Have you ever felt that something is inherently “wrong” with you? Or that you deserve something bad that’s happened to you? Do you feel that an event in your past is your fault, even if you didn’t necessarily play a role in it?
This is called shame, and it can be a crippling, exhausting burden to carry around with you.
If you’ve taken on the weight of a situation that’s not your responsibility and is not your fault, it’s important to learn how to let this go and move on. If you can’t seem to forget something in your past, even if those around you have, it’s also important to learn how to let this go and move on.
This certainly isn’t easy, but there are some ways that you can begin this process.
Understanding Guilt vs Shame
Understanding the difference between guilt and shame can help you tell the difference between these feelings so that you can gain better control over them. Put very simply: guilt is about doing, while shame is about being. In other words, guilt is what you might feel when you have done something wrong, but shame is a feeling that you are wrong at the core. No matter the reason behind these sentiments, this isn’t true and is something to grow away from.
Own Your Own Feelings (and Not Others’)
You will only be able to start healing from shame when you learn the difference between others’ feelings and your own. Generally speaking, you have control over your own feelings. You do not, however, have control over or even responsibility for how others feel. If someone doesn’t feel positive, this isn’t your fault. If someone feels sad, this isn’t because of a problem with who you are. By acknowledging what you do and do not have control over, you can begin to let go of the guilt and shame that accompanies uncontrollable events.
The burden of shame is complicated and it can take a long journey to let go of it. Be sure to find the support of someone you know and trust as you explore these feelings and remember that you’re not alone. Be true to how you feel and be willing to share these emotions with those around you. This will help people to understand you better and for you to feel more free and open. Odds are that when you share your own feelings of shame with someone else, they might do the same, helping you both move forward together.
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