We all have been there: experiencing the feeling of shame. Experiencing shame means you are on the ‘spotlight’ because of your self-awareness that others are making judgment about your as a person or your behavior. When you feel very aware that you’re not conforming a set of rules or social norms that’s when you start to feel ashamed. It can be a painful emotion to sense of failure because you’re not behaving like the social norms and standards. Believe it or not, feeling ashamed has it’s function. When feeling shame you are desiring the need to belong. If you allow yourself to feel shame you are probably more capable to alter the standards. Or it may help you to acknowledge the fact that your behavior was indeed inappropriate. This gives you the opportunity to apologize to another or to correct yourself if not conforming to the standards. It may even help you to make a personal growth if you allow yourself to feel shame. Shame eventually fades and will be replaced by other emotions. It doesn’t last forever.

Unfortunately, if shame remains unacknowledged it may cause a lot of harm. A person may feel rejected all the time because you set the bar very high. Secondly, feeling ashamed all the time contributes to a negative self-image. Or it works the other way around. It’s also possible that you’re in a demanding environment and that could be the reason you don’t feel connected. This can lead to causing more stress, feeling tired, physical complaints and feeling lonely. In addition, some people tend to adapt to what is expected from their environment out of fear of facing rejection. You may develop an unhealthy need to proof that you’re capable to meet the standards end eventually this can cause more stress. This is called an act of emotional substitution and this is a form of self-deception. It relieves the pain and discomfort on the short term, but it does not alter the feeling immediately. You may lose the opportunity to understand the underlying desires.

How to deal with shame

When you suffer from feelings of shame it’s important to take action. The first step is to be aware of the feeling of shame. It is likely to physically feel shame. Try to ask yourself the question: what is the cause of this feeling? Did I create an unrealistic self-image? Can I adjust this self-image? Try to realise everyone has feelings of shame.

Brene Brown is a researcher and author of several books about showing vulnerability and stepping out of your comfort zone. Her books might inspire you to take a first step towards being more honest about your feelings of shame. For some people it is necessary to seek professional help. If you can find the courage to be more open about your feelings there is a big chance that you will feel more self-respect and self compassion.

NiceDay app
Do you also want to get started with, for example,  feelings of shame? You can do this with the NiceDay app. Download the app and make a connection request with one of our psychologists.


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Hi, my name is Rita and via NiceDay I offer online treatment. That means that you will receive help on the moments you need it the most. It doesn’t matter where you live, you can connect with me, we don’t have a waiting list! We can chat or talk via video calling. It’s all about you and together we design a online treatment that fits your needs. We can communicate directly from your smartphone.

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