Shame has a deep painful effect on a person. When we carry shame around, it holds us back from being our best self. We feel and act less than everyone else. It’s not possible to live our bigger better lives.
Shame can be front and center in our minds or hidden beneath the surface. In either case it can lead to overeating, fear of speaking up for ourselves and just plain fear of speaking, worrying what other’s think of us. There’s more.
Here are three ways feelings of shame can get started.
(1) We did something we truly truly regret. Like hurting someone.
(2) Growing up we were told repeatedly, “Now aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” If you identify with this you may hear the voice of a parent or a teacher.
(3) We develop a feeling of shame for something that was done to us believing it was our fault.
In this post, we’ll look at the first one. Something we truly regret
We may believe the regret was something really wrong. We may think it silly and minor — wondering how such a small thing could cause so much pain. It doesn’t matter how minor it may have been, it just matters that it seems or feels large or overwhelming to us.
Perhaps the wrong is a sin according to a religion we follow or used to follow. It may be something we believe is a sin even if the religion doesn’t specifically identify it as such.
In any case, it may be something you are truly embarrassed about
Perhaps the shame comes from hurting someone. Or from taking something that doesn’t belong to us.
How would you relieve yourself from carrying this shame and guilt around? How would you stop blaming yourself and move on?
There are 4 components to releasing shame and guilt about a specific incident.
1. Acknowledgement of your responsibility for the incident. Acknowledging responsibility undoes your resistance to the feelings and the memory of an incident.
So often we attempt to get away from painful negative memories and feelings. The only way to deal with them is to invite them in so the healing or releasing of the pain can occur.
2. Acknowledge you are a deserving and loved person. This is a true statement whether you believe it or not.
Sometimes, just accepting you have the feelings (shame and guilt) is all you can do.
3. Forgive yourself for what you did. Easier said than done but, when using the fourth component, forgiveness happens naturally.
4. Tap on the incident and the emotions.
This component integrates the first three.
Assuming you are familiar with tapping, here’s how you might create the set up statement:
“Even though, I am so ashamed and guilty I did something to someone, I deeply and completely love and accept myself, and I forgive myself for having done it.”
Of course you would substitute the something and someone with the actual hurtful act and the person you hurt.
Alternately, you can create a set up statement like this:
“Even though, I am so ashamed and guilty I did something to someone, I accept my feelings of shame and guilt, and I forgive myself for having done it.”
Of course as you repeat this 3 times you would rub the sore spot on your chest or tap the karate chop point on your hand.
Then, you would tap on the remaining 9 points saying a reminder phrase:
“I did something to someone and I feel terribly ashamed and guilty.”
That’s one way to tap on this. There’s another in the following script:
Setup: “Even though I am so ashamed of myself for the something I did to someone I care about, I deeply and completely love and accept myself and I forgive myself for hurting them.
TH: I did this thing to this person I care about.
EB: I am so ashamed of what I did.
SE: I am so sorry for hurting them so badly.
UE: I completely broke their trust in me.
UN: Our relationship was never the same because I broke it.
Ch: I wish I could take it back.
CB: I’m sorry for the emotional pain I’ve caused.
UA: I’m sorry for any physical harm I caused.
LS: They have never trusted me again.
TH: When I broke his/her trust in me, I broke my trust in myself.
EB: I don’t deserve forgiveness from them or from myself.
SE: I didn’t just hurt this person I care about.
UE: I hurt myself in the process.
UN: I haven’t forgiven myself for what I’ve done.
Ch: I was angry when I did this thing.
CB: It’s time I forgive myself.
UA: It’s time I let go of this shame.
LS: He/She may never speak to me again.
TH: I don’t have to beat myself up though.
EB: I’ve carried the guilt and shame for far too long.
SE: I know now I can’t lash out at someone without hurting myself in the process
UE: I know now I lost control of reason, when I did that.
UN: If only I could take it back, I would.
Ch: The past is the past and what matters now is what I do with my future.
CB: The shame and the guilt are heavy weights I’ve carried around for so long.
UA: I am no longer the person I was when I did this.
LS: Forgiving myself for what I did, I release this pain I caused to my friend and to myself.
Remember to use the details of your particular incident.
If your intensity is a 10 or beyond, just tap quietly as you are already in touch with the pain of the emotions. When you reach a 4 through 6 in intensity (when you feel calm enough to talk about it), then continue with the script.
Using this script may be enough to relieve one or more incidents from your life. If you find it too painful to deal with on your own, seek the help of a coach or other professional who can walk you through the tapping and potentially identify other pain points you need to work on.
When you reach a 2 or below, you can stop tapping. It’s always best to reach a zero but, if you can’t get lower or you run out of time, stop tapping and check in with yourself about this later on. You can always tap some more. And the script is here for you to use.
Of course other emotions may come up as a result of the tapping.
- Sadness for the lost or broken relationship
- Anger at yourself over the incident
- Hurt because at some point someone hurt you
These are just a few possibilities. Be prepared to tap on other emotions and so on.
In the next post, we’ll take a look at the second cause of shame. Being told repeatedly “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself.”