I remember accidentally hitting myself in the mouth with a medicine ball while at the gym- I was so in “the zone,” I didn’t stop to think that it would bounce when I slammed it down. My first reaction was to look around to see if anyone noticed ! Then I grabbed my workout towel, pressed it to my mouth to hide the blood and walked briskly to the bathroom.
Between cutting my workout short, heading to urgent care, and letting my boss know that I had “an accident” and could not come into work, I had a wave of multiple thoughts and emotions. In addition to worry/fear, I had a strong sense of shame for making a silly workout mistake and injuring myself as a “grown woman.”
“Shame is an emotion in response to a negative evaluation of one’s self” as opposed to evaluation of behavior. Repeated shame experiences can influence one to have a shame-prone identity. The shame prone individual may view incidents according to how worthless they are, how bad they are, how unlovable, how incapable of loving and giving to others. Ideas for self healing include .. 1) mistakes are learning opportunities; 2) experience and express your feelings; 3) be accountable and responsible for oneself and for one’s roles in family and other relationships; 4) value yourself for talents and abilities; 5) use positive affirmations in relationship to self and others; 6) being intimate and dependent in healthy ways; 7) know that shame and guilt are teachers in one’s life, rather than a way of life; 8) being able to ask for and accept support from others and to give support to others; 9) practicing and growing, but rarely reaching perfection; 10) being at peace with one’s spirituality, with its unique meaning and influence; 11) loving self and others, and accepting love. (Harper and Hoopes, 1990 Uncovering Shame)
- Which of the ideas for self-healing above speak most to you?
- What supportive comments/actions have others taken that have healed your moments of shame?
<3 Be well !
All blog posts from Dr. Soo Hoo are provided for educational and informational purposes only. As Dr. Soo Hoo is a licensed clinical and health psychologist, we must make it clear that nothing on the blog is intended to constitute medical or psychological advice, consultation, recommendation, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are concerned about your health, please seek appropriate care in your area.