It’s not always easy to recognize our own shame.


Shame, by its very nature urges us to hide from others, and even from ourselves. Perhaps you experience this hiding in your own life.

Many people fear the thought of being exposed, or seen for who they really are, and that fear can be completely overwhelming.

Brené Brown, the author of Daring Greatly, says that “shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”

If that is true, then that means that shame loses power when it is shared; when what has loomed in the darkness is dragged into the light.

Some questions you might consider to evaluate whether shame is an issue in your own life:
1. Do I struggle with addictive behaviors? 

Shame is often dealt with through ineffective attempts at self-numbing or self-medicating.

2. Do I experience a general sense of not measuring up?

Feelings of inadequacy and low self esteem often accompany shame.

3. Do I struggle to connect deeply with others?

Shame can make it difficult to feel emotionally safe in relationships.

The thing that many have believed is that their shame defines them; it is, somehow, who they are, when in reality, shame has prevented them from seeing who they truly are.

I have sat with men who have believed that if they were to speak their shame, they might be overwhelmed to the point of death. I’ve heard the experience of speaking shame likened to the fear of drowning, and it is that very fear that has kept so many in hiding.

If this describes you, you need to know that you will not drown in shame. You can grow to see that you are more than your shame. The truth is that you can be free from toxic shame. You can come out of hiding and you will find your life, you won’t lose it.

Here is a link to a deeper explanation of shame that may be helpful to you:
You might also consider checking out Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly 
If you’re experiencing shame, I can help. Don’t let shame define you.
Matthew Hanlon

Matthew Hanlon

Men & Couples Therapist | MA, LMFT

I help men and their families, who are hurting, angry, and struggling to find their way through life’s challenges, to create real and lasting change.

Call for Free Consultation | (630) 397-1900

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