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Shame…such a hard place to be, yet so many of us live in a constant state of feeling shame.  I see people who are dealing with this emotion all the time in my office.  Shame fosters anxiety, depression, and it keeps people separate.  When we feel shame we are not as connected as we want and need to be.  I have yet to meet someone who didn’t long for connection, so this is a problem.  We try to hide the parts of ourselves we feel are too ugly or will make us unlovable.  Try to think of something that you have felt shame about.  You probably didn’t shout about it from any roof tops! Kids, teens, and adults can all bath in their shame.

The thing is, the more we hide in shame the less opportunity there is for healing.  It is difficult to heal that which deny even exists.  Over the years, I have repeatedly heard stories of shame from people of all ages.  Often times it takes time and courage for people to share their stories, but when they do it is like a weight is lifted.  They often check in with me, fearful that they will be rejected. They want to know if they are really as bad as they fear.  In therapy, this is often a turning point in our work together.  When someone feels you value them the same after they share their shame, healing can begin to happen.  It is amazing.  It is at this point in therapy we can get some great work done that shifts their lives.

The thing is, we can do this for each other each day.  We can be brave about all of who we are.  We can learn to listen in love and without judgement.  If you are interested in learning more about shame, I have a recommendation for you:)  Dr. Brene Brown is a social worker who has spent her life researching vulnerability and shame.  She led two Ted Talks, the first of which went viral.  If interested, you should check them out on YouTube.  Brene is an entertaining speaker with a great message.  She also has some books which are worth reading!

Reach out if you are working through shame and need support.  If you don’t have someone you feel safe being vulnerable with your shame, you can reach our to a counselor.

Written by Dr. Steffanie Stecker

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