Soothing Shame with Compassion: A Personal Exploration

We all have moments when we’re trapped in the shadows of self-criticism and shame. But what if we can find a way to soothe these feelings with compassion and connection? I invite you on a journey where I share my insights and experience in dealing with this profound human emotion called shame.

Understanding Shame: A Hidden Emotion

Shame is that cringe-worthy, ‘hiding behind a pillow’ emotion we often fear to discuss. It’s linked to our fear of being judged by others. Shame means having a felt sense of what OTHER people have as an image of us, and fearing that they will judge us negatively for who we are. It is a universal emotion and is often linked to our deepest fears as human beings.

Shame vs. Guilt: Knowing the Difference

Understanding the difference between shame and guilt is vital. While guilt says “I DID something bad,” shame insists “I AM bad.” Guilt may lead you towards repairing a relationship after a mistake, but shame often moves you into avoidance, hiding away from what you did.


Personal Reflection: Vulnerability Feeds Connection

I was vulnerable in my previous Pause Purpose Play podcast episode, sharing a part of my journey of realising I have ADHD. Vulnerability can be tough, but it feeds connection. Guided by my knowledge about shame, I understand that shame is often about ‘sitting negatively in the minds of others’, as coined by the founder of Compassion Focused Therapy, Paul Gilbert. Through sharing the things which you feel shame about, you can feel liberated, like a load has been lifted off your shoulders.


The Antidote to Shame: Compassion and Connection

I’ve discovered that the antidote to shame is compassion and connection. When you shine a light on shame, the darkness dissipates. By facing it with compassion, you meet it with a tender “It’s not your fault.” Soothing shame with compassion can lessen its power over you.


A Small Task for You: Share a Vulnerable Fact

Choose a vulnerable fact about yourself and share it with someone you trust. Note down what you fear might happen and evaluate their reaction. Celebrate having been brave, and notice how it may deepen your relationship. This simple act can be empowering.


Building a Community: Connection Over Perfection

I aim to foster a community where we share our humanness and aim for connection, not perfection. My group offerings, from the Pause Purpose Play mini mastermind to my transformative group coaching Burn Bright, are platforms where the women I bring together have a safe space to support each other.

Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] to join me on this journey. You can also book a clarity call with me or watch the free masterclass on How to Burn Bright without Burning Out.

Shame need not define you as a human being. Whether it’s a massive, humiliating memory or little embarrassment, you can face and soothe it with compassion. Embrace the imperfection, and allow yourself to be your whole human self, mess and all!