Shame is a big reason why we hang onto addictions, people, jobs, and other things.
Shame keeps us from being open, vulnerable and finding a community in which we feel accepted and worthy.
Shame will keep us from trying new things, in an effort not to hurt our already damaged ego.
Shame will keep us addicted, slowly draining our life force and turning us into a lesser version of the human we are destined to become.
In this piece I want to cover:
- The definition of shame
- The importance of understanding shame’s role
- How we are impacted by holding onto shame
- How to get out from under the weight of shame
Addiction and Shame
We all deal with being addicted to things:
- Social media
- our phones in general – we unlock them 1,500 times a week
- being lazy
The list is endless. My own personal battle with addiction and its subsequent shame was with porn, and I got started as early as 12 years old.
Shame tells us that we are unworthy, keeps us from community and vulnerability, and helps to keep us entrapped in the circle of a habit that does not serve our greater good.
The statistics behind the porn industry are mind-blowing, but this isn’t the only addiction that seeks to destroy humanity’s power core: our ability to connect fully and deeply.
Anytime we deal with actions that cause us to feel shame. we hole up, refuse to take risks, and engage in behaviors that we know do us no good. We joke about them, make light of them, and hang out with other people who have the same addictions.
Definition of Shame:
- a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.
- a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety
- A painful feeling of having lost the respect of others because of the improper behavior, incompetence, etc. of oneself or of someone that one is close to or associated with.
- It is associated with “mental undoing”. Studies of shame showed that when ashamed people feel that their entire self is worthless, powerless, and small, they also feel exposed to an audience—real or imagined—that exists purely for the purpose of confirming that the self is worthless.
Shame’s Role in Our Lives:
Shame is typically foreshadowed by trauma. When something traumatic happens to a person, they often feel of shame over what transpired. Shame is also experienced by people who commit crimes, live in addiction, experience stigmatized mental illness and others.
Shame is so powerful that it can impact the whole trajectory of a person’s life by keeping us locked into habit that destroy us, unable to be honest and truly begin the healing process.
Shame keeps us from healing. Imagine never healing from a deep wound. Shame can lead us to death if we don’t face our addiction head on.
The Impact of Shame
A short list of what holding onto shame can do to you:
- End up avoiding relationships, community and being vulnerable with others – this leads to less fulfilling relationships and more dependence on the dopamine we are getting from our addiction, which only leads us back to the shame
- We suppress our emotions – suppressing emotions only hurts us. We don’t learn to communicate, accept help, and dig ourselves further into the hole that is shame.
- We feel anxious, depressed, and have a lowered sense of self- worth. We feel depressed because of the addiction, with no one to turn to. We feel worthless because we know we are capable of more and don’t know how to ask for help, mainly because of the shame we feel for being unable to change on our own. This causes anxiety about WHEN and WHERE we may be caught or how we might let a loved one down.
- People who live with shame are less likely to take healthy risks. You can’t take risks when you are afraid due to your sense of worthlessness. It’s hard to feel worthy of community when shame sits on the throne as king.
Because of these issues, you are more likely to fall back into addictive, repetitive behaviors that leave you feeling ashamed of yourself and worthless.
Shame will absolutely kick you when you’re down and keep you from getting back up.
IF you let it.
Ways Out of Shameful Lifestyle Habits
- Seek out relationships and commit to vulnerability with individuals you feel safe with – it’s up to you to take the first step in being vulnerable and open.
- Get out of your own head
- Develop self-compassion, because if you don’t love yourself, who will?
- Take one small risk, at least daily.
- Believe that healing is possible, because it is!
Does the person you want to be in a year, two years, five years from now still engage in habit and addictions that bring shame?
Are you aware of the power that lies within you, the power that is being suppressed by shame, guilt and addiction?
Superhero Academy is a place where you can feel safe. If there’s anything you want to discuss, set up a meeting with Life Coach James Taylor. First session is always free, and I want to provide a space for you to release pain so you can heal.
Hopefully this article was of some benefit to you. Thanks for reading!