Shame Introduction

How do you live-down, out-live, un-live, or re-live your past?

Do you remember the story of a young 21-year-old White House intern who confessed: “After having made the worst mistake of my life, I was deeply, deeply ashamed. I had the belief that I was the worst version of myself, a self I didn’t even recognize. The public humiliation was excruciating. Life was almost unbearable. I felt like every layer of my skin and my identity were ripped off of me. It was a skinning of sorts. I felt incredibly raw and frightened. Shame stuck to me like tar. I never attempted suicide but I came very close.”

Shame became a part of her identity.

Do you battle with shame? I believe we all do in some form. Shame is the equalizer of the human race. It shows up in a number of ways:

  • Bullying
  • Withdrawing
  • Escaping
  • Hiding out
  • Isolation
  • People pleasing
  • Difficulty saying ‘no’
  • Perfectionism
  • Trying harder
  • Demeaning self-labeling: “I’m an idiot. I am so stupid.”
  • Rescuing
  • Being a victim
  • Being needy
  • Judging
  • Inability to give and/or receive praise
  • Being discontent
  • Aggression
  • Control
  • Addictions
  • Depression
  • Long or frequent periods of anxiety, anger, hurt
  • Feeling anxious, anger, hurt long after the offense
  • Violence
  • Suicide Ideation
  • Eating disorders
  • Using "shoulds", "if only", "oughts" in describing yourself. "I should  have known better." "If only I had known." "That ought to never have happened."

How many did you check off?

Over the next few weeks, I am going to try to uncover this topic of shame and try to answer a few questions.

  1. What is shame?
  2. Why are we so prone to feeling shame?
  3. What’s the difference between shame and guilt?
  4. How do we get rid of shame?

“I turned 40 last year, and it is time to stop tiptoeing around my past—time to take back my narrative. It's not just about me; anyone who suffers from shame needs to know one thing. You can survive it. It may not be painless, quick or easy. But you can insist on a different ending to your story.” –Monica Lewinsky


“Hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” –Romans 5:5