Shame is a potentially damaging feeling that we all experience at times. Often, our moments of joyful abandon get derailed by this moral judgment on human behavior. One positive about shame is that it teaches us how to be appropriate in society and keeps us from humiliating ourselves.
However, it does become a problem when it inhibits us to the point of fear and anxiety even in healthy activities. It can sneak into all kinds of situations, whispering judgments and disapproval. Because we can feel it so deeply, it can be debilitating. Our reactions can be very similar to those we had as children. It seems to tap into those first moments when we were told we were “bad” or “wrong”. Many experience these feelings with an added and ever-present religious guilt. This adds a complex layer to our shame that can be difficult to navigate!
Shame, if left unchecked, can weaken our confidence and self-esteem. Dr. Wayne Dyer says that shame and guilt are the thoughts that most weaken us. In Authentic Wisdom, he writes, “The thought that makes most people the weakest is shame, which produces humiliation. The importance of forgiving yourself cannot be stated strongly enough. If you carry around thoughts of shame about what you’ve done in the past, you’re weakening yourself both physically and emotionally. (Wayne Dyer, 2001)
Once we forgive ourselves and change those feelings of self-judgment, we can begin to build our own moral code. This way we can align our beliefs, actions and goals. This structure can help us keep our integrity intact while we move forward in our lives without the interference of out-dated feelings of shame. We may decide that it is okay to enjoy sex, after years of underlying shame about sex. We may change our minds about so called “forbidden foods”, or whether or not we can take a day off of work to attend to a personal matter. We may be able to say, “I did the best I could” regarding a past behavior about which we’ve carried a lot of shame.
Finally, once we have forgiven ourselves, we may find it easier to forgive others, resulting in a deep healing.
At Solutions Treatment Center we address issues related to shame using a variety of techniques, each one created to help you release from the past, and move toward the future with a sense of authentic joy and mature independence.
Solutions – we can help you find your way again. Call one of our intake counselors for a free consultation – 877-499-1354 or 505-424-3170.