4 Steps to Ending Your Shame (Part 1 of 2)
Of your past, your actions, and your decisions.
But why do you feel this way?
I find the topic of shame to be quite an interesting one because I believe it is far more nuanced than you might think. It is especially nuanced because it can arise for 2 different reasons: (1) as a result of your actions that namely effected other(s), and; (2) as a result of your actions that namely effected you.
To break things down simply, today’s blog post will be about the former reason (make sure you tune-in next week where I discuss reason 2)
So Why Shame?
If you do something dishonourable toward another person, I think it is incredibly important for you to feel remorseful; an essential mark of self-awareness is to recognize actions that are unethical, immoral, and that have negative consequences.
BUT, I do not think you should live with shame forever, nor should you be shamed forever by other people.
So what are the steps to ridding yourself of shame?
1) Ask for forgiveness.
Admitting that you did something wrong is incredibly difficult, especially when you admit it to the person(s) you hurt.
But admission coupled with remorse and a sincere apology is necessary for taking responsibility of your actions.
You cannot hide from the fact you did something hurtful and you cannot expect others to forget what you did by “never bringing it up.”
Humans have the capacity to forgive. And if you are scared that the person you hurt won’t forgive you…well yes, that is a possibility. And although I personally believe people should ALWAYS find forgiveness, I can’t make anyone forgive if they don’t want to.
So if someone chooses to not forgive you, then take it as a learning experience — your words and actions can have long-term consequences that you never expected in the first place.
BUT if they do forgive you, then consider yourself 1 step closer to ridding yourself of shame.
2) Do NOT feel the following 2 things in response to your shame:
• You shouldn’t feel proud. Yes ok, you learned and important lesson. But talking about your learning experience like it was something you read out of a prestigious academic article is disrespectful to those who you affected. The fact is, you learned something the hard way, and although you learned, the difficult experience you learned from was probably not ideal for anyone involved.
• You shouldn’t feel indifferent. As I said earlier, we must recognize the consequences of our actions. So if you want to be considered a decent person, you cannot just “not care” about the hurt you might’ve caused/created in the past.
3) Feel Empathy
When you acknowledge your actions and regard them as forever shameful, you might just be correct. To clarify my point, your actions were bad and if repeated in the same context, they would render the same bad consequences. But where you are INCORRECT is if you transfer the shame surrounding your actions onto your being. So to clarify again, you did something bad but you are not a bad person.
You must have empathy for those who were effected by your actions so that you can understand their perspective and contrast it your personal perspective. And through that contrast, come to understand why the choice you made at the time was wrong.
4) Cut-out the people who continue to shame you after you’ve completed steps 1-3.
You don’t need to convince anyone you’re a changed person, and at the same time no one should convince you otherwise.
Plus being around people who inhibit your growth will only be of detriment to YOU.
So in conclusion …
Swallowing your ego and taking responsibility for your actions does not mean accepting shame into your life – it means becoming a better person.
The moment you understand your actions were wrong is the exact moment you grow as a person.
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As always, Happy Monday ❤✌
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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.