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  1. #31
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disregard View Post
    Shame is feeling like there is something wrong and unacceptable about yourself; guilt is feeling like there is something wrong and unacceptable about something you have done.
    ...
    This is a good definition of the difference between guilt and shame.

  2. #32
    Mamma said knock you out Mempy's Avatar
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    I agree with Jennifer, Blue, Disregard and Anja.

    On the path of self-improvement, when do you stop improving who you are and start disowning who you are? Because you can do both, but the second is self-destructive. The first is productive. But it's confusing knowing where to draw the line, I think.

    I think maybe the difference between improving oneself and disowning oneself lies in where you intend to get your self-worth from. I call shame a diminished sense of worth and value, but I think there's a baseline level of worth and value that we all deserve regardless of whatever flaws or shortcomings we have. This value or worth is unconditional and exists because we exist and because we are human beings; it has no other conditions. But I think that perfectionists and overly self-critical people chip away at this basic worth, and they come to believe that it is not and cannot be unconditional, that they have to earn it, or else they think that the worth that they deserve because they are human is an insignificant amount, a triviality. They don't realize how significant it is, or that it really is not contingent upon performance or attributes or approval. For me, it was hardest to realize that it was not contingent upon performance.

    I think that beyond this basic amount, there is a higher layer of worth that is conditional; I call this conditional worth self-esteem. It is THIS worth which should be affected when we do a wrong or do not perform well, but because it is a shallower and less paramount kind of worth, it does not break us to admit we have made a mistake or done a wrong; it does not kill us or make us lose our head. Knowing that on a basic level, we are unconditionally worthy helps us to accept our humanness but to also improve ourselves wholesomely and happily. When we believe we deserve a basic amount of unconditional worth, our best is good enough. When we do not believe are are unconditionally worthy, even our best isn't good enough, and it never can be.

    When I'm trying to improve something about myself or my performance or my behavior, it does not become a like-or-death issue, like it often did when I thought my basic worth was contingent upon conditions. I try to tell myself that I'm just doing my best, and that because I am doing my best I deserve self-esteem - which, again, is contingent upon certain choices we make. Our basic worth, though, is not. Sometimes it is very hard to believe that.

    I don't think you can or should have to earn your basic human worth, but I think you can and should earn a sense of efficacy and self-esteem. Confidence comes with knowledge, and if the knowledge is not earned, neither is the confidence. I don't have to prove myself to others, but to myself. And it is not worth I am proving, but that I am actually competent in something and can do it. It is my reputation with myself I am proving, not my worth. It is shallower and less important than my worth. My reputation with myself includes things like honesty, integrity, kindness, and things which I think help me like myself more. But I should always on a basic level like myself whatever my shortcomings, as Blue said.

    And as Jennifer said, I'm not trying to prove anything to others, though I easily fall into this mode of being even yet. I try not to prove that I'm funny, or smart, or articulate, or kind, or anything else. My worth does not come from how I come across to others, who gives me the time of day, or anything to do with how other people respond to me, positively or negatively. It does not come from how well I perform, and this, for me, is the key.

    Edit: And because it does not come from how well I perform, I can easily adopt a sort of attitude of gamesmanship with myself; I can lightheartedly challenge myself to impress myself or do well, without the fear that something so very precious is on the line if I fail. Because what is really precious does not have anything to do with how well I do or the results of my efforts.
    They're running just like you
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  3. #33
    no clinkz 'til brooklyn Nocapszy's Avatar
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    Edahn what happened here? You were ruminating and stumbled over shame as a cause for your problem so you want to hear other things about shame since it's not in your normal repertoire of thought?
    Or... what?
    we fukin won boys

  4. #34
    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    Not
    I am a flawed human being who sometimes does good things. Shame.
    But rather
    I am a good human who sometimes makes mistakes. Guilt.

    Guilt is repairable. Shame is a constant damaging state.

    I think Ivy has an understanding of this principle.

    Anyway it is not as simple as saying to yourself although that's part of the process. The climb out of a shame-based lifestyle is long and arduous and it starts there.

    The rest is action. Becoming the good person you want to be/know you are and lots of positive reinforcement from others. And learning to listen to your inner voice of shame, recognizing it for the lie it is and refuting it consistently.
    What Anja said. For me, it was also necessary to look at the origins of shame (ie childhood) and see exactly where it all came from. It feels true and breaking it down required looking at it objectively. I'm not sure I'm making much sense, I find it hard to put it into words.
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    This concept of shame is one of the reasons I use sarcastic humor sparingly. Surrounding myself with people who frequently use playful putdowns may be operating through defense of their own personal shame and it can trigger and reinforce the shame that I work to stay free from.

    Recognizing it? A sense of feeling "small." Yes. That's what it feels like. Little person. Insignificant, powerless, deserving of punishment. That's what my shame feels like.

    Sometimes it's accompanied by a feeling of warmth in my face.

    If I find myself experiencing that I remove myself from the situation. Time to regroup and be "grown-up" again.

    For years I didn't even know that's what I was experiencing when I'd suddenly feel trapped and helpless. Definitely am sensitive to it now and practice has helped me to quickly name it and avoid it.

    How serious is it? It's what fuels addiction and other self-destructive behaviors. That's how seriously I consider it. The root of self-loathing which leads to deterioration. We fall to its influence and we finish the job others have started.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  6. #36
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anja View Post
    ...
    How serious is it? It's what fuels addiction and other self-destructive behaviors. That's how seriously I consider it.
    You are quite right.
    The book I recommended earlier in the thread corroborates your statement.

    The root of self-loathing which leads to deterioration. We fall to its influence and we finish the job others have started.
    I do the same thing.
    Or at least I used to.
    I can't afford to go down that road any more.

  7. #37
    heart on fire
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    I think shame is valuable and has been hectored into disfavor by the "I'm okay, you're okay" wave of psychology. Shame used to keep people on the right path, but it's been eclipsed by the worship of the god of baseless self-esteem.
    I agree here. There's healthy and unhealthy shame. Shame in general should not be thrown out, only unhealthy shame. Unhealthy shame demands that a person be super human. Healthy shame recognizes when we have done wrong to others or ourselves and helps us know when to make amends and to avoid mistakes in the future.

  8. #38
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nocapszy View Post
    Edahn what happened here? You were ruminating and stumbled over shame as a cause for your problem so you want to hear other things about shame since it's not in your normal repertoire of thought?
    Or... what?
    I think shame is part of the reason I can't get perspective and reign in certain parts of my personality that I find difficult (social anxiety and isolation), and I wanted to get some ideas about how people tackle shame, or rather, work with it.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post
    You are quite right.
    The book I recommended earlier in the thread corroborates your statement.


    I do the same thing.
    Or at least I used to.
    I can't afford to go down that road any more.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  10. #40
    Scream down the boulevard LadyJaye's Avatar
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    I struggle with feeling profoundly ashamed of myself, not because I don't like the person I am, but because my surroundings don't reflect back to myself or others the sort of person I know I am on the inside. I link shame to things I can't control, things that people could use to hurt me in a vulnerable moment. I fear a lack of mercy and compassion in others.

    The only way I've found to keep shame from overtaking me is to give the situation to God and make the choice to let go of it. That prevents me from continuing to defend and exhaust myself.

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