The Secret Power of Shame

Hi Friends 🙂

As you read this I am already at a blogger meetup with Kate! I am so excited to meet her! I’ll have pictures and details tomorrow.

Saturday was a pretty productive day. Jason and I slept in and even took a nap later in the day. OK that doesn’t sound productive, but it was! Rest is so important and I take what I can get! I also worked a bit on my September goals too. I organized the stuff still in the garage:

I know it looks like a lot, but the furniture on the right is being sold this week to a Craigslist buyer, and the middle stuff is all being donated. Plus Jason’s uncle is buying our old washer and dryer. We’ll be parking in the garage again in no time! Do you get these cards in the mail?

The Vietnam Veterans of America are having a “donation day” next week where they will pick up all your stuff. They then sell those goods to private companies. The funds they raise cover half of their annual needs! It feels good to get rid of the stuff and it feels good to support this organization.

I also got some reading done:

I have about 100 pages left and I will be able to finish it within the next few days. The last chapter I read was very interesting:

Part of the chapter discusses the difference between shame and guilt. They sometimes seem like the same thing. The author explains that “guilt is about DOING and shame is about BEING”. You feel guilt for something you have done: hitting a parked car, taking the last treat, being mean to your spouse, etc. But shame is so much deeper than that.

Without sounding too depressed on here, I have to be honest and say I do feel shame. I usually feel ashamed of myself in social situations and sometimes at work. I want to be the best, I want to be perfect and I want to look good in front of others. I know that sounds shallow. It’s not that I want to be better than anyone else, I just want to be the best I can be. I set ridiculous expectations on myself and by doing so I am setting myself up for failure. When I feel like I “failed”, then I feel ashamed of myself.

I think my introvertism and my shyness definitely play a role in that as well. I want to be social and interact with others and make new friends and be confident at work. I want those things. But, I struggle with feeling comfortable acting that way and feel ashamed that I am “not able”. I feel as though I am not good enough and that I shouldn’t even bother trying. It keeps me hidden.

But I’ve gotten better. I’m trying more. I’m saying what is on my mind. I’m taking care of myself more: on the outside and the inside.  When I look good I FEEL good. To be honest this blog has helped me a lot. I read the comments on here and I realize that I DO know what I’m talking about and I do have valuable things to say. I just need to gain the confidence to act this way in real life! I think that by becoming more confident in myself can I overcome this shame.

There is an example of a woman named Paula who felt ashamed of her son, who had accidentally burnt down a small building. Paula eventually worked to overcome her shame:

“Paula cut her shame down to size. She forced herself to show up. She practiced talking to others with a dignity she did not feel at first. She acted as thought she had nothing to be ashamed of, and in the process of pretending, she moved closer to believing this truth.”

To me that advice is “fake it til you make it”, right?


  1. Do you or have you experienced shame? I understand if you don’t want to explain why, I had a hard time publishing this post. It is hard for me to admit what I am trying to change within myself.
  2. On a sunnier note, what are your plans for this fine Sunday? I am meeting with Kate for breakfast, then I am going to church (Sept goal!) and taking the rest of the day to clean up the house, go grocery shopping and maybe do a bit of baking.
  3. Tell me about the book you are currently reading. What do you like about it? Would you recommend it? Do you like to read self-help books like the one I am reading? Or do you think they are a bunch of nonsense?
  4. Do you like to donate old things? Or do you try to sell them? Throw them away? I usually like to bring a box/bag of clothes every couple of months to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. This VVA pickup is pretty sweet, since I don’t need to load up my car or drive to the nearest drop off location. Super easy!

Enjoy your day!


16 Responses to “The Secret Power of Shame”

  1. Myra Says:

    Hey, that big bundle of fake pink flowers – you gave those to me and somehow you ended up with them… I want them back! Can you hang onto them? For real I want them.
    If you don’t want to have them cluttering your house that’s fine too. But finally I have a use for fake flowers and they aren’t cheap!…So I would love to have them.
    Wu is koo.

  2. Michelle @ Chasing Ambulances Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I like self-help books. Learning about yourself is so important. I don’t think they are cheesy at all.

  3. Anne@ Food Loving Polar Bear Says:

    When I last moved I donated a ton of stuff, it’s great that there is a place where to bring them instead of throwing stuff away.

    I read a lot of books, but very rarely any self help books.. I’ currently readint Torey Hayden’s The Sunflower Forest which is a GREAT book. I recommend 🙂

  4. Joanne @ mostlyfitmom Says:

    Yes, I have felt shame before, and for some reason it just sticks with you, doesn’t it?

    Good job with the garage organization! It’s almost totally emptied out. 🙂

    Today, I’m heading home from visiting my sister, watching my son’s first soccer practice, doing some lab work for school tomorrow, and studying for a couple of quizzes this weekend.

