There’s a big difference between unhealthy shame that is necessary for healing. Healthy shame is what we feel when accepting an undesirable action that goes against core values. Eventually, we are able to let the feeling of shame pass through a solid resolve not to do or act something again. However, if a person continually feels shame, it can develop into a potent force that makes people suffering from it define themselves by it instead of what they are. It can create a sense of unworthiness and powerlessness.
For some, it will be the shame that creates the inability to communicate, maintain eye contact, stand up straight, have confidence in their abilities, and even start the conversation. This particular emotion can also be the cause of avoidance. When you avoid talking about your problems, you avoid the possibility of coming to terms with them. It is your way of controlling the message. As a result, you may not even realize that there is anything wrong because you are too busy avoiding what you don’t want to talk about.
Shame is an emotion that can easily be converted into guilt when not dealt with. Guilt is the worst kind of emotion because it keeps you from growing as a person. If you are not dealing with your feelings, there is always a need to focus on them. You can be guided by your shame and guilt feelings and try to work out the situation rather than allowing the emotions to control you.
The main symptoms of shame behavior are negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Negative thoughts can lead to depression or even addiction. For instance, if you constantly find yourself comparing yourself to other people, you might be suffering from shame. If you are worried that people are looking at you differently than they usually do, you are suffering from the symptoms of shame.
The next primary symptom of shame behavior is an avoidant personality disorder. People with avoidant personality disorder avoid crowds or events that they perceive to be negative. This may cause social phobia, severe anxiety about social situations. People with social phobia are easily embarrassed or humiliated, so they overreact when they are around groups of people. They are often ashamed and feel bad whenever they experience these feelings, especially if they do not know about them.
The third type of shameful behavior that affects young adults is hypersexuality. This is characterized by having a strong sexual desire but having little self-worth or regard for one’s own body. Because young adults spend a lot of time online and socializing, shame can be brought to the forefront. Many young adults now consider sex as an activity that signals vanity and a lack of respect for one’s own body.
Shame and embarrassment are related because both behaviors are rooted in fear. Fear in the face of uncertainty is related to shame. It is often accompanied by other emotions, such as anger, fear, sorrow, regret, and other emotions similar to shame. Insecurity and feelings of powerlessness are closely associated with shame as well. When you feel bad about yourself, you may engage in behaviors like perfectionism, focusing on one’s appearance, avoiding social situations, resisting changes, saying no, believing that you are unlovable, and having a poor self-image. All of these behaviors lead to feelings of shame and embarrassment.
Shame and other emotions related to it are usually related to personal shortcomings. Still, there can also be situations where you feel these emotions without identifying a particular fault in your behavior. For example, if you are feeling ashamed of your weight, you can resolve to lose weight. You can then replace the emotion of shame with a more positive one, such as enthusiasm or excitement about losing weight or health, or an appreciation for your achievements in getting healthy. If you have been experiencing feelings of shame because you have made a mistake or committed a sin, you can overcome this emotion by committing the sin or making a vow never to commit that same mistake again. There are also times when a person experiences shame when they have criticized themselves for something that someone else did.
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