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  1. #1
    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    Default Why are people so ashamed of themselves?

    I don't get it, why do people feel ashamed of themselves, hate themselves or feel like they somehow need to do something to validate their existence? what is the psychological root of shame and feelings of worthlessness? they don't make any sense to me.
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  2. #2
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    although I don't feel ashamed of myself, or hate myself (anymore), I do feel the need to somehow validate my existence on this earth because I refuse to be just another human who came and went without being of at least some significance. My life, as short as it is, was given to me outside of my choosing, so therefore, I choose to make it have some external value, since I recognize that there are forces outside of me. The truth is I'm perfectly happy with the way I am. I could very easily just set up shack in the middle of nowhere and live out my days in relative happiness, provided I had a family (which wouldn't be too hard). However, I choose to go through the hardships, the struggle, because I recognize that it is necessary for me to do so if I want to live a life of significance, which is the only life worth living. This attitude can lead to feelings of seeming self hate, but in actuality it's more a feeling of frustration...which stem from a core truth. I love myself so much that I refuse to take the time to love myself.

    In short, I (and, possibly we) feel worthless because we know that we can, should, and must be useful, not just to ourselves, but our friends and families, and even perfect strangers (past, present and future). When we recognize we aren't being as useful as we could be, we go to the other extreme and become self loathing. And the big secret? For every minute of self loathing there is at least one of extreme self love. I'm not sure if people less self depreciating feel the extremes of self love that we do. We sacrifice contentedness for the lows and the highs, knowing that the highs are not only worth it, but necessary for growth in all senses of the word.

  3. #3
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    Interesting thread.
    I think it boils down to societal pressure as well as personal desire to be a "better" person.
    Hard to seperate the two though as one may be born from the other.
    I once read something interesting about the way we berate ourselves and there being a relation to the way we were talked to as children.
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  4. #4
    Probably Most Brilliant Craft's Avatar
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    It's largely environmental. Some people are raised in a very demanding environment where they're fed with singular views of 'what matters' or 'what is competent'. Without any other reference, these people accept what they hear. Aside from that, it has to do with the innate function of being critical.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GemPOPGem View Post
    I once read something interesting about the way we berate ourselves and there being a relation to the way we were talked to as children.
    Yes, I think this is it. As kids we are very self-centered. Everything around us is saying something about "us". If we interpret situations as "this is my fault", "my dad is drinking because i am not interesting enough for him to hang with me", etc... you end up with low self-esteem and feeling ashamed of yourself because "obviously" you're not good enough since nobody likes you/loves you.

    The only difference between high self-esteemed people and low self-esteemed people is that those with high made different conclusions in childhood than those with low. Someone can interpret alcoholic abusive father as "he is a jerk and he doesnt know what he is missing by ignoring me", or "he is ignoring me because i am bad"... and it will make the whole difference later in the life. Because the person who interpreted the 2nd thing, "i am bad", will NEVER fully question it, because he thinks that is what he SAW, in the situation, when his dad was abusive... he will maybe try to feel better about himself with achievements and approval, but only to cover up for "i am bad", but he will always (unless he goes to some excellent therapy or has really awesome circumstances later in life) think that..

    the person who just interpretted it as "my dad's an idiot", will not even understand why would someone think - ex. his brother - that he is bad.

  6. #6
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    The only times I am ever ashamed of myself is when I am ashamed of my actions. If I let a friend down, or make a really stupid mistake that I should have been able to avoid, I feel ashamed because I know not only that I should have done better but that I could have done so. I did not live up to my own expectations. I do my best to learn from the experience, so the shame doesn't stay long; it is more the initial reaction to failure.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    I need to validate my existence

    I am ashamed

  8. #8
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    For me, it's just thinking of my life objectively that makes me feel that way. I can really look at it one way or the other, but when you put it in perspective of the whole world, and even more-so, the whole entire universe. I'm really a nothingful nobody. I don't have a reason to believe that I'm important in any way. Sometimes I think of the world (or things larger than myself) like a human body. Bunch of cells communicating together- or doing their job. If a lot of them aren't functioning, the person is not really functioning, so all together they are important. But if I'm say, one brain cell, or one kidney cell and I die, it won't really matter. And hopefully another cell will come about to take my place. If all the kidney cells fail, we got a problem.

    So I don't really feel sad or worthless... I just feel like a cell- I'm only just as insignificant or as important as all the other cells in this tissue/ organ/ etc. (And the importance of each organ is relative, too...)
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  9. #9
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    To me, it makes no sense, NOT to want to validate one's existence. Who wants their life to be inherently meaningless?
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  10. #10

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    Worth is an inherently subjective thing. That can be confusing, initially, to someone believing only in objective truths. I think, part of my issues, stem from that.

    Other than for that, I was the smallest person in my class throughout most of my childhood. I was picked on a lot, and I never told my parents about it. I was very much a "do it yourself-er", I taught myself how to tie my shoes, ride a bike, etc. (and I still do these things, according to some in "weird" ways) I figured out how to get my bullies to stop too (Usually involved helping the bully out of a pinch without coercion). I guess, from that experience, I feel like if I am not useful to someone, I will get some abuse from them. It's irrational. I know.

    Also, I was praised for my performance in school often. So I took pride in doing well. Eventually, I got sent to a competitive "magnet" high school where I was no longer the top of my class. I still took pride in school, but my identity as the "smartest" was gone. That drive to be the best at something never went away. So my self-esteem got wrapped up in my performance at school or work.

    So, as an automatic response my self-worth is contingent on my performance at work/school and being useful. I know, intellectually, that worth is subjective, and that my self-worth need not be contingent on anything. But, that doesn't seem to be enough.

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