Experts in fields such as psychology, trauma recovery and social work recognise shame as a pivotal emotion.
Shame can intensify and become extremely disabling and therefore needs addressing.
So what is shame?
Shame is the, usually deeply buried, sense that at our core we are flawed and defective, a cracked bell.
Shame is not the same as guilt, which is the feeling we get when we have made a mistake or done something that is not in alignment with our values.
Shame is also often deeply hidden, and certainly denied, in our culture and for shame to continue it relies on being out of sight and awareness.
Shame impacts our health and our relationships and is a major cause of addictions and mental health problems such as social anxiety and depression.
Reactions to shame that we carry, but are unconscious of, include perfectionism and shaming others.
Most of all shame curtails our relationship with ourselves, our spirituality and our best and most enjoyable life.
To heal shame we need to:
+ begin to connect with it on a regular basis
+ feel it + be seen and accepted by another when we feel it
+ bring gentle empathy to ourselves
None of this happens in one go, but bringing shame gradually out of the shadows and into awareness, and chipping away at it over time, allows for a natural healing and integration.
The non-shaming gaze of another heals, as do other resources offered here at the Project, as well as getting regular input from books, videos, workshops and other resources.