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Do You Have the Power to Heal Your Shame?


Shame is a complex human emotion that we all experience at one time or another.

You might feel shame because of something about your appearance, events related to your family, or even a lack of education. You might feel you’re not worthy somehow. Shame shows itself in many forms. But the one common thread is that shame makes you feel terrible about yourself. You might try to hide from it, deny it, or numb it with drugs or alcohol. But shame is like a cancer; it will continue to grow and spread if you don’t deal with it. So, is healing shame possible?

The good news is that shame doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Shame often stands as a barrier in the way of living our best life. It’s counterproductive and breeds a negative mindset that does nothing but hold us back.  On the other hand, resilience helps us not only to recover from difficult situations but to come out of them stronger.

“Resilience helps us not only to recover from difficult situations but to come out of them stronger.”

Resiliency is a trait we all need to cultivate to manage shame.

It is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. Resilient people develop skills and abilities to cope with difficult situations. They also have hope that they can overcome these challenges and often see failure as a learning experience rather than a dead end. In other words, they don’t give up easily. As you work on developing resiliency, remember that you can’t do it all at once. Resilience is built over time through repeated exposure to difficult situations. Just as muscles strengthen with repeated use, so does your ability to cope with challenging experiences. Each time you face a difficult situation and strive to keep regulated, practicing intentional rather than reactive action you become more resilient. Each time you become more resilient; you increase your capacity for healing shame.

“Each time you face a difficult situation and strive to keep regulated, practicing intentional rather than reactive action you become more resilient.”

Healing shame could be possible with these actions, listed below.  

Identify shame’s presence. Because we tend to try to cover up that which embarrasses or demeans us, you’ll probably need to do some personal confrontation of your own emotions.

    • Are there particular people in whose presence you feel embarrassed? If so, why?
    • Perhaps when you’re in a specific type of situation, you notice that you tend to close down emotionally or feel numb.
    • Begin to take note of when your emotions are either stirred up or flat (which means you feel nothing at all).

Consider discussing your shame with someone you trust. Because shame can be a tough emotion to handle, it’s helpful to have someone you can talk to about it. Whether it’s a close friend, your partner, or a professional, it will free you to put words to those feelings. 

    • The more you talk about it, the better you’ll be able to gain some understanding of what triggers your feelings of shame. 
    • Sharing shame with others tends to shine a light into the places we usually keep hidden in the shadows.  It feels risky talking about shame. 

Learn to love yourself. No matter your shortcomings, you deserve to experience the uplifting feelings you can get from self-love. Even though you think you have a lot of spiritual “blemishes,” you must allow yourself to see your natural beauty within.

    • Connect with your spiritual power. Whether it’s your religion, an interest in Eastern philosophy, or a strong belief in Mother Earth, establish a connection with whatever spiritual power you believe in. 
    • When you have a spiritual power you can lean on, you’ll likely find solace and the strength to face and resolve your personal shame. 

Have confidence that you’ll overcome. At some point in life, we all have our difficulties to deal with, and our challenges to manage. Reach deep within yourself and you’ll find the confidence to persevere.


Remember that you’ve resolved challenges before and know that you can conquer this one, too.

Shame is a normal human emotion that we’ve all felt. If you’re willing to do the work, you can resolve the hurt and shame you feel inside. 



Written by Robert Rhoton Psy D., LPC, D.A.A.E.T.S.

Dr. Robert Rhoton, CEO of Arizona Trauma Institute and President at the Trauma Institute International possesses a rich history of experience in the mental health field.



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