How to Deal With Shame and Conquer It

Updated on February 17, 2020

Struggling to figure out how to deal with shame? The best answer is also the simplest: overcome it by any means necessary.

This process won’t be the same for everyone, as shame manifests in many ways. It can be the experience of embarrassment, guilt, or thinking you aren’t good enough. People feel shame over certain events, such as past traumas or a history of abuse.

Regardless of your particular situation, shame is a powerful emotion. The good news: you can beat it. Here are 4 tips that will help you in your quest of overcoming shame.

1. Recognize Shame

Before conquering an emotion, you need to be able to put a name to it. The physical effects of shame are obvious enough: shaking, nausea, and so on. Recognizing those emotions as part of the shame experience can be harder.

If you need help in this regard, your first step should be to acknowledge shame. By doing so, you’ll refuse to let it define you. Share your experience with people you trust or by finding a support group such as this treatment program.

2. Find the Good in Yourself

The opposite of shame is pride. This emotion is often portrayed in a negative light, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, taking pride in yourself or what you do is one of the best ways of dealing with shame.

To do that, consider your strengths and accomplishments. For example, you could realize that you’re a good friend or that you excel at creative pursuits. If you focus on what’s good in your life, you can amplify those positive aspects of yourself.

3. Be Compassionate

Are you often saying cruel things to yourself as a result of shame? If so, stop and imagine what other people would say to you instead. More often than not, you’ll realize that nobody who loves you would allow things to come to that.

Try to think of other people who’ve gone through what you have. In what ways would you be able to provide support and compassion? Write these things down and repeat them to yourself to see things from a different angle.

4. Forgive Yourself

The final tip on this list is often the hardest one: learning to forgive yourself. Self-blame and shame can create a vicious cycle. This often leads to you blaming yourself for everything, even if your shame trigger is outside your control.

The best way to get past this is to realize that the past is just the past. You can’t do anything to change it, but you can refuse to let it dominate your future. You’re not the same person anymore, and the only thing left to do is move forward.

More on How to Deal With Shame

By following these 4 tips, you’ll be well on your way to overcoming shame. Keep in mind that the essence of shame is a fear of disconnection. By seeking help from others, you can make connections that will help you accept yourself.

Want to know more about how to deal with shame? Trying to make sure that you’re giving enough thought to your mental health? Take a look at our Rehab section!

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