Shame is a very dangerous emotion – trapping you in a spiral of continual self-pity and sadness that can be extremely difficult to break out of. Ironically, shame is pretty easy for you to heal if you approach it early and with focused intention, but by the time we decide to heal ourselves, it’s grown so much and set roots so deep that it’s hard to get out of its grip.

Looking at the massive growth of shame inside of us, we doubt that we can ever be healed, and that also can prevent us from taking the first step on the road to healing.

Shame makes you feel bad about who you are as a person, even if you have done nothing at all to deserve it in the first place – after all, we’re all perfectly imperfect!

When you feel like you are unworthy of love or self-respect, it can cause a lot of negative behavior in your life.

From endlessly blaming yourself to criticizing every little thing you do, think, or say, to neglecting your own needs, you can be trapped in a negative, self-destructive cycle.

So how do we climb the steps that lead to the healing of our shame and empower us to become better people? How do we free ourselves from the cycle of shaming and self-blaming? Here’s how to get started…

First, Forgive Yourself

Shame can come from many different sources and environmental factors, and one source of shame might not be the same (or carry the same power) as another source. The focus must be on defeating the shame that you carry.

The answer for all types of shame is self-forgiveness. You need to forgive yourself for whatever happened or didn’t happen and recognize that you are not at fault.

Sometimes people hold onto shame because they have been abused as children or neglected, and often they blame themselves or think they are at fault for the neglect or believe the toxic message that they are unlovable. Self-forgiveness helps here because it is not your fault and you need to know that.

Rather than endlessly spin in these memories or keep blaming yourself for something that you cannot change, instead focus on understanding and forgiving your sources of shame. That will help you start to heal.

Be Stronger Than Your Shame

We can doubt our own capacity and feel powerless over shame and the other feelings that it brings to the table because we just don’t feel strong.

Shame keeps beating you down, and it keeps reminding you that it exists every time you try to get away from it. However, we are not powerless, and we don’t have to continue to let shame hold us back from achieving our goals.

You can use your shame as motivation, talking to it and saying “Yes, I was hurt, but you know what, I’m still here.”€ You can focus on crushing your shame beneath your drive to be and do better by saying that you are stronger than whatever it was that tried to hurt you in the past.

Shame crumbles pretty easily under the weight of your determination, and you can use the fact that you are conquering your shame as fuel for what you do next in your life.

Focusing On Healing Others

Oftentimes, shame creates the mechanism that allows (or encourages) us to harm others or allow relationships to get strained.

If this has happened to you, you need to make it a top priority to focus your energy and your efforts on healing those relationships that might have fallen apart. By overcoming shame and then connecting with the people who love us, we often find that shame isn’t strong enough to defeat us anymore.

And if we start to believe the lies that shame tells us again, we’ll be around people who know how to help us deal with it.

Finally, you can also start to use the steps that helped you heal from shame to help other people who might be dealing with those same feelings themselves and prevent them from falling as far down as you did…

Affirmations to Break the Chains of Shame and Begin Healing

Breaking the spiral of shame is a necessary activity and one that you can incorporate into your journaling practice. I suggest keeping your journal near you so that you’ll have it on hand when you need it most. If you need to pick up a journal, check out Amazon, Target, or check out the beautiful blank journals at Promptly Journals.

I feel calm when thinking of past mistakes.

I know my choices do not define my worth.

I am human.

I live with an open mind and open heart.

I forgive myself.

Shame is not my burden to carry.

My choices do not define my self-worth.

I will not feel shame for who I am.

I love exactly who I am at this moment.

I am gentle with myself.,

I will not let embarrassment consume me.

I accept my feelings and do not judge them.

About the Author Dianne Daniels

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and currently residing in Norwich, Connecticut, Dianne M. Daniels' mission is to empower women 50+ to Amplify their Self-Confidence, Deepen their Self-Knowledge, Inspire Creativity, and Glide into the next phase of their lives with the Power of Journaling, Affirmations, and Assessments.

You can learn how to use these time-tested proven practices to create and manifest the life you want (and deserve) to live.

Dianne is an ordained Unitarian Universalist Minister and holds a Master of Divinity degree from Starr King School for the Ministry. She's an avid reader, a lover of old houses (she renovated an 1850s vintage Greek Revival home with her family) and has been journaling since the age of 9.

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