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.

  • Get the feelings out!

      OR (if that's too scary)

  • Write about it in your journal.

    (Don't have a journal? Any piece of paper will work.)

    How did that feel to let someone else know your "secret" or to have written it down and admitted it on paper?

Next Step:

  • 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" with someone?

(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!


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