Trust me, there isn't a single person on earth who hasn't gone through the experience of shame in their life, whether in a one-time instance or as a constant companion.
We have all felt embarrassed about something in our lives and have done our best to deal with it either by hiding or compensating for it. Reading myriads of self-help books which ultimately lead us to raise up our arms in self-defeat.
But tackling shame head-on is a difficult and often fruitless task. Why so? At the end of the day, you have to be proud of yourself for who you are. You'll never flourish by over-analyzing your flaws and mistakes. And most definitely not by trying to cater to society's superficial whims and expectations.
So what is the right way to overcome it? Let us look no further than what famed life coach Tony Robbins has to say on this.
In an interview with Marlo Thomas, when asked about tips on overcoming shame, here's what Robbins had to say:
"The best way to deal with shame is to find what you are most proud of. You will never be able to deal with shame. You have to overwhelm it with good. Every day in your life, you get news which scares you. It jars you. You have to find the ability to snap the good. You have to flood yourself with the good. Think, what am I most proud of in my life? What am I grateful for?
You have to literally think of three to four such instances which you are proud and grateful for. Maybe something you were proud of as a kid, maybe something today, it does not matter. By doing this, you will cause what's known as an emotional flood -- a flood of things you are proud and grateful for. This will overwhelm the feeling of shame. But it won't disappear if you are analyzing it. So look for the good, and stack it."
Create a flood of positivity.
Stack the good, and create an emotional flood of positivity. This way, you are not dealing with shame head-on, or catering to modify or amputate it in any way (which only amplifies the shame further.) Instead, you are completely drowning it with the flood of goodness around you.
You're actually flooding it with the exact antithesis of shame: pride. Keep that pride in your back pocket to dose out when necessary. The shame will dissipate.
So you don't think you have many things to be proud about? Look for other famous people in history who had to overcome various physical, financial and characteristic disabilities and became famous in their own right. Channel their inspiration and drive. You will instantly feel you are part of this great community. The league of incredible people who surmounted the prying eyes of society and achieved the impossible.
According to Tricia Brouk, the Founder of The Big Talk NYC and a TEDx Producer, shame can hurt more than your self-image:
"An injury to one's self-respect can create an avalanche of destruction. When we feel shame, embarrassment or humiliation it's very easy to close off, run away and detach. This choice prolongs the experience of the feelings and guarantees a separation from self and others. Shame won't go away until we choose forgiveness. When we actively forgive ourselves for the actions or behaviors that causes us to feel shame, we can then begin to move through the feelings and let them go."
Have self confidence.
And last of all, remember: being proud of your achievements is not pompous. Self-confidence is a natural human characteristic that helps us move past failure.
By following Robbins' simple piece of advice, you will find yourself moving past shame and onto bigger and better things.
After all, it's your right.
**Abhik Shome contributed to this article.