What Is Healthy Shame?

Shame can help us move forward for three simple reasons: 1- It clarifies our morals and values. 2- It helps us make amends. 3- It spurs us into action. It is important to understand the differences between healthy and dysfunctional shame

Kenny Weiss
Kenny Weiss

When someone begins to heal from their codependency and trauma, they are bound to feel moments of shame. Whether that’s about past behavior or past experiences, most people will view shame negatively. However, there is dysfunctional shame, which impedes progress, and healthy shame, which helps us. So today, I am going to be talking about how shame can be beneficial.

Shame can help us move forward for three simple reasons:

1- It clarifies our morals and values.

2- It helps us make amends.

3- It spurs us into action.

It is essential to understand the differences between healthy and dysfunctional shame to move forward feeling empowered.

How healthy shame clarifies our morals and values

When we find ourselves feeling shame after acting in a certain way, we’re telling ourselves what we value and what we see as moral. That sense of shame we feel for going against our morals and values helps us reconnect with our authentic selves.

When we can clarify our morals and values through healthy shame, we can think of and act on plans to rectify that feeling so that it doesn’t happen again. Without healthy shame, we wouldn’t be able to see things this clearly.

How healthy shame helps us make amends

Shame triggers empathy. It helps us recognize how our imperfections affect others as well as ourselves.

Everybody has imperfections – we’re all perfectly imperfect because we’re all human. Healthy shame provides us with an opportunity to accept this humanity and the imperfections that come along with it and act on this knowledge by making amends with ourselves or those that we have harmed.

Healthy shame provides us with a sense of forgiveness and love for ourselves. When we act imperfectly and make amends to whoever was impacted, we establish a favorable opinion of ourselves, turning that pain into self-respect, self-care, and self-love.


How healthy shame spurs us into action

When we do something against our defined morals and values, it can be hard to experience that shame as a positive. However, think about where you would be without it? Adverse action without shame leads to more negative action. With shame, we’re inspired to change and repair the relationships that may have been affected.

When experiencing healthy shame, we’re more likely to initiate a plan to fix the wrong that we are responsible for. As a result, we tend to double down on doing what we can to improve ourselves.

What to do when the shame comes back?

On your road to recovery, you are going to be faced with what is happily referred to as ‘shame burps.’ These are the moments you feel good about yourself and your recovery when a shameful memory suddenly accosts you. It only lasts a moment but can affect you with a full-body reaction and make you feel like you’re regressing. Most likely, you’re not.

These ‘shame burps’ are temporary. They are not an opportunity for you to re-victimize or belittle yourself. Instead, it’s in these moments that your self-respect, self-care, self-love, and acceptance of your perfect imperfections must come in. This is why the ‘shame burp’ is showing up; it’s an opportunity for you to realize that, yes, you’re imperfect, but now you need to forgive yourself.

When healthy shame turns dysfunctional

Re-victimizing yourself following a ‘shame burp’ is an easy way to allow the shame you feel to become dysfunctional. When you keep beating yourself up over past mistakes that you have already reconciled and moved on from, you keep the shame alive.

People often make the mistake of labeling themselves as humble for refusing to forgive themselves. However, we learn that we can be forgiven for our mistakes in almost all spiritual teachings, so why would we elevate ourselves into a God-like position to say that we cannot be forgiven? Doing this is grandiose, covertly arrogant, and incredibly destructive to our progress.

We are human, and we make mistakes. We can all be forgiven, and we all deserve forgiveness, but we need to start by forgiving ourselves.

Enjoy The Journey 🕺🏼

To learn more, watch the video here:

Self-Love