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Many times, it’s easier said than done to let go from this shame and can take years if not dealt with properly.
Manifesting itself over days, weeks or even years, shame can ruin lives because it causes people to feel too afraid to take the next step in their lives due to a fear of failing or making a fool of themselves.
So how do you let go of shame?
In this article, we’ll be looking at when shame can take hold, why it lingers and most importantly, how to let go of shame.
Once you have an understanding of what shame is and how it works, then you will be able to handle situations such as your current one in the future much quicker.
Learning How To Let Go Of Shame
What Is Shame?
In the dictionary, shame is defined as the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.
There are many important factors to consider in this definition such as acknowledging that shame is a feeling that arises from one’s consciousness.
This means that shame comes from within and is not outwardly afflicted even though the events that result in shame usually are events that happened.
It’s also essential to note that shame doesn’t necessarily mean that someone feels shame in themselves although this is usually the case.
It is possible to feel a tremendous amount of shame on behalf of someone else, which can be tricky to let go off.
When Does Shame Take Hold?
Shame can take hold anywhere at all.
An obvious example would be if someone has committed a crime then they may feel shame afterwards for their actions and take responsibility.
There could also be acts of embarrassment such as waking up after a night of heavy drinking and looking through lots of texts filled with pictures and stories you don’t remember.
You may feel ashamed that this has happened and make the oh-so-common declaration that you will never drink again.
There are more psychological acts of shame which can spiral from heartbreaking circumstances such as gaslighting and abuse.
Here a victim may be ashamed of events that didn’t even happen or when stories have been twisted to make them feel at fault.
These scenarios are trickier to get a handle of because it involves the victim seeking help and acknowledging their situation.
Why Does Shame Linger?
This brings us onto the next section: why shame lingers.
In situations such as the ones given above, the main reason why shame can linger is because the person does not or cannot acknowledge the situation that they are in.
Even though they feel shame for the event, it is natural for people to try and explain it away rather than face up to the truth.
That space between where they are and the truth is where shame starts to grow and spread seeds of doubt in one’s mind.
The person who had committed the crime may feel shame and this may cause them to be too afraid to apologize to those they have hurt.
Whereas someone who has been abused may feel ashamed that they didn’t speak up soon and are too scared to admit that they need help.
These examples are so different and yet they share the same common factor.
The shame comes from deep within and causes them to feel afraid.
To sum it up in one word, shame is the result that is sparked by fear.
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Feeling too afraid to take the next step for fear of failing means that a lot of people feel ashamed in their actions and never get the happy ending they want.
How To Let Shame Go
The reason why shame lingers is actually what can be the key to letting it go.
Acknowledging the situation that you are in and believing in yourself that everything will be okay is the starting point.
If you are a victim of abuse then taking that first step and acknowledging that you need help and learning how to trust people again would be the key to freeing yourself from the shame.
As with anything, it is entirely dependent on the situation that you are feeling ashamed about.
Events that are not as serious such as a night of heavy drinking and making a fool of yourself by whipping out embarrassing dance moves can be looked upon as a learning experience whereas something more serious may have to be initially dealt with by professionals.
As explained earlier in this article, shame is a feeling and not an action.
Therefore, in order to let shame go, you have to adjust your mindset and belief system to a positive outset.
Rather than feeling ashamed of the events that may have happened, depending on the situation, look upon it as a learning experience.
If it is a situation such as abuse, learning how to let go of shame will be a long process and it would definitely be advised to seek help from professionals who can give you that help.
Overall, shame is a difficult emotion to understand, especially because it grows from fear which has manifested itself to a point where you are unable to move on with your life in some way or other.
In order to get over your shame, you have to understand what it is and where it came from.
That way, you will be able to acknowledge why it is there and be able to take steps to move on with your life and leave your shame in the past.
Using these tools will also help in the future as you will be better suited to cope with shame for any events that may occur in the future.
By adjusting your mindset and belief system, making sure you are kind to yourself and building a support system for yourself to avoid it from happening again.