Helping Teens Be Kind to Themselves

Shame is seen as a dark emotion, much like grief and anger. It makes you feel inferior, unworthy and not good enough. The society we live in is a pressure cooker for breeding shame in our youth.

Brené Brown’s work shows shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, eating disorders, violence, suicide, bullying and aggression. It shows itself when we close off from others and distance ourselves through a sense of not belonging.

Have you ever taken the time to think about the definition of shame? Perhaps you thought that being ashamed is the feeling when you do something dishonorable, disgraceful, or immoral? Shame self-talk is the feeling “I am bad” (as opposed to guilt which is “I’ve done something bad”), “I am not good enough” and “who would want me?”. 

Here is the revelation that we need to teach our kids: Shame is rooted in our innate desire to be loved. It’s a pretty innocent emotion and unites us all in the common desire to be liked and accepted. Shame is rooted in the belief that something is wrong with us, making us unlovable or flawed such that we cannot be accepted by others. 


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