Is it joy, sadness, disgust, anger, fear, guilt, shame, envy, jealousy, disappointment, frustration, irritation, helplessness, pity, curiosity?
Shame is a self-conscious emotion resulting from feelings of personal inadequacy, humiliation, defeat, rejection, dishonor and disgrace.
Shame is one of the oldest known English words that originally meant to “hide or cover up.” We hide shame in fear of being wounded because shame is a very painful emotion. As such, shame is the hardest thing to deal with since it tends to be hidden and never addressed.
Whilst the ability to deeply reflect about ourselves and our actions is necessary and positive, feeling ashamed is a negative emotion that deprives us of our full expression thereby reinforcing our own perceived lower value to others.
Feeling shame is different from feeling guilt. Guilt focuses on what one has done. Shame focuses on who one is.
People often are not aware of their shame, but they experience it when they feel inferior, unimportant and impotent. When they feel low self-worth or lose self-esteem. Shame harbors an enormous amount of anger and hate towards self and requires reclaiming and healing our identity.
Shame is the primary by-product of emotional neglect, poor communication, family dysfunction all of which leads to loss of self importance, the core feeling of defect, that there is something wrong with me. Some people feel that they lost their face and some feel they never had one.
Why is it important to address shame even though it is very difficult to spot and face? Understanding what you feel, knowing how to manage such a complicated feeling as shame, and healing your identity will make your life easier by bringing clarity, calmness, more fulfillment and joy. It directly will affect all of your interpersonal relationships. Because you will have a healthier relationship with yourself, it will make you a better parent, partner and leader.
I invite you to my free mini-course on toxic shame, which will start soon, on May 17th. It will run for 5 consecutive days. Message if you are interested in joining the course.
Dr. Paul Ekman states that shame and guilt are all about meeting expectations. These are social or moral emotions.
Shame: I did not meet my own standards and expectations.
Guilt: I did not meet your standards and expectations.
Shame focuses on who one is, while guilt focuses on what one has done.
People who experience shame feel that they are bad in their core, defective or undeserving. People who feel guilty tend to punish themselves over and over. This leads to depression, inability to achieve success or all kinds of fears.
Shame and guilt might be useful in order for us to fit in to our societal norms, however, when these feelings are excrescent they are destructive and harmful.
Often shame tends to use narcissism, blaming and contempt as a defense mechanism against the feeling, while guilt tends to use repression against the feeling.
I am developing a masterclass on shame and guilt. It will be geared towards adult women with ADHD/ADD who experience excess shame and guilt. These feelings make life very difficult and narrows the window of possibilities. If you or you know anyone who has ADHD/ADD and experiences feelings of shame and guilt I would love to have a session with them. I will charge only half of my regular price for this session.