Shame is a destructive emotion that makes us feel defective. If we allow it, shame can have a toxic effect on our well-being. But can shame be positive? Really, shame is one part of how humans are wired. Shame can act as an early inner alarm system, informing ourselves that we are about to hurt someone. It is helpful for individuals to be able to differentiate between toxic and healthy shame. By knowing what type of shame we are experiencing, we can work toward reducing our shame. Identifying our shame also helps us understand how we are affecting others.
- Shame is one of the most destructive emotions.
- Individuals who freely shame and hurt others are usually people who are driven by an unconscious shame.
- A positive aspect of shame is that it tells us when we’ve hurt someone, when we’ve crossed a boundary that violates a person’s dignity.
“As the years pass, one’s defenses and personality structure may become so hardened that it becomes difficult to access the primary emotions that have been guarded against for so long.”