Shame is one of our most painful, powerful, and complex emotions. Unlike guilt, which is usually focused on a particular behavior or action, shame is an intense judgment of self. It instills feelings of being flawed and unworthy, and it is usually introduced to us through external criticism or ridicule for having done, expressed, or believed something considered socially inappropriate, unacceptable, or harmful. Shame motivates us to withdraw, hide, and disconnect from others, to mask crucial parts of ourselves, or to lash out aggressively in self-defense. We all carry the weight of shame, but it is possible to free ourselves from its immense burden and live fully into our whole being.
Truth is, we all participate in the collective consciousness, which includes our massive unconscious shadow, of which shame is a part. The more we observe, notice and take action on evolving and elevating our contribution individually and collectively, the more energy we place on evolution.
Spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant says many people confuse guilt (a feeling that you've done something wrong) with shame (a sense that there's something wrong with who you are). Find out why Iyanla says both sentiments are wasted emotions.
Human beings everywhere, in every culture and on every continent in the world over, experience shame in exactly the same way: gaze aversion, brief mental confusion, and a longing to disappear, usually accompanied by blushing of the face, neck, or chest.
In Conquering Shame and Codependency, Darlene Lancer sheds new light on shame: how codependents’ feelings and beliefs about shame affect their identity, their behavior, and how shame can corrode relationships, destroying trust and love.