When most people experience shame, they want to hide. It’s normal to want to isolate yourself when you’re feeling shame. But although the feeling is common, that doesn’t mean it’s the best choice.
A better option is to let out your shame. To find a safe space where you can be seen while sharing your shame. When you share you story with others, you can experience freedom and healing in your life.
Here’s how to get started on the journey to letting go and asking for the support you need….
Anna struggled with deep shame from her abusive childhood. She was afraid to tell anyone about what really went on in her home. She was afraid that someone would validate her fear that she was to blame.
But one night, she reached out. She called her best friend and began to share her painful past. She was surprised by how much better she felt just talking about it. She hadn’t realized how much of it she’d been carrying with her.
Even more surprising to her was the way her friend handled the conversation. She told Anna that sharing your shame like that was brave. Her friend reminded her that her identity didn’t stem from the abuse. “You are so much more than your past,” she said.
Pick a Kind Listener
Like Anna, you may have been carrying a heavy burden of shame for months or even years. But you don’t have to bear that pain alone. Look for someone who you can talk to about it.
Choose the person you disclose your shame to carefully. You want a kind listener who is compassionate. Someone you trust not to tell your secrets to others and won’t treat you any differently afterwards.
This is super important. When we share our story and the person doesn’t hold it safe and sacred our feelings of shame can be exacerbated.
It is best to have a trained professional to help support you through this experience.
Share Your Heart
When you’re ready to have the conversation you want to ensure that you find a comfortable space with someone that can help you in the processing of this. When you choose someone other than a professional they often do not have the skill set to stay in a regulated emotional state. You want to share with someone who can help you co-regulate. It’s important that this conversation feels safe and supportive.
It might be helpful to think about some of these questions as you consider talking about your shame.
- What event or conversation caused you to feel shame?
- How did that moment make you feel?
- How does it make you feel now?
- What message have you carried around because of that moment?
- How does this message affect your life?
You need space to be vulnerable and process what happened.
Sharing your shame isn’t easy. It can be frightening but it’s also freeing. When someone else knows about your pain, you no longer have to carry it alone. Now, you have a friend to walk with you on your journey toward healing.
This is the first step in shining the light on shame.
You might also enjoy this piece about healing in community.
Are you ready to release your shame?
If you are looking for someone to support you through this time let’s connect. The sooner we shine the light on our shame the sooner it stops controlling our actions.