Shame comes up a lot in my work. In a good way (kind of). Much of what I do is supporting men to look at the shame they’ve spent so much energy hiding away. From people they care about, sure, but also themselves, but we often don’t think about just how much shame limits us.
It sucks, shame does. It feels horrible and it’s hard to find anything redeeming about it although I try to find some respect for all feelings (it’s my job.)
I like to separate shame and guilt. I’m ok with guilt. Guilt, if not overwhelming, can be a great part of our conscience making sure we stay on the path that is true to us. And guilt is feeling a negative way because of something we did. Shame is feeling that there is something inherently wrong with who we are and no good comes of that.
Shame lies to us. Shame robs us of friends, of partners, of promotions, sometimes.
In an essay for the Good Men Project, I write more about how shame stifles us.. While we end up censoring and editing ourselves lest the world see how vulnerable we are, we also rob ourselves and the world of something powerful.
Please take a read on How Shame Limits Us and let me know what you think. If shame is slowly robbing you of the life you want to live, get in touch with me and we’ll set up a free phone consultation to see if I can be helpful to you in moving through that shame.
Justin Lioi, LCSW is a men’s mental health and relationship expert. He is a Brooklyn therapist (as well as also seeing clients online throughout New York State and internationally.) He received his degree from New York University and has been working with men and their families for over 10 years. Justin is on the Board of the National Association of Social Workers and writes a weekly column for the Good Men Project called Unmasking Masculinity. He can be found on local and national podcasts talking about assertiveness, anger, self-compassion, all with the goal of becoming the man you want to be.