Although it is possible for an emotion to enhance one’s life, it is also possible for an emotion to have the opposite effect. If one feels angry, it could be a sign that they have been violated, but if they always feel this way it shows that something isn’t right.
It could mean that one is stuck in the past or that they are in an environment that is not healthy, or both. One is no longer angry during the odd occasion – they are being defined by it.
If one was never angry it would be unhealthy, but to be angry all the time is not the answer either. Their whole life is then being consumed by anger and this is going to affect their ability to experience inner peace and it could end up pushing people away.
However, this is just one example of how an emotion can harm one’s life and this can be because they don’t allow themselves to experience it or because it has taken control of their life. Emotions are often labelled as being either ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and this can cause people to deny how they feel or to be controlled by their feelings.
When one is aware of how they feel, they will be able to use their feelings to guide them. The other option would be for one to ignore how they feel and get caught up in their head. This is not to say that one should let their feelings control them, what it means is that they shouldn’t ignore them either.
Just as one has the ability to think for a reason, they also have emotions for a reason. Yet in order for one to be in tune with their emotions and to use the information they are providing, one will need to feel comfortable with their emotions.
If this isn’t the case, one will be used to being controlled by their emotions or they may try to control their emotions. One then ends up feeling overwhelmed or they do all they can to disconnect from how they feel.
While someone could have a pattern of denying how they feel, they could also alternate between the two. How they feel and the environment they are in could play a part in what option they use.
One of the emotions that one might try to avoid is shame and this is because of the affect it has. Shame can be something that one experience’s on the odd occasion or it could be something that defines their whole life.
What this comes down to is the fact that there is healthy shame and toxic shame. Healthy shame will play a part in one having a conscience, toxic shame on the other hand can stop one from having a conscience.
Healthy shame is often said to be something one is born with, whereas toxic shame is usually the result of some kind of abuse. This could have been due to abuse in their adulthood but their childhood is often where it all began.
When one is able to experience healthy shame, they won’t feel below others and neither will they feel above them – they will simply feel human. This will enable them to stay humble and to respect other people’s boundaries. No matter what they achieve, they are still human like everyone else and so there is no reason for them to act ‘superior’.
If they were to violate another person’s personal space, they might feel guilty and then they would feel ashamed. Healthy shame also allows one to protect their modesty and stop them from being an exhibitionist.
It will also play a vital role in their success - as if one doesn’t put in enough effort or go after what they deserve, they will feel ‘bad’. Having an interest in other people is another consequence of healthy shame, without it, one can end up being self-absorbed
The Other Option
These are just a few examples of the role that healthy shame plays in one’s life and so when healthy shame has been turned into toxic shame, one can end up being shameless. There is the chance that one will end up feeling inferior and as though they are less-than human.
Here, one is likely to end up being walked over, put up with bad behaviour and feel completely worthless. They are flawed and there is nothing they can do about it – this is because toxic shame relates to ones whole being.
As a way to avoid feeling this way, one can end up disconnecting from their toxic shame. Through this, one will have a sense of control over how they feel and this could be described as the upside. The down side to this is that one will no longer experience shame and this is going to have a negative impact on their life.
There could still be moments where one ends up being consumed by toxic shame, but this might not take place very often. In today’s world, there are many examples of shameless behaviour and it could be described as the rule as opposed to the exception. For some people, it will be seen as normal and this could be because they were not around when the world was different.
Without the ability to feel shame, one can end up ignoring other people’s boundaries and doing things that are not acceptable. They can believe they are superior to other people and that they are perfect. As they are out of touch with their human imperfections, it is then not possible for them to be humble.
One can also talk about themselves all the time without feeling bad and this means they are not going to be curious about others or have any interest in them. In their mind, they could be the centre of the universe and this is therefore going to affect their ability to connect to other people.
This is also going to mean that one won’t feel bad for showing certain parts of their body in public and so they won’t feel uncomfortable revealing what other people would only reveal behind closed doors. Their body is then another way for them to gain attention and not something that needs to be respected.
Shame is something that is not only vital when it comes to ones personal life; it is also an important part of society. As human beings are interdependent, it is essential that people respect each others personal space and are interested in others, for instance.
If one is out of touch with their shame, it could be a sign that they are carrying toxic shame. This could mean that the emotional experiences of their past have stayed trapped in their body. These will need to be faced and released, and this can take place with the assistance of a therapist or a healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.