How to overcome shame: 5 tips
Much of what we are as individuals has to do with the way others perceive us. This means that, even if we do not realize it, one facet of our identity is related to the image we project, the way others react when they see us or interact with us.
Shame is a relevant psychological phenomenon that has to do with the above. Thanks to their existence, we worry about what others will think of us, so that in many situations we will be less likely to be socially isolated. However, in certain contexts, shame stops being an aid and becomes an obstacle, something that takes us away from what we would like to achieve and that leads us to an extreme form of shyness.
In this article we will see some keys to lose the shame and dare to take a step towards what we have set out to do, even though it means having a social exposure that initially causes respect.
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How to overcome shame
The steps to follow below should be adapted to the particular circumstances in which you live but, in addition, it is not enough to read and keep these ideas in mind. We must combine the change of beliefs with the change of actions , since if we only keep the first, there will probably be no change.
1. Get used to exposing your imperfections
It is impossible to maintain a perfect image or to make others idealize us constantly. Everyone makes small mistakes , falls into misunderstandings, and is exposed to uncomfortable situations. The tension generated by trying to maintain that illusion can generate a sense of ridicule very high and a great fear of feeling shame.
Thus, we must learn to take over our own imperfections and show them to others without fear. In this way there is the paradox that they are underestimated by recognizing their existence.
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2. Set goals and make yourself
If you stop thinking about whether or not you should do what makes you nervous for the possibility of making a fool of yourself, you will automatically create excuses that allow you to throw in the towel and surrender at the slightest opportunity, although it is not reasonable to change your mind in that way .
So, adopt commitments with yourself and, if possible, with others. In these cases, setting limits helps expand the margins of one's freedom , since it makes it easier to take the step and do something that was a challenge and that, once done, it will not cost us so much to repeat again.
3. Surround yourself with uninhibited people
The social context matters a lot. For example, anyone who has gone through an acting class knows that the first few days, the fact of seeing others losing their shame, causes them to let go of themselves in a matter of minutes, getting to do things they have never done before. .
This same principle can be applied to the small habits of day to day, outside the profession of the actors. If we get used to being surrounded by people who are not obsessed with the public image they give and express themselves spontaneously, we will tend to imitate those patterns of behavior and thought, even though our personality continues to exert its influence on us .
4. Work your self-esteem
If we believe that we are worth less than the rest, it is easy for us to end up assuming that there is something wrong with us that should be hidden from others, since in a matter of seconds it can leave us in evidence.
So, you have to work on your own beliefs to make these conform to a more just and realistic vision of oneself . Bearing in mind that those who have low self-esteem tend to attribute the blame for things that happen to them by accident or the influence of others, the focus should be on learning to see their own limitations as a product of the circumstances in which they live (and has been lived in the past) and the decisions one makes.
It is often beneficial to take a step back and distance yourself from what is being experienced in the present; that is, see it as you would see a third person who is not directly involved in what happens . In this way it is easier to stop thinking about what they will say and lose the shame.
Stop obsessing with what others are thinking and concentrating on what is objectively happening, such as when we watch a movie or play a video game, is usually helpful.Of course, only on occasions when shame is close, as in other situations, this has negative effects, by depersonalizing others and making empathy more complicated.
- Broucek, Francis (1991), Shame and the Self, Guilford Press, New York, p. 5.
- Fossum, Merle A .; Mason, Marilyn J. (1986), Facing Shame: Families in Recovery, W.W. Norton, p. 5.