How to unlearn shame?


Unlearning shame requires a multifaceted approach, blending self-awareness, compassion, and gradual changes over time:

  1. Identify and Understand Shame: Recognize the sources and triggers of your shame. highlights that understanding why you feel shame is the first step to changing those feelings. Reflect on experiences and societal influences that contribute to your shame 1.

  2. Deshame the Moment: Focus on reducing the immediate impact of shame. offers a strategy for parents to deshame their children by connecting and empathizing first, rather than correcting immediately. This method helps in "thawing" the freeze response caused by shame 2.

  3. Practice Self-Compassion: Talk to yourself as you would to someone you love. emphasizes showing self-compassion and being kind to ourselves during shameful moments to stop negative self-talk and avoid spreading the shame to others 3.

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  4. Seek Empathy and Connection: Share your experiences with trusted individuals to break the isolation of shame. Empathy from others can diminish the power of shame, as shared by 3.

  5. Educate Yourself: For specific types of shame, like sexual shame, recommends re-educating oneself to replace outdated or harmful beliefs from childhood and societal norms. This involves reading and listening to informed resources 4.

  6. Gradual Change: Realize that changing entrenched feelings of shame is a gradual process. notes that true change happens over time through ongoing self-work and reinforcing new positive pathways in the brain 1.

  7. Vulnerability: Embrace vulnerability and share your authentic self. and discuss the importance of leading with vulnerability to connect with others and reduce internal shame 5.

Following these expert strategies can help you gradually unlearn shame and foster a healthier, more compassionate self-perception.