How do you get rid of the shame of the past?

How to get rid of feelings of shame about the present or the past

Shame is something that is not foreign to every person on our planet. Factors that cause this uncomfortable and truly destructive feeling can be very different. People are ashamed of their decisions and actions, blame themselves for inattention to their loved ones, endlessly worry about society’s opinion if for some reason they do not fit into the established social framework, which is considered to be correct.

Guilt and Shame

Actually, it is necessary to understand what shame is and how it differs from a sense of guilt. We often confuse these concepts, which is not too good for our emotional state and prevents us from finding a solution to the situation. Yes, indeed, the two feelings are closely related, but they do not mean the same thing.

Guilt is the feeling a person has when he or she has really done something wrong. It is not destructive and even brings practical benefit, because it indicates the error, helps to realize it and understand how to behave correctly in future life. Feelings of guilt are unpleasant, but they motivate a person to correct the mistakes made and work on his or her personality.

Shame is an emotional state in which a person feels imperfect, wrong, and bad. He feels that the amount of personality flaws will prevent other people from loving and accepting him for who he is. It is indeed a toxic and destructive feeling that simply no one wants. Getting rid of shame for yourself is not easy, of course, but it must be done, because otherwise a peaceful and happy life will only be a dream.

How to get rid of feelings of shame about the past

Psychologists say: forget everything that was before, accept yourself. But, what it means to accept yourself, few people will understand and few will be helped by this phrase. I know that it is very unpleasant and bad on the soul and shameful when you remember your bad deeds in the past, maybe in school or college years. The fact is that this very feeling of shame, of dislike for an act in the past means that you are already a different person, that you have grown up, that such behavior is alien and unpleasant to you.

It turns out that this should be treated as a stage of development. Yes it was, but I’m a completely different person now, it’s my way of evolving to my current self. Perhaps you’ve heard of the neural net, which I often talk about. Well, that act is already in a different neural network, today it has new parameters. The body is the same, you share the same memory, but it was a different person. Maybe in that network there was alcohol, stupidity when you were young, or some other parameter that is not there now. Analyze what the parameters were then and what they are now.

Perhaps witnesses of the deed will remind you of it, someone will use it against you, someone will try to let you down, to jab… But you must understand that he is talking about the other person. Treat such people as enemies, keep your distance.

Everyone feels shame.

It’s worth realizing that despite the detrimental effects, shame and

Everyone experiences shame, regardless of personal factors. Studies have shown that men and women experience shame in exactly the same way, but their reasons are always different.

The first reason for women’s shame is appearance. Many members of the fair sex feel that they are not young, slim and attractive enough. This is not surprising, given the imposed canons of beauty society. In addition, in a conflict situation a woman will always be insulted by the criterion of appearance, which only worsens the situation.

Do not make better and “good” advice, such as: “You should paint eyelashes and lips, then you’ll be beautiful,” “It would lose a couple of pounds,” “How about a closet change? That blouse looks awful!”

The second reason is motherhood, which is directly related to femininity. Many women feel inferior if they are not married and are not mothers. At the same time, they also have to endure daily uncomfortable questions from outsiders, which also bring only discomfort. It is this attitude of society toward women that makes them feel ashamed of themselves, their lives and their choices.

The main reason for men’s shame is weakness. Whether it is physical or not is not so important. The fact of weakness undermines masculinity, which makes a man feel insufficiently grasping, powerful and, as a result, successful. It is just as difficult for them to cope with this feeling as it is for women.

How to overcome shame?

A person’s desire to get rid of unpleasant feelings is quite natural. But it will be necessary to work hard because it is very simple to earn feeling of shame, but it is not possible to overcome it. It demands long and deep personal work over itself.

Experts allocate five steps:

1. Recognize own shame, feel it and understand the reason; 2. Relate the sensations with reality and estimate a situation as much as possible objectively; 3. define own and another’s desires which to you have imposed, the last it is necessary to cross out the list of priorities; 4. address for help to close people if you feel, that you feel confident in them, that they won’t judge, tell them all that causes feeling of shame, and accept support; 5. speak out your shame as it does not stand openness.

Why can we spend years shaming ourselves for past actions and how do we deal with it?

Absolute loneliness is what you experience when you withdraw from yourself. Burning with shame, we look at ourselves from the outside (perhaps even with great disgust) and pass judgment: “Fail.” At such moments, we lose touch with ourselves-as if the telephone connection were suddenly severed.

Surely you want to put this unpleasant episode out of your mind as soon as possible, but then there is a great risk of ceasing to understand yourself in that triggering situation where you are trying to hide from the world and yourself. Part of your personality goes into exile, and this affects not only your sincerity and openness toward yourself, but also your desire to understand and be closer to others who need the same.

To bring home the “missing” aspects of your self and make them part of yourself, you need to look at embarrassing situations from the past with fresh eyes and draw appropriate conclusions.

You’re not the problem.

Burning with shame makes you feel alienated. And indeed, something is wrong. Just not in yourself. Obviously, a series of mistakes have preceded this feeling:

You may not be able to find common ground with family members because those involved in the dialogue don’t know how to express their feelings. It happens with several generations in a family.

This is not true: When it comes to shame, people do not differ much from each other . Some people do manage to maintain an image of a perfectionist with a set of exceptionally positive qualities. However, one does not have to dig deep to notice the many commonalities that many times outnumber the differences.

