“The butterfly does not look back at the caterpillar in shame, just as you should not look back at your past in shame. Your past was part of your transformation.” – Anthony Gucciardi
Shame from the past is a burden that some carry their whole lives. Shame is a sort of self-loathing that can affect self-confidence. Considered by many psychologists as a secondary emotion that is triggered by or in par with sadness and disgust, shame can be a hindrance to success or self -worth. People who sense this emotion feel they deserve to feel this way, which in a way, makes it a dangerous entity.
A few ways that shame from the past can affect people’s lives are:
- People hide the cause of their shame from their friends and family. Sometimes, shame is so personal that even a significant other may not know the existence of the shame.
- Hiding these feelings can be painful and embarrassing.
- This can also lead to avoidance of the particular situation or task associated with shame.
- Some even have physical symptoms associated with shame
- The low self-esteem associated with shame can bring a person’s confidence down.
Since shame is so unique to each individual, each person experiences shame for various reasons. I have listed down a few reasons that I am aware of through my coaching training that people experience shame:
- A person’s appearance sometimes is a huge factor that can cause shame. If someone was overweight/underweight in the past, it can contribute to shame sometimes even if the person is healthy now.
- Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are still stigmatized in today’s society and people are secretive sometimes about their past visits to counselors or psychiatrists due to fear of being judged by friends and family.
- Job and a low income are also a huge factor that causes shame for some.
- Sexual orientation and sexual partner preference for some is another cause for apprehension and fear that can lead to hiding someone’s past.
- Alcoholism and drug abuse can create a sense of extreme embarrassment.
- Losing one’s spirituality in the hassle of life and work.
Some of the drawbacks of experiencing shame from the past that can affect success in personal and professional lives are:
- Low self-esteem and confidence can lead to fear of standing up for your self in front of your partner or in an office environment.
- The guilt of hiding the trauma or pain in front of your loved ones.
- Being defensive of your actions even when you know it is wrong.
- A feeling of carrying this emotional baggage everywhere that can feel like a burden.
Here are a few ways you can help yourself by taking control of your shame from the past:
- Identify the biggest shame from your past
- Be aware of the physical and emotional symptoms you experience when you think about it.
- Why is this a cause of shame in your life?
- What actions can you pursue to turn this around into a life experience?
- How can you convert it into a catalyst for a better future?
- What can you tell yourself when this appears in your mind?
- What actions can you take to block this thought?
If you can resonate with any of the information said above, please do not suffer in silence with it. Please get help. If you feel you would like to learn more about yourself or improve your personal and professional life, please book a complimentary, no-obligation intro session with me. I look forward to helping with your personality development and get you the success you need in your personal and professional life.
Hamna Siddique is a coach specializing in personal development and mindset coaching.
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