  5. Maria @ Oh Healthy Day Says:

    I think recognizing your shame is the first step of overcoming it, right? I think baby steps (i.e. What About Bob!) and do one thing a day that helps you build your confidence at work. Bring a up a new idea, reward yourself for a success instead of focusing on failures. Tell yourself you are worthy.

    We all believe in you!

  6. Tina Says:

    I can’t think of any specific ways I feel shame. I guess guilt is my bigger problem.

    And I think you are doing excellent things to overcome some of those negative things you may feel. Being open about them here testified to that. And other things you have mentioned to me prove to me how much you are growing and caring for yourself. You’re doing great!

  7. Mary @ Bites and Bliss Says:

    Your garage is almost empty! That’s awesome 🙂 I donate unless I know whatever it is may be worth a lot of money..then I have to try to sell it. Any extra cash helps when your in college 😛

  8. Amykinz Says:

    I just wanted to commend you for sharing your honesty and being so public about it. This shows authenticity and realness and inspires others to do the same. I think our society needs more of this.

    On this fine Sunday, I am doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! My weeks seem to be so stinkin busy from wakeup to bedtime, so I like relaxing with no agenda on the weekends, when possible.

    I am currently reading Wicked and I can’t stand it! I saw the play last weekend and it’s SO different from the book, which was good, but threw me for a loop, a little. Anyway, I’m almost done w/the horrid book & I can’t wait until I am. I made a rule that I have to finish a book before I can start a new one, so I’m sticking to that. I do love self-help books, but I’ve found that I have to mix in some fun books, too, or it just gets to be too much for me!

    I have a garage full of things to get rid of, too. I always say I’m going to have a garage sale, but end up donating them to Goodwill instead, cause I just don’t want to deal w/the headache of a garage sale. lol.

  9. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) Says:

    I was just getting over here to read this when a comment from you popped in, thanks my friend 🙂

    Ok soooo happy for you w/ the garage progress! And yes, we have AmVets curbside pickup. Saves hella lotta time and energy. And in my ‘hood, I can just put the stuff on the curb the night before and by morning, half of it has “walked off” anyway 🙂

    So excited to hear about your meetup!!!!!

    And shame and guilt. Ok I totally applaud you for being so honest, so true and fresh and forthcoming. The ironic thing is the way you describe yourself in this post, that you are not a bold person in social settings, it’s just so ironic and interesting to me b/c that’s not the Holly i see when i read your blog. I see a totally confident person! Maybe just harness your Blogger Holly into your Real Life Holly cuz I know if you do that, youll be kicking some ass socially speaking 🙂 In the best possible way of course!

  10. Alyssa Says:

    Great job on your goals, Holly! Hope your meet up went well!

  11. Ellen@FirednFabulous Says:

    Sounds like an interesting book. I don’t really know if I feel shame often. I am hard on myself, particularly my body, often. I’m definitely trying to work on it because it’s just wasted energy. The next book on my list is The Girl That Plays With Fire! Cannot WAIT to start it!

  12. eatmovelove Says:

    I agree with Holly. I see as a strong, confident woman as well. But that’s what makes you so REAL to me. Because I too struggle with so many of the same issues…but perhaps even deeper.

    I wrote about Guilt today too. Albeit in a different facet. I’ve reviewed a couple of self-help books on my site, etc. There’s always something I GET from them…it’s the DOING it and believing it and practicing it that I don’t follow through on…choosing instead to stay in my state of depression?…because it’s easier…less fear of failure…

    I was wondering if your friends, family and co-workers know about your blog – since you discuss these things about yourself.?? I think it’s great.

    For me, I don’t let them know, for fear of people thinking I’m some crazed Nut. …and they’re probably right…

  13. Shanna, like Banana Says:

    Hmm, I’ve never thought about guilt and shame being differentiated, but it makes sense. What I’ve been thinking was guilt was really shame..or IS, I should say. I definitely beat myself up about everything under the sun.

    Methinks I could benefit from this book!

  14. New Friends & New Veggies | The Couch Potato Athlete Says:

    […] Blogroll ← The Secret Power of Shame […]

  15. Holly @ Self-love and Running Says:

    I do feel ashamed of myself sometimes. For many of the same reasons as you. I have these high expectations of myself and when I fail to achieve them I feel flawed and ashamed. I have been working on diminishing these feelings by talking things out with myself and rationally thinking about what I am feeling and why but it’s a struggle. Shame is something that is very hard to get over.

    The husband and I do tend to donate, particularly clothing.

  16. The Fear of the Mirror | The Couch Potato Athlete Says:

    […] hope you aren’t all tired of hearing about this book. You can read my other post *here* This book really has given me tools to use when I am feeling anxious, and it also explains anxiety […]

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