3 Ways to Transmute Shame and Elevate Your Self-Worth
“Shame is a soul eating emotion” – Carl Jung
At its deepest core Shame is a trove of self-judgement and powerlessness that unconsciously churns behind the scenes of our psyche with no outlet. Sadly many people are suffering by allowing shame and guilt to consume them, carrying such a personal vendetta can cause us to feel paralysed and stuck in a loop of analysis, self-loathing and self-punishment. As we interact with the shamed parts of ourselves, we can be the most brutal persecutor shouldering an array of emotions which weigh us down and can eventually cause us to be ill. It is true that shame can really eat away at our soul. We can be our own worst enemy as we observe what we deem to be shameful.
Although shame and anxiety often breed together, the main contrast is that anxiety occurs as a result of perceived threat or danger either to our own physical wellbeing or the wellbeing of someone else. Shame is the result of being judged in a way that makes us worry we could be expelled, rejected or dishonoured. In the animal kingdom when a member of the pack is weak or injured it will do everything it can to disguise it’s weakness for fear of being rejected. We are instinctively programmed for survival and if anyone knows our hidden mortal sins we could get kicked out of the pack and potentially meet with death. When you explore your fears, you will often be able to marry them with associated fears around mortality. Negative emotion is about surviving which is why we can often hide our feelings and thoughts from other people. We are a tribe after all.
All Emotion is Positive
Emotion serves us in a positive way because it allows us to experience the beauty of polarity; there is no bad emotion only contrast to help us grow. Emotions help us to navigate our heroes’ journey through life but we need a balance of the two to have a healthy relationship with our inner world. Emotion is really only meant to be felt for up to 45 seconds until it’s transmuted but we hold on to it and ruminate for days, weeks and years. In the longer term this isn’t useful and can be a huge detriment to mental health. If you resonate with this and you want to feel better, here I share 3 Ways to Transmute Shame and Elevate Your Self-Worth:
1. Take an objective view
If you have something you feel shame about ask yourself these questions:
a) Did I choose to carry out my behaviour?
What would I do differently next time?
What have I learnt from this situation?
b) Did anyone get hurt?
If someone else was involved write them a letter and explain how you were feeling at that particular time in your life. Unless you’re a psychopath you would’ve had a reason to act out your actions, perhaps you were in fear or had your own personal problems amplifying your behaviour. Explain that now you’re thinking differently about things and you’ve learnt from the situation. Apologise if you feel drawn. You can either keep the letter, send it or burn it. The main thing is that you’ve got your feelings out of your system and released the suppression.
c) Was I powerless to something that happened to me?
Some personal experiences can seem hugely unjust and it could be that you were put in a situation where you felt helpless and this made you feel shame. If this resonates, gently remind yourself that you can’t change the past but you can change how you feel about it and be free of the suffering. You can transmute your emotions when recalling a past event by releasing it with love, letting go with acceptance and allowing yourself inner peace. You can follow the letter writing exercise above to any perpetrator to help you with this.
2. Recognise the situation as an opportunity for self-growth
In any relationship people act as our mirrors where we project our stuff on to each another and create lessons to learn and grow. If life was all sweetness and full of the fluffy stuff we’d never learn to become a better version of ourselves. Be kind to yourself and have gratitude that the situation has made you review, rethink, reconsider and expanded your growth. Whatever it is you feel shame about, know that holding on to this emotion for too long isn’t serving you in a positive way. Ensure you either talk to someone you trust or write it out in a journal.
3. Remember you are a powerful and kind person!
Grab a piece of paper and write out of the following:
a. The 3 things I am most proud of are:
b. My top 3 accomplishments in life so far are:
c. I’ve helped people in my family, community, friendships, at work by… (write out how you’ve helped someone, a group or an animal, organisation etc)
d. Connect with your good feelings as you recall these times and feel proud of yourself. You are on your own personal growth journey along with the rest of us! Every person who has crossed your path will have felt shame at some point in their life. It’s ok to feel emotion but holding on for too long will only cause suffering. There is no one else like you on this planet so revel in the joy of being who you are and remember all those wonderful times you’ve made a difference.
Hopefully these tips are useful to your inner healing, overall it’s super important to release any shame by either talking about it or writing it out rather than suppressing and allowing it to consume you. If you feel you’d like further support feel free to connect with me by filling out the form below or booking in a free 30 minute consultation here.