23 Ways to Mess With Shame (Instead of It Messing With You)

Deconstructing Shame

Try one, some, or all—anytime, anywhere.

  1. Take deep breaths
  2. Journal 
  3. Draw pictures of the shame
  4. Ask it: “Do you really belong to me…or someone else?”
  5. Deconstruct it, diagram in, pull it apart and really examine it
  6. Ask yourself “Why is this shame tormenting me now?”…and…again…”Is it really mine?”
  7. Dialogue with it. Have a convo. 
  8. Write it a note. Tell it to write back. Assess (again): Is this really my shame? Really?
  9. Look for patterns regarding when the ick feelings come up
  10. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, or anyone to you. It never helps and, actually, keeps shame roaring in the long time
  11. Distance from the trigger that causes you to feel ashamed—person, place or thing
  12. Pray or put it in a God Box or the like. See what it looks like tomorrow
  13. Meditate
  14. Make art. Using your hands can often bring clarity to the surface without thinking so hard or having to figure something out (like why do I feel shame now?)
  15. Write a story about it
  16. Make shame a character in your story, poem or art
  17. See shame as separate from you
  18. Ask yourself if you feel guilty for something you actually did that hurt someone versus someone else having done something and surreptitiously dumping it off onto you via words, actions, anger, indirect communication, [add to the list]—and see my ebooks about recovery from a narcissistic relationship
  19. Tell it to leave
  20. Get to know its tricks
  21. Understand it doesn’t define you
  22. Listen beneath it
  23. Ask (again): “Is it r e a l l y mine?” [Often it’s not.]

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

About the author 

Meredith Resnick

A licensed clinical social worker, Meredith is a member of the International Association for Journal Writing, the C.J. Jung Club of Orange County, California, and an associate member of the Trauma Research Foundation. She has a special interest in healing through the expressive arts.

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