once and for all to abandon the comparison of your behavior with the expectations that other people place on you.
Remember, the only person who evaluates yourself realistically and objectively is YOU. All other people evaluate you from their usual norms and rules, which you have every right not to comply with.
If you are able to avoid comparing your behavior with the expectations of others, then you are protected from the worries about the inconsistency of “how it should be” and “how it is in reality.” The moment you refuse to compare yourself, you will come into harmony with your own self and cease to feel the grip of shame lingering over you. You should never have to suppress, ignore or close your eyes to the feelings of shame that you might feel for one reason or another.
It may take courage, but it can be a very important first step to reach out to a professional person who will have the compassion & experience in guiding you through a shame-free process of healing. I’ve been in your shoes.
I know on a deeply personal level just how true it is that the only way out is in. Transformation is in the exploration.
You can trust that when we work one-on-one in session or in community, you are learning and being guided by the best practices and teachings based both on my formal training as well as the wisdom of many years of experience in what I call the University of Life.
Reach out, I am here to help LINK for a free consult call
Nourishment Vitality always offers a truly shame-free space. A place for you to be living shame-free so that you will have the environment and tools you need to truly transform how you feel. It is a safe space for you to tell the truth about your whole story. I always tell my clients who come from all four corners of the globe, “your story matters”
Remember, emerging from the secrets of the shadows of shame, is freed up energy that you can use to be true to who you are.
Reach out, I am here to help.
Nourishment Vitality-the #1 sustainable shame-free approach to stress, anxiety, and holistic weight management