My many years of experience as a priest and psychotherapist show that no matter how one looks, everyone will have episodes in their life when we felt alone, helpless, and inferior. And in stressful situations, even the best of the best can hardly control the negative traits of their character (e.g., greed). So you are not really much different from the rest of us at the moment when shame restrains your body.

You may experience shame when a person responds to you differently than you would. It may be a particular look, certain words, or intonation. There are times when a person’s response is more about his personality than about his reaction to what you have said. Or he draws attention to those traits of your character with which you have lost touch at this point in time. While you share your own successes, the interlocutor can easily with his eyes and voice express a resigned sadness – and for you this feeling is “forbidden. Naturally, there is a misunderstanding.

Feeling of alienation, as part of shame, has nothing to do with your personality and actions. Rather, it signals a misunderstanding now or at some time in the past that needs to be corrected.

Ignore the fear.

Accidentally remembering some embarrassing situation, many people wind themselves up for years, afraid to tell anyone about it or take it for granted and move on with their lives. As a result, the fear leads to loneliness.

“I was at war with myself. Fear was screaming: “Crawl into a corner and stay out of sight!” It threatened me with total exile. I had to live in my own shadow, and I didn’t have the courage to do more,” says 38-year-old Josephine.

Josephine was too frightened to resist the fear and chase it away with words, expressing dissatisfaction, or even with movement, such as “dancing” through negative emotions. Shame made her stay away from everyone. But even in public she felt lonely, because she simply could not show their true feelings and intentions. It probably happened to you, too. You, like an obedient child who was punished, continued to sit in the corner, even though the closed door has long since rotted away and new opportunities for self-development have opened behind it.

As long as you are driven by fear, you will sit in your own cramped world, afraid to get out and look around for love and attention that can free you from shame. To find freedom, you must move forward boldly, even if fear screams at you, “Come back!”

From Shame to Guilt

Being able to distinguish shame from guilt contributes to a better understanding of yourself. In short: Guilt speaks to your actions and shame speaks to your condition . Both feelings are often involved in the same situation. For example, after seriously scolding a child, you are likely to feel guilty about his tears and ask yourself the reasonable question, “What kind of person am I?” At this point, shame kicks in, causing alienation or an inferiority complex.

Guilt and shame are often mixed together, so you need to know how to separate them. Guilt is easier to bear, and it is less likely to cloud your personality. You can also benefit from it.

You can blame yourself for the baby’s tears, but still remain a good person. Ask your baby for forgiveness, and the guilt will almost completely disappear.

We tend to think in extremes. Good or bad. Beautiful or ugly. Victory or defeat. However, it is incredibly important for the psyche to be able to accept both at the same time. For example, an experienced parent constantly thinks of their child in this way: “You’re angry now, but I still love you.” Or, “You did wrong, but my love for you will never change. And here’s another option: “Your screaming hurts my ears, but you’re not the problem. You’re a good kid.” If your parents have not mastered this model with the acceptance of both options, then you, feeling alienated, can hardly distinguish shame from guilt, even though both arose because of some little thing.

Sometimes it is necessary only to designate a fault – and the shame disappears by itself. And you can get rid of guilt if you apologize or offer to correct the situation.

Start feeling sorry for yourself again.

This is about the bond that shame once broke. Perhaps some of these phrases can help you restore harmony with yourself. Say them out loud or write them down on a separate piece of paper:

Something doesn’t seem right. Yes, there is a problem lurking somewhere. But it’s clearly not you.

You’re trying very hard. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, gets worked up about what happened, and gets disappointed in themselves and others. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid communication.

You’re not much different than others. There’s nothing wrong with you. Keep up the good work.

If possible, sit in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye as you say these phrases. Pat yourself on the shoulder and gently run your hand through your hair or cheek.

Write yourself a love letter

You can learn to love yourself with one exercise. Recall an episode in your life that you’ve long dreamed of forgetting forever. Treat yourself with understanding and write a letter to yourself as a person ready to fall through the ground in shame.

Also try writing a comforting letter that will give you strength for when you find yourself in an awkward situation. Put it in a prominent place. My letter goes like this:

Right now you feel bad. But that will soon pass. In a month’s time, you’ll be laughing about the situation. Your sister will love to hear your funny story about a piece of spinach stuck in your teeth. Deep down, you know perfectly well that anyone else in your shoes would feel the same way. Maybe you think otherwise, but right now your mind is a little clouded. Once you take a little distance from what has happened, you immediately realize that all this is a trifle that does not reflect your inner world at all.

These exercises, both written and oral, are worth paying attention to. If in any incomprehensible situation you instantly start engaging in self-injury, you especially need training, so that in future in such cases your consciousness will automatically remind you of love and respect for your own personality. If you find it uncomfortable or difficult to write to yourself, try addressing a letter to a loved one to begin with. It can even be a celebrity from a movie. When you finish writing, change the recipient’s name to your own.

Just like a muscle, self-love must be developed. To achieve the desired effect, you will have to show persistence and perseverance. The result will be a new habit of supporting yourself in situations that turn out not in your favor.

Through sadness to a healthy ego

If you look at yourself with empathy, realizing that the problem is not with you at all, but with the situation itself in the past, then shame gradually turns to sadness. By identifying the sources of discomfort, you show a new respect for yourself.

And by looking at your life through emotional gaps, you’re sure to be proud of the successes you’ve had in spite of difficulties and adversity.

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