Shame is generally associated with the idea of degrading self worth. If it strikes us at school or college it tends to leave a deeper impact. Many of us find ourselves gripped into it so much so that that there seems to be no escape to the agony caused just by merely existing. The more you think the more it affects you. But how to cope up with shame, if you are a school or college student ?
What is shame ?
Shame, needless to say is a negative emotion. One that changes your view about yourself. By that I mean one begins to feel a sense of disgust about themselves. Subsequently, we start to think of ourselves as worthless, start to hate ourselves, try to isolate and avoid situations which triggers the incident which caused shame.
But what triggers shame ?
It could be anything which is associated with your self worth. Shame can make you do things that you don’t realise you are doing. For example, if you see your hair thinning. You automatically start to sit at places where there dim light or poor light so that people don’t notice your thinning. You begin to avoid social events and embarrassing situations.
How serious is shame ?
Serious enough to lower your self esteem. Give you a disorder. Put you into social isolation. So, It has to be dealt with concern and understanding. Shame can have an ever lasting impact.
Shame is a powerful experience/ emotion. In many cases it was found that it was linked to eating disorders, social isolation, mood disorder, depression, stuttering, addiction and obesity. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Bipolar disorder, Borderline, Avoidant personality disorder etc are some of the very serious disorders associated with shame. These are serious issues that bring affect both personality and self esteem.
Difference between shame, guilt, embarrassment ?
Not to forget, shame is what adversely affects your identity and self worth. Where as guilt is a form of repent/regret concerning an action which you committed both real and imaginary. Embarrassment is state of temporary discomfort caused due socially frowned upon acts, behaviors, reactions etc.
When one talks about intensity of the 3 :
Shame >>> Guilt>> Embarrassment
Can one develop sensitivity to shame ?
From an early age we develop sensitivity to shame. As children we are taught or cultured into acceptable behaviors and acts. We as children are brought in those values which specifies some acts as forbidden/taboo and others acceptable.
An example, as a child a simple act of not being able to control and urinating in pants/shorts in school can cause shame as disgust towards him/herself. Contemptuous and scornful behavior can result in feelings of disgust and low self worth from an early. These unfortunate incidents caused embarrassment but it translated into shame.
Incidents like physical, mental abuse can have life lasting impacts.
How you may ask ?
- Children keep mocking.
- Thought re-occurrence.
- Triggers which reminded of the act.
It is important to mention that its impact may differ from child to child meaning it may vary because of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Another example (in adults),
Consider an obese person who avoids going out. They were fat shamed whenever they go out. This makes them avoid going out all together. In some cases they may fall into a vicious cycle of developing a disorder probably an eating disorder.
How to cope up with shame?
If the incident has to happen or happened only sometime back :
Shame is like a parasite, better to address it sooner. If you have experienced any guilt shame or embarrassment. Talking about it with your mother might just be the best thing. As a student, especially in adolescence we try to keep matter by ourselves. Incidents which seem any of three must be shared with Mother.
General nature of mothers which is of care – concern, works like an antibiotic when you tell her. No matter how old you are.
If you for some reason cannot talk about it with your mother then talk about it with your closest friend who you think understands you the best.
Change the labels in mind :
Mistake and unfortunate events happen. The thoughts which degrades your self worth should be replaced consciously, example : “I am good for nothing” should be replaced by “I Made a mistake, I can improve.”
Stop Hating yourself :
You are only making it worse. Feelings of disgust, hate, degrading thoughts will only suck you in deep into the cycle of negativity and depressive thoughts. Understand that in this case emotions at best serve an indication of something is not correct with your psychology/ well being. You can improve your state by replacing those negative thought cycles with positive ones.
If you have been struggling with shame for a long time :
Better to see a doctor. This also is a good enough reason to go to the doctor. So, don’t feel embarrassed or suppress any indication that stress provides.
- Therapy (CBT etc)
Both can help alleviate suffering or reduce discomfort which experienced daily by an individual.
Read also Coping up with embarrassment ?
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