What exactly is shame?

Depressed man holding his head in his handsShame is that negative, critical, judgmental voice inside us that gives us the message that we are not ok. It says we are not good enough, unworthy, and flawed. These disparaging feelings and thoughts compel us to compare ourselves to others, and we may feel we never measure up. It disconnects us from what is true and authentic about who we are. It also disconnects us from others.

Shame is a universal feeling that we all experience from time to time. Some people carry shame more than others. It can come from a message that you received at a very young age and you accepted without the opportunity to decide if it is true. This may be from parenting, peers, teachers, society or religious messages.

Sad woman holding her head in her handsThese messages are toxic, powerful, and can create a feeling of hopelessness. Because shame is rarely talked about, it stays hidden inside us. It is isolating and we often feel alone in it. As it is hidden, we distort the negative and critical messages and they begin to grow.

Shame has a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual component to it. The consequences of holding on to our Shame can include: low self-esteem, feeling “I am bad”, disconnection from yourself and others, isolation, anger at yourself and fear of being exposed.

There is strong evidence that shame is at the root of our destructive behaviors (addictions, eating disorders, bullying, self injurious behaviors).

If you are experiencing shame, feeling like you are just “not enough” (not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, perfect enough) come in and let’s work on that. There is an underlying reason why you feel that way and you deserve to feel differently. Shame cannot effectively be worked on alone. It needs to be healed within a compassionate and trusting relationship.

Call me at (303)514-4732 or click here to contact me.