Living in shame can come from wrongdoing (which is directly associated with guilt) but it can also come from rejection, harsh correction or criticism from caretakers, in the early portion of our lives. I’ve been talking on the topics of guilt, shame and regret because I have noticed many others walk in shame and it was a huge hurdle I had to overcome myself; I feel it is necessary to address shame head on.
Shame makes you think something is wrong with you, dismissing that you may have simply done something wrong. It also implicates that God or others are mad at you! How does shame look in a mental health perspective?
- AVOID RELATIONSHIPS: According to the Annual Review of Psychology, people who live in shame hide and avoid sharing their true selves with others.
- SUPPRESS EMOTIONS: According to the Journal of Psychology, people who live in shame keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves.
- EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL BATTLES: According to Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, people who live with shame fall prey to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Ultimately recurring thoughts of worthlessness prevent them from having a positive thought life.
- FEAR OF PEOPLE: According to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, people who live in shame tend to live in a place where they have to protect themselves from ‘being devalued by others. This then results in manipulation, controlling situations/people, paranoia, loneliness and isolation.
- COMPULSIVE AND ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS: People who live in shame tend to become workaholics, shopaholics and perfectionists. Drug, alcohol and other chemical addictions; eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia, and obesity; money addictions like stinginess and gambling; sexual perversions of all kinds, and so much more.
I know it seems impossible to heal, but its another lie of Satan and your subconscious mind resisting change. Change feels uncomfortable because it is unknown, but it promotes intimacy with God, maturity and freedom. You deserve to live a life of wholeness! My prayer is that we all destroy patterns of thinking in our belief systems (strongholds/paradigms). The longer we wait to address shame, it grows exponentially. But if we are intentional, we can be healed and destroy shame based thinking/lifestyles.
- Receive the Love and Forgiveness of God
- Forgive Yourself
- Learn to accept and love yourself the way you are
- Accept and release the instances/people when the idea that ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’ were born (this takes time and intention)
- Give yourself the attention and affection you were denied in the past (self-love)
- Empower yourself with “I am” affirmations of who God says you are
- Find moments to enjoy yourself without the need to feel responsible
- Develop some rituals (wake up early, workout, look in the mirror and compliment yourself, acknowledge your accomplishments)
God forgave you and people did too, but you haven’t forgiven yourself. God doesn’t want you to live this way! Remember, God loves YOU unconditionally; all the time and despite of your actions!
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
Lord God, all powerful and sovereign king, I come before you in the name of Jesus Christ, on behalf of those who have been plagued by shame and its forces. I pay that you help each of us to walk in your divine call and identity by destroying and pulling down strongholds of our upbringing and life experience. Uproot the words spoken into our subconscious and heal the brokenness in our minds where we may believe we are not good enough. I come against torment and debilitating thoughts which prevent us from moving forward and ask that you cover our minds and fill those now empty places with your blood and your word. I declare that those enemies we saw before, we will see never again. In the matchless and incomparable name of Jesus! Amen!