Shame can come from within, from others, or a combination of both. When you allow shame to stay in your mind, it grows and erodes your self-worth. When you continue to harbor shame, you may convince yourself that you are not worthy or not enough. Removing shame from your life takes work, but there are many small steps you can take to delete the lies that shame has permeated your mind with and find that you are, in fact, enough.
#1. Stop Listening to Negative Voices
Some people constantly send negative messages to others, even to close friends and family members. You do not need to listen to them anymore. Their words are not your truth.
#2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
We live in a world where social media has created a whole culture of comparing ourselves to others, and it is so unhealthy. You are unique and have qualities that no one else has; there is no need to compare yourself to others or be ashamed of being different from others.
#3. Change Your Self-Talk
Listen to how you talk to yourself. Do you use negative, shaming language in your head? Would you talk like that to someone that you love? Show yourself some love and change the messages that you send to yourself. If you catch yourself using negative thoughts or language, replace those thoughts with positive words. Changing your self-talk is very challenging but is one of the most effective ways to remove shame.
#4. Use Affirmations
In addition to changing the way you think and talk to yourself, boost your self-worth by using affirmations. These are positive statements that you can read, think, say out loud, write, listen to, set reminders on your phone, or any combination of these throughout the day every day to help change your mindset. Examples include:
- I am strong.
- I am powerful.
- I am beautiful.
- I am in control of my life.
- I am enough.
#5. Recognize When You Feel Shame
Sometimes, removing shame is as simple as recognizing it. When you acknowledge that you are feeling shame, that can be enough to realize that it is a false belief, and you can dismiss it from your mind. You may also wish to confide in a friend that you feel shame about, which will also serve to flip the switch on those thoughts.
#6. Practice Mindfulness
When you are mindful, you are genuinely in the moment, noticing what is happening around you right now and simply accepting things as they are without judgment. Because shame involves judgment, there is no room for shame when practicing mindfulness. You can use the power of your mind to push those thoughts away and simply be accepting.
#7. Exercise Self-Compassion
What is it that you are feeling shameful about? Is it something you cannot change? Is it something you did in the past? There is no shame in offering yourself compassion for who you are or what you may have done. Give yourself the same compassion you would extend to a close friend or family member. The love and forgiveness you would offer them should also be yours. You are every bit as worthy of compassion as anyone else is.
#8. Seek Support
When you are truly struggling with shame and cannot let go of those feelings, reach out for help. Shame can be subtle but can build up to monstrous proportions and become crippling. Talking to a professional can help you unravel those negative thoughts and learn how to replace them with truthful ones. If talking to a close friend or family member is not enough, you can speak to a therapist to help you recognize the truth about your self-worth.
#9. Powerfully Accept Who You Are
You are the most powerful tool against shame. When you can powerfully accept who you are without judgment, then the shame dissipates. When you can honestly look at yourself – the parts of you that you are proud of and the parts of you that you may not be proud of – and accept all of them as parts of the whole person you are, you have accepted yourself. There is no shame where there is only acceptance.
Self-acceptance is not easy; it is human nature to be self-critical and try to hide those parts of us that are less acceptable. We may naturally want to hide those things we may have done that may be judged as wrong. When you are willing to accept yourself without those judgments, you eliminate shame and tell yourself and the world that you are enough.
The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women believes that women should remove shame to heal from their substance abuse. Removing shame from your life will help you to realize your self-worth and empower you to be who you truly are. As you stop listening to negative voices and change the way you talk to yourself, practice mindfulness, and exercise self-compassion and self-acceptance, you will move from feeling shame to recognizing that you are enough. Our residential treatment program is located in Costa Mesa, California, between soothing mountains and sunny beaches. Our facility provides a peaceful refuge for you to learn to love yourself again as you heal from your addiction. We offer both individual and group therapy as well as education about nutrition. We offer trauma-informed care and evidence-based practices, so you can have a safe place to find your way again. Call us today at (714) 581-3974.