3 Ways Shame Can Harm Your Mental Health

Photo by @felipepelaquim on Unsplash

We all experience shame. That’s okay.

Have you ever felt ashamed of something you did? Have you ever felt so shameful of doing or saying something that you regret it but can’t address the issue face on? One of the most common problems everyone experiences is a shame unless you are extremely apathetic or psychotic of course (no offence intended). Shame can be attributed to something we have all felt and it can be about anything, there is no limit. For you, shame can be about wearing cheaper-branded clothing, or it can be about messing up your presentation at work. It’s all about how an embarrassing moment makes you feel. Here are 3 simple ways shame can be addressed:

1) Sometimes it helps to be rational about the situation. This reflects in anxiety work too. If you excessively worry about something, then what do you expect to happen? More worry right? And what happens to that problem you are shameful about? Your perception therefore heightens, not something you want. So, try and write down 3 ways in which you can rationalise your shame, identify where your feelings come from i.e. did you have a negative experience in the past that made you anxious around your particular problem? Or did you send an abusive text to your friend only to regret the blunder later on? Whatever it is, having rational reasons behind your problem will help you realise you are perfectly fine and there’s nothing to worry about. Whatever you were thinking is more cognitive than realistic.

2) It can be helpful to remember that shame doesn’t eradicate after a certain age, it’s somewhat embedded within us as we compare ourselves with others and the incessant need to comply with societal pressures. Any deviation seems strange for some people so what do they do? Internalise their feelings as if they were to blame for everything. When we don’t live up to people’s values, it can leave us frazzled and weakened. The question to ask yourself is what you will gain from living up to other’s expectations? Is it not better to be who you are rather than living in someone else’s shoes? The only way to reach your full potential is to be you. That will certainly reduce your feelings of insecurity.

3) Talk to a loved one. Sometimes they can verify and give you a more realistic view of your scenario. It can also be extremely relieving to express the things that worry you and leave you feeling ashamed as others might have had the same experience and can lessen your emotional load. Now while I don’t fully advocate expressing yourself behind a screen, sometimes discussing your problems with others on social media who have gone through the same thing as you can be satisfying. The internet has become a daily aid, one you can’t imagine NOT living without so if you can’t discuss your issues with someone close to you then it’s okay to venture out. The goal is to realise we are all human beings and that we all struggle in certain areas. That’s okay. You are amazing no matter what.

Until next time.

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Psychologist, CBT Psychotherapist, Blogger, Writer https://www.aamircbt.co.uk

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Aamir Hafiz

Aamir Hafiz

Psychologist, CBT Psychotherapist, Blogger, Writer https://www.aamircbt.co.uk

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