E M O T I O N S:
Do you feel terrible about something that happened to you? Or something
you saw? Or something you did? Do you feel responsible for whatever it
was, even though it wasn't your fault? Are you so upset that even though
this thing happened a while ago you can't stop thinking about it? Are you
too ashamed and humiliated to want to tell anyone? Are you hating yourself
because of it?
Shame is a complete loss of self-respect (or the respect of others) and
it's much more intense and longer lasting than guilt
(which is usually connected with something you think you should or shouldn't
be doing rather than something terrible that happened). Sometimes, because
of their shame, people never tell anyone how they're feeling and get "stuck"
in a deep dark funk. They're convinced if anyone knew about it, no one would
want anything to do with them.
What Can You Do?
No matter how "bad" the thing you have done or witnessed may
seem, there is always something you can do about it to get "unstuck"
and feel better.
- Start forgiving yourself. Figure out what really happened and
what was your part in it. Ask yourself these questions:
- Did you deliberately do something you now regret?
- Was it an accident?
- Were you forced into something?
- Did you act out of anger or to get back at someone?
- If you don't think you were angry at the person, is it possible
you have negative feelings (anger, jealousy, resentment) that you haven't
admitted to yourself?
- Did you do something out of curiosity, just to see what would happen?
- Did you do something to someone that you yourself had experienced
(some other time) and knew how awful it felt, but did it to them anyway?
- Do you need to take care of any "unfinished business"
(This can be done by writing a letter or directly talking
to the person/people.)
If you can't seem to get unstuck on your own, get some help with this
one! Find a counselor or teacher to talk to! Otherwise, these feelings of
shame can turn into depression, aggression or show up in other kinds of self-destructive
behaviors (including drug
abuse and eating disorders).
If you need more specific help,
write to Hey Terra!