Freedom From Shame

Freedom From Shame

There is a huge difference between guilt and shame. Guilt comes from knowing you have done something you should not have, acknowledging it, taking accountability and changing the behavior. Guilt is not bad; it leads to growth and change.

Shame, on the other hand, keeps your teen stuck in an endless cycle of self-condemnation, which leads to anxiety which leads to repetition of the behavior, self-hatred, anxiety… and on and on. Shame involves the inability to forgive oneself, to see oneself as they imagine others see them, to feel everyone is constantly judging them harshly and to feel humiliated to the point that your teen wants to hide from everyone, including their own family.

Freedom from shame comes with understanding the difference, identifying the incident that caused those feelings, mapping out the thought processes that lead to the extreme conclusions and distortions that arose as a result, and replacing them with a wise mind. Recovering from shame involves mastering a number of DBT skills: distress tolerance skills such as self- soothing, radical acceptance skills, as such accepting that the past cannot be changed but we can control how we react to it. It also involves learning to listen to the Wise mind: this is the balance between the emotion mind and the reason mind. With the Wise mind we are able to feel our emotions and to focus on the facts. The Wise Mind enables your teen to take care of themselves and to act effectively. Ultimately it can guide them out of the pit of self-condemnation and shame.

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