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How can I move on from shame?

How can I move on from shame?

Although feeling shame is common, it’s important to move on from it.

Things that can help you do this include:

  • positive self-talk – this means having a positive voice in your head that always looks at the bigger picture, and notices chances for things to go well. It tells you what’s good about yourself and reminds you of the good things in your life.
  • listening to people who care about you, who can see you as the person you are and look beyond any mistakes you’ve made
  • remembering that you’re more than your mistakes
  • doing things that help you feel better about yourself
  • using feelings of guilt to motivate you to make changes

It’s really important to look after yourself, even if you feel shame and think you don’t deserve to feel better.
Try to make sure you:

  • take regular exercise
  • get enough sleep
  • eat well
  • keep up good routines like going to school, college or work
  • talk to other people

Other things that can help you to move on from shame include:

  • helping others
  • doing kind things
  • being creative
  • doing things you enjoy
  • setting small goals you know you can achieve

When you’re in a difficult situation, it can help to remind yourself of your strengths and good qualities.

Take time to write a list of some of the best things about you. Think about what you’re good at, and how these things can help you move forward.

Also, think about how the people who care about you would describe you.

Remember, even though you may have made a mistake or behaved in a way that has got you into trouble, there are lots of positive things that make you who you are. You might be a sibling, a friend, a partner – someone who is cared for and valued by lots of different people.

You owe it to yourself, and the people who love you, to move forward in a positive way.

Sometimes, it can be helpful to think about what thoughts, feelings and behaviours you want to leave behind, and which you want to take forwards.

When we’re thinking about this, we sometimes use the terms:

  • old me
  • always me
  • new me

Old me

The thoughts, feeling and actions that I regret, that have been unhelpful for me and that I want to leave in the past (e.g. linked to mistakes I’ve made)

Always me

The positive qualities, characteristics and skills that come naturally to me. Maybe I’m… kind, creative, sporty and funny. I’ve always been like this, and always will be… and why wouldn’t I want to be? They’re great things to be!

New me

The qualities I want to show more of, new ways of doing things that I’m practicing. These might be opposites to the thoughts, feelings and actions that the “old me” had.

Are you struggling?

Our advisors can give you support and advice, and you don’t have to say who you are.

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