The experience of shame—a feeling of being unworthy, bad, or wrong—can be extremely uncomfortable. Shame has the potential to change the way we see ourselves and may lead to long-lasting social, professional, and sexual difficulties.
The word “shame” means different things to different people, though shame is different from guilt and embarrassment. Guilt is usually understood to involve negative feelings about an act one has committed, while embarrassment deals with a societal reaction. Shame, on the other hand, involves negative feelings about oneself, and although a person can be shamed by peers or society in general, shame can also be experienced secretly.
Unresolved shame can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Shame may also be a symptom of some mental health diagnoses, such as body dysmorphia, or the product of a traumatic experience, such as rape or sexual assault.
Living with shame, regardless of the shame’s source, can be a lonely and demoralizing experience. Therapy can help by addressing the underlying cause. When shame is due to a past misdeed, the right therapist can support a person to make amends or move on.
Read more at GoodTherapy.org