Shame is a complicated emotion and one we all have dealt with at one time or another. Shame comes from feeling powerless and frustrated. For people who experience shame linked to trauma, it is a continued shock at the realization that this terrible thing actually happened to them. Sometimes, people living with shame are unable to break free from the spiral of negative emotions. It becomes something that is ingrained in their day to day life. If you feel like shame is taking over your life, it may be time to seek out strategies for dealing with those emotions.
Shame is uncomfortable and it is understandable that many people would rather ignore or hide their shame rather than confront it. But it is important to deal with your feelings of shame in order to overcome them and accept your past. Here are a few tips for working through those feelings of shame:
- Practice Self-Affirmation: Oftentimes, people dealing with shame also struggle with being compassionate with themselves. Shame may also manifest as doubt, where you believe, “I can’t do that” or “I don’t deserve that”. When this is your constant internal dialogue it is easy to get stuck in those feelings of doubt and shame. Instead, try shifting your narrative: I am worthy and deserving” or “My feelings are valid”. Practicing these affirmations can help the positive voice drown out the one rooted in shame.
- Bring Your Feelings Into the Light: Shame thrives in secrecy and darkness, but the less you talk about your shame, the more power it has over you. Getting beyond shame means acknowledging it and sharing your experiences with the people you trust. Talking through those feelings of shame helps you gain perspective about the situation.
- Meditation and Mindfulness: A mindfulness practice encourages you to slow down and be in the moment. When you feel drawn into those thoughts of shame, mindfulness allows you to take a step back and notice those feelings without judgment. Being in the moment allows you to respond to those emotions rather than reacting to them.
- Seek Out Help: Talking through your feelings and experiences with friends and family can be helpful. But to truly process and work through those feelings of shame, especially when they are tied to trauma, working with a mental health professional is crucial. Unresolved shame can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Talking about the emotional pain you feel is a powerful step in the healing process. A therapist can help you create a treatment plan and strategies for dealing with those emotions as they come up in the future.
Solstice RTC Can Help
Our mission is to support adolescents and their families in developing excellence in relationships, influence, character, and health throughout their life journey. Through relationship-based programming, we help students restore and rebuild healthy, close relationships with their families, peers, and staff.
With a road map influenced by the archetypal Hero’s Journey, each student walks a unique and very personal path towards discovering the hero within. Students and families progress through the stages of this journey at their own pace. Although the journey is their own, they do not travel it alone. This journey is about people, discovery, growth and mastery. For more information please call (801) 406-7450.