Episode #47: How to Overcome Shame?

Dr. Connie Omari
Hi, my name is Dr. Connie Omari and I am the owner of Tech Talk therapy where we provide Person Centered counseling through the use of technology. I am a Certified Clinical trauma professional and I work with people experiencing trauma.

Today, what I want to talk to you about is a very big challenge that comes with trauma. The challenge that I am referring to is shame.

So today we’re going to talk about how to overcome shame, because shame is typically something that is used to keep us from living our best life. So the first recommendation I have is exposure. Because shameful things are often shameful we don’t want people to know about them, is a tendency to keep them to ourselves. But when we do that, we have the opportunity to fester and just totally immerse ourself into whatever the shameful event is, when in reality, most of the other people that we are ashamed of ourselves around don’t even know that we’ve done the whatever the shameful event is.

So I don’t wouldn’t recommend going around telling all your business. But sometimes we can address shame by writing it down. Keeping a journal. There’s all types of like confession, things where you can let people know that you’ve done things anonymously. You can write letters to yourself or to if someone else is involved in this shameful event to them, or if there’s someone you feel like should know about it, but you can’t tell them write it down. But don’t Mel it, you could tear it up, you can burn it, whatever. But it can be a way of getting it off your chest, but just expose the event in a way that you can live with.

And that takes some of the burden and the guilt away from you. So that you don’t have to deal with the shame. Further, another recommendation I have is to process your feelings. So a lot of times we have this saying like you should be ashamed of yourself. And once that saying that thought is put in our head, we actually believe that we should be ashamed of ourselves. That’s not necessarily true. And depending upon what the shameful event is, you may have the power and the authority to redefine whether or not that’s a shameful event.

So take the time you owe it to yourself to really look through whatever your events are, and determine for yourself, is this really shameful? Or is this a stigma or something that has been placed on this, but it’s the other person’s stuff and not mine, or even society. So sometimes society can shame you for doing things that you really should not, there really are applicable, you can make that decision for yourself. And you do that by processing.

Next, I want to encourage you to separate the action from the person. All of us have done things that we are shameful for myself included. And though I have made poor choices and have done things that you know, might not want you to know about or other people to know about that doesn’t define who I am, I’m not a bad person, because I’ve done things that I’m not proud of. But the imperfection in me and the just, you know, inability to always make the right choices has come into effect which has led to that shameful event. So you know, I am not shameful, though I have committed shameful actions. And the same can be said about you.

Next, come to terms with really what brings the shame. A lot of times we’re ashamed of things that if we look at the root of the shame, we won’t be ashamed of them anymore. An example that comes to mind. And I know this is really crazy. But I remember a time when and I’m going to use somebody else, I’m not going to use one of my shameful events. But I remember a time when I’m not going to expose these people. But I was in church and someone was singing.

And another person just got really, really angry at that person for seeing it. And it just to me, it just really registered with me because I think that person was ashamed of the fact that they were getting shown up. And they couldn’t come to terms with the fact that they were being shown up singing. So it’s easy for them just to blame the other person for feeling that way. So you know, those things happen to all of us. So let’s just come to term with it.

And then the person who was actually singing better kind of internalized it like, Oh my God, I’ve done something wrong. I’ve done something bad. Really, it was only because of the only other person stuff and it required some processing and some really just working through stuff to get to the other side of it. Finally, connect with others. I really want to encourage you to do that. because you know, people who really love you and people who really care about you, they don’t care about your imperfections, they can look past that because they have them too.

And I believe that all of us should have only someone in life. But, you know, sometimes they’re really few and far to come, you know, to come by. And you just have to do what you can to connect with people that you either already know, or try to meet new people who will accept you unconditionally. So before we close, I realized I’ve lifted my arms a few times, and I realized I do have these hospital bands on.

So I just wanted to speak about those really quickly. Speaking of shame, I actually went to the emergency room recently because as many of you know, I did have a baby and a child to wear my wedding rings. And my fingers swell, and I was so embarrassed, like, I was so embarrassed that I was in the emergency room, I was so ashamed that I was in the emergency room having them literally saw off these I’m not gonna lie $7,000 wedding rings, and that I would just be in a situation like that. So that’s just let me let you know, we all experiencing shame. Here’s living proof of it. But sometimes some shameful events are harder to get through than others.