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Ending the Cycle of Shame

If you feel shame right now for doing something you think is ‘bad’, stop! Shame will do you no good. Trust me. It’s an unnecessary feeling that serves no purpose in life. Shame will only cause you to be stuck in a pit of despair. It is one of the reasons why people become self-destructive. I’ve been there, honey. You wouldn’t want to go where I’ve been through.

What is shame anyway?

Shame is an intense feeling of humiliation and exposure. It is when you feel you have done something wrong that people will hate or reject you for. As a result, you do not feel good about yourself. If you do not feel good about who you are, you plant the seed of self-hate. When you start to hate yourself, you slowly start to engage in behaviors that are self-destructive.

Being mean to yourself stems from your anger about something you do not like about yourself. This is painful. But since your brain does not want the further stress of having to cope with self-disgust, it quells the pain by any means possible. Denial is one way to protect yourself from having to deal with your self-hate. Masking the pain with food or any addictive substance is another bad and sad way to cope with shame.

How to stop feeling shame

First of all, I would like to tell you that before you stop shame in its tracks, you must know what helps it breed. Silence fuels shame. Secrecy empowers shame. Breaking free from shame requires the power of your will. It also involves specific acts that will help you slowly but surely step out of the prison of your own making.

How? Accept your self – warts, and kink, and all. Is there a mistake you made that is still haunting you? Accept the error of your ways! Do you feel very vulnerable for even admitting that you made a wrong move? If you do, raise your hand and say yes! Let yourself be vulnerable. It’s that easy and it’s also, admittedly, very difficult.

You don’t need to go all out immediately with accepting yourself fully if you find it difficult to. You can take easy baby steps so you can slowly walk yourself through the door of self-acceptance. You can start by looking at yourself in the mirror and admitting one vulnerability a day. Begin with the most trivial vulnerability you can think of just to take the pressure off of having to admit something you may not feel comfortable with. This admission is for an audience of one – you! So you only need to be honest with yourself.

Start the ball rolling with, “I’m sorry”, or “I’ll do better next time”, or “I made a stupid mistake”, and then, “I forgive myself”. These statements are powerful in its ability to bring to light what you think are your flaws but are actually just natural human errors everyone experiences at some point in their lives.

Accepting one truthful statement at a time eventually makes it easy to accept the rest of the statements. Plus, it helps shed away any shame built up from years of denial. You can also ask someone you trust and are comfortable with to listen to your statements. Just make sure this is a person who genuinely understands and accepts you.

After acceptance, self-awareness comes in. Because you have now opened yourself to seeing your flaws and accepting all of it, you now highly likely also view yourself differently. Slowly, you become aware of aspects of yourself you didn’t see before. Maybe now you see that despite making a mistake, you were able to learn from it or use it to make a better decision later in life.

It may also now be easy for you to see if you are tricking yourself into believing one thing while denying another. When you are able to properly differentiate which is which, you give yourself a lot of chance to change for the better. It also becomes easy to see shame for what it is and maybe blow it off as a baggage you don’t need to live and deal with anymore.

But how do you make yourself self-aware? Invite people to give you honest feedback. This could be easy or difficult depending on how much you are able to make yourself open to other people’s opinions of you. Being self-aware requires that you be honest with your weaknesses and strengths. Still, there may be moments when you can’t seem to see yourself properly. Relax, it’s okay. Bias happens to the best of us, even to me. But don’t let this stop you.

Practice makes perfect, especially in self-improvement and specifically in ending the cycle of shame. So go out and invite people to give you comments and opinions about yourself. Plus, be prepared to receive these. This is you opening yourself up to being vulnerable and then accepting any bad or good feedback they may have of you. Use these to motivate you to be better. Shame may still be present but it won’t last long if it sees that you are doing your best to get rid of it for good.

Remember, life is too short to live in shame. The point of life is to express yourself fully the way you are meant to. Release whatever is holding you down – not unless you prefer someone to hold you down (wink, wink!). If you feel like shouting while you are having the most fun in the bedroom, go shout your heart out, even if it means your next-door neighbors might give you worried or quizzical or maybe envious looks the next day when you get your mail. That’s life! And it should be 100% shame-free.

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