Shame is a hard emotion to deal with. Usually it happens when we start to believe something about ourselves that we think others will criticize. Or it can happen because of the way someone else treats us. Sometimes it combines with guilt about something we've done that offends our values. But it can poison our relationships and erode our confidence. Here are some steps you can take to help to confront and overcome shame.
- What is this issue? Spend some time alone, or with someone you trust like a coach, really exploring the cause of your sense of shame. It helps sometimes to write things down. Try to sort out the various strands that contribute to your feeling, It may be very complex so take it right down to its constituent parts. Don't rush it – take the time and space you need to make it clear to yourself.
- Who is causing you to feel shame? Is it you? Is it the way someone else is behaving? Or is it how you think they are behaving and what you think they think? When you have worked out what it is really about under step one, you can be clear about how it happened and who is responsible, It may not be about you at all.
- What advice would you give a friend? Now you are clear about what and who, try to look at things objectively. What would you think if someone told you this story about themselves – what advice would you give? Try to stay cool and calm as you consider a way forward.
- Share it and let it go! Now is the time, if you have not already done so, to share this with someone you trust. Releasing that sense of shame from within your self, really will make you feel better. Listen carefully to what they say. It may be that there never was anything to feel shame about. Or it could be something you can change even now.
- Now step away from it. You are human and you are doing your best. We all make some mistakes sometimes – that is what it is to be human. Work on developing your self confidence and your self esteem. Forgive your self and be proud of your self for confronting your own shame and releasing it.
I wish you every success and if you would like my help, as a coach, my email address is below.
Wendy Mason is a Career Coach with Life Coaching skills and expertise in helping people have the confidence they need to be successful at work while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org