A by-product of psychotherapy is to have increased self-esteem. Therapy is not only about resolving problems. It is also a place to evaluate your life and give recognition to the accomplishments you have that matter to you. This is the basis of self-esteem. Shame is often the biggest offender in blocking us from seeing our strengths and having self-esteem. Therapy can help one look at messages received that result in shame and replace those self messages with self truths. The following passage by Melody Beattie, helps put shame in perspective.
Shame can be a powerful force in our life. It is the trademark of dysfunctional families. Authentic, legitimate guild is the feeling or thought that what we did is not okay. It indicates that our behavior needs to be corrected or altered, or an amend needs to be made.
Shame is an overwhelming negative sense that who we are isn’t okay. Shame is a no-win situation. We can change our behaviors, but we can’t change who we are. Shame can propel us deeper into self-defeating and sometimes self-destructive behaviors.
What are the things that can cause us to feel shame? W may feel ashamed when we have a problem or someone we love has a problem. We may feel ashamed for making mistakes or for succeeding. We may feel ashamed about certain feelings or thoughts. We may feel ashamed when we have fun, feel good, or are vulnerable enough to show ourselves to others. Some of us feel ashamed just for being.
Shame is a spell others put on us to control us, to keep us playing our part in dysfunctional systems. It is a spell many of us have learned to put on ourselves. Learning to reject shame can change the quality of our life. It’s okay to be who we are. We are good enough. Our feelings are okay. Our past is okay. It’s okay to have problems, make mistakes, and struggle to find our path. It’s okay to be human and cherish our humanness. Accepting ourselves is the first step toward recovery. Letting go of shame about who we are in the next important step.