Newsletter | August 2019

Responsibility & Shame

Responsibility & Shame

Take responsibility for the future without the shame of the past.

When we become angry - especially if we're embroiled in an argument when it happens - we can say things we wouldn't ordinarily say and we can act without compassion.

At times our rage can be so pronounced that we can forget the things we've said no matter how hurtful they may have been.

But what do we do when we remember or when we are forced to confront our behaviour?

Is shame helpful? Or does it prevent us from getting help and/or seizing the responsibility for working on ourselves?

Is shame harmful? Does it protect us from discovery as we hide away to eat too much and then regurgitate/over exercise/use laxatives (bulimia)?

If you are feeling shame, the most important thing to remember, is that you have in some small way been successful in perceiving that your past behaviour does not represent the best version of yourself. Most people find this extremely hard if not impossible. And - whether or not shame is close on its heels or feels like part of your new perspective - you must congratulate and thank yourself for the realisation that you aren't entirely comfortable with your behaviour.

But how do you stop this shame from making you hide away? How do you meet your shame head on?

My father always used to say guilt is a wasted emotion. In a sense he was right. If you knew it was wrong then why did you do it in the first place. But shame is defined as, 'the humiliating feeling of having appeared unfavourably in one's own eyes, or those of others, by having failed, offended, or been made to appear foolish.'

Shame is not guilt. Not yet, at least.

Use the resilience you have gained from your commitment to daily mindfulness practice. Reframe shame as part of a spring board for your new beginning. Yes, shame is a sign you have reached a low point, but also shame is your turning point. You have recognised something about yourself. And so it is a marker from which you step forward with an important new piece of knowledge.


Close your eyes. Breath. Remember your behaviour. Be grateful for your mindful perspective. Embrace your shame. Embrace its meaning and its teaching. And move one step closer to knowing yourself more truly than before.