Self-Helpapedia

Powerful techniques to optimize your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors

Tips on Shame and Embarassment

Shame and embarrassment are when we negatively judge and label ourselves for doing what we deem silly, weird, or stupid.
Like with anxiety, shame and embarrassment are overcome through exposing ourselves to them until they desensitize.  Here we do shameful and embarrassing activities over and over until the emotional impact is flattened.  This repetition of shameful and embarrassing activities can be accomplished with an exposure technique called "The Shame Attacking Exercise" used by REBT therapists since the sixties.  Typical shame attacking exercises are performing so-called silly and weird actions in public until they hold no emotional charge.  Examples: Pulling a string attached to a shoe box, marked dog, around a crowded park or standing up by an exit and calling out all the stops on a public bus or train.

Other approaches to tackling shame and embarrassment involve:

*Challenging and changing shame and embarrassment creating rules and assumptions as well as negative self-labeling will disconnect us from shame and embarrassment. 

*Using self-acceptance and creating humor about shameful and embarrassing moments lessens their impact.

*Doing memory reviews of the details of shameful and embarrassing moments with an Emo Reviewer can desensitize them. Recall your most embarrassing moments.

*Using the I Stood it Exercise on any Low Frustration Tolerance encountered during facing shameful and embarrassing  moments will speed the way to closure on this common human problem.

Working with shame and embarrassment is often a difficult task due to two basic reasons.  (1) Some folks generate a lot of low frustration tolerance or "I can't stand it-itis" about doing things they consider shameful or embarrassing. (2) Some people have a challenge believing something is other than shameful. Until they believe differently, they simply won't have much motivation to overcome their shame and embarrassment.

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