Shame is such a powerful emotion. Research even suggests that shame is the most universal human emotion. That research, conducted by Brene’ Brown, also tells us that shame is an aggressive and destructive emotion. We all feel it. But it’s never helpful.
It’s important to point out that shame is different from guilt. Guilt tells us we’ve done something wrong. Shame tells us that we are wrong. Shame manifests in different ways for men and women. But make no mistake, the intensity is the same.
Long-term experience with shame can lead to a variety of deeper problems. Depression, anxiety, cutting, eating disorders… They all can come from a place of shame. In order to properly deal with shame, individuals must pull it out by the root. Carefully trimming away at it will not prevent it from popping back up. Just like the weeds in your flowerbed, ignoring or casually pulling at it will not keep it from coming back. Brown says, “Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous… Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” Shame tells us that we cannot be vulnerable to other people because then our secrets will out there for everyone to see. But only through vulnerability can we truly let shame go.
Are you overwhelmed with the shame of past or current situations? The Refuge Center has counselors available to help you get to the root of that shame. If you would like to pursue counseling, please call us at 615-771-1155.