How to stop shame from turning your cheeks red

Doing something really bad, you should not do? Shame is designed to get your back in line. Otherwise shame is a useless emotion and needs banning.



Quote for the day

“Why are you drinking? demanded the little prince.
“So that I may forget,” replied the tippler.
“Forget what?” inquired the little prince, who was already sorry for him.
“Forget that I am ashamed,” the tippler confessed, hanging his head.
“Ashamed of what?” insisted the little prince, who wanted to help him.
“Ashamed of drinking!”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Most advice gurus blame parents for our feelings of shame.  However, leading Harvard researcher Jerome Kagan, views shame as nature’s way of keeping us from doing the unthinkable.

Kagan points out that shame develops when a child has become powerful enough to kill a troublesome younger sibling.  For the very young child,  a strong painful emotion needs to come into play to prevent the Sin of Cain. Shame develops naturally and is nature’s teaching tool.

Shame is a useless emotion, however:

  • when it  does not keep you from doing the unthinkable
  • visits you when you are not doing the unthinkable

 Emotional Fitness Tips  

Tip one:  See shame as signal that needs decoding. Stop to think about why shame is visiting you and take no action until you have decoded its message.

Tip two:  Emotional Fitness Training’s One Minute Mediation,  available as a free poster coach, slows down the urge to act and makes clear thinking possible. 

Directions for the One Minute Meditation, an #emotionalfitnessexercise.

Tip three:  Ask yourself is you are planning to do the unthinkable? If so let shame keep you on the right track.

Tip four:  If you are not planning to do the unthinkable, improve your self- soothing skills; work at learning to calm your body and silence negative self-talk. 

Tip five: If shame seems to control you, some talk therapy might be helpful.  Cultural or religious teachings often call on shame to enter our lives for things that are not unthinkable. Many religions equate thought with action; twisted thinking and the root of much shame.  Shaming and shunning are powerful control tools. 

This post was inspired by both a  Word Press  Daily Prompt: Daily Prompt: Isn’t Your Face Red  When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment?  Shame