Feelings of shame get you down - free yourself from them!

Reading time 6 minutes
Feelings of shame get you down - free yourself from them!

You've tripped - an appointment slipped through your fingers - your trouser seam has torn? In such situations, you feel extreme shame. Whether you fail to meet your own or others' expectations or feel particularly clumsy, such scenes are annoying. But what does shame actually mean and how can you overcome these negative emotions?

What are feelings of shame?

Shame is an unpleasant feeling, a kind of embarrassment, associated with the desire to undo something.

What is shame and why does it make you so vulnerable? You're embarrassed - maybe you're plagued by other people's shame. The discomfort usually comes from exposure. It's as if someone is invading your privacy.

Inappropriate behavior, mistakes and personal attitude can be the cause of your feelings of shame. In most cases, this is accompanied by a fearful attitude: You fear that those around you will react negatively, for example with ridicule, disgust or hate comments. And you believe that others are in the right. If you feel ashamed, you devalue yourself and your behavior.

3 Effects of shame on your self-confidence

People who often feel ashamed often have low self-esteem. No wonder, because feelings of shame are often accompanied by fears of failure. So you may end up in the typical victim role: You believe that you are not beautiful or smart enough.

The shame affects your self-esteem. You are so far away from your ideals - that alone awakens your shame. In these moments you forget that ideals are only dream images. You only think about the fact that you are not as successful or attractive as you would like to be.

Too much shame usually leads to further problems. Typical consequences are:

  • Fear of failure and Guiltwhich in turn trigger perfectionism and possibly also compulsive behavior,
  • Shyness and the desire to be invisible - whereupon you withdraw and become more and more silent,
  • Displacing your goals and escaping into a comfortable, low-key posture.
what to do about shame

Why do we develop feelings of shame?

Feelings of shame are often related to a kind of escape reflex. In unpleasant situations, you would prefer to sink into the ground to escape the stress. If many other people witness the shameful scene, your shame is especially great.

But where exactly does the feeling of shame come from? Maybe you feel you've made a mistake or have a sore spot. You think you can't let yourself be seen anymore. Simply ridiculous, your behavior - you just want to disappear. The problem is that you judge yourself for your weakness. You can't imagine that your self-criticism is much worse than the look of others. There's nothing you can do about it - you'll surely be ridiculed and mobbed for it.

In fact, shame is an important element in society. It connects people and affects social relationships. Those who act shamelessly encounter significantly less understanding and compassion.

Why do some people have no sense of shame? Often it has to do with their position of power. Ruthlessness is often accompanied by a callous nature. Such alpha animals prey on weaker people and reject reproach. They cling to rational, often contrived explanations. Typically, shameless (or impudent) people have a distorted worldview. Depending on the degree, they may even have a personality disorder.

5 steps to deal with feelings of shame and boost your self-confidence

What to do about shame? How can you get away from your negative self-image and redefine yourself? With a Coaching for more self-confidence you gain strength and security.

  1. Work on your self-esteem. Remain capable of acting, even in embarrassing situations. Find appropriate solutions for problems such as stage fright.
  2. Don't try to be perfect. You can't please everyone. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Have the courage to take a break and see your mistakes as a learning experience.
  3. Recognize the positive sides of shame. Feelings of shame are important for drawing boundaries, whether it is about the threshold of violence or about privacy.
  4. Be loving and kind to yourself. Don't punish yourself twice for a slip-up. Rather, find someone to talk to about it. Ask for comfort or do something you enjoy.
  5. Take a step back and laugh about the embarrassing situation. This will lighten the mood and protect you from negative ruminations.

How can you recognize shame and manage it?

You recognize your own feelings of shame by the fact that you feel hot. You start to stutter and notice how you blush. Inner self-reproaches torment you. You look down and squirm with embarrassment. Sometimes you see these Signs for shame in other people as well.

How can you overcome the unpleasant side effects? To do this, you must first Get rid of shame.

Positive Beliefs and a different perspective will help you to free yourself from shame. Don't make yourself smaller than you are, but own up to your weaknesses. Don't shy away from difficult situations, but practise a relaxed attitude. It may take a while to overcome the shame you have trained yourself to feel, but you will feel much better with an optimistic attitude. However, this requires you to leave your comfort zone.

8 tips for promoting a positive self-image despite feelings of shame

Having shame is human and can hardly be avoided. But how do you deal with it? The following Tips for dealing with shame help you out of embarrassment and negative feelings.

  1. Accept your feelings of shame and see them as a sign that something didn't work out. Allow them instead of repressing them too quickly. This will help you overcome them.
  2. Admit your weaknesses and own up to your mistakes. "Nobody is perfect" - a mishap can happen to anyone. You can be ashamed of this for a moment, but you don't have to sink into the ground right away.
  3. A mistake is not a drama, a mishap does not make you a bad person. Draw a line between your actions and your personality. One mistake does not make you a failure.
  4. Orient yourself by your attitude towards other people: With them you are often much more calm and tolerant than when it comes to your mistakes. Comfort yourself just as you comfort others.
  5. Talk about your feelings of shame if they bother you. By sharing with your friends, you'll find that they don't feel much different. This makes it easier for you to cope with the shame.
  6. You did something wrong? Then take a look at your good deeds and successes. They easily outweigh the mishap. A gratitude book helps you to pay attention to the positive moments.
  7. Take a look into the future: Will the embarrassing situation still mean anything in a week or a year? Probably not, so you don't have to feel ashamed for long now.
  8. Don't brood too long, but stop the negative carousel of thoughts. Think about the present instead of dramatizing the incident and dragging it around with you forever.

3 practical exercises to overcome your feelings of shame

Sometimes it is difficult to overcome the feelings of guilt and shame. The Greator webinar for more self-confidence gives you tools to solve the problematic situation and regain control over your thoughts.

  1. Wait a moment before you get embarrassed. Sometimes it only takes a few minutes for the situation to blow over. Relax and take a deep breath: Then the world will look better again.
  2. Check your feelings. Is it the feelings of shame that are bothering you? Or are there other emotions like Disappointmentfear and anger behind it? Look at your emotions without judging them. Feel them and stay as calm as possible.
  3. An embarrassing moment is nothing special for which you have to apologize. You don't need excuses: it just happened. Remember that shame is a natural thing. Feeling shame even earns you sympathy points. On the other hand, those who act shamelessly often make enemies.

Get rid of feelings of shame - the relaxed way

Recognize your feelings of shame, but don't let them control you. Manage the negative emotions with mindfulness and composure. Be aware of your feelings and strengthen your positive attitude. Of course, you are not in control of your emotions all the time, but you can strengthen your self-confidence and be more relaxed about shame.


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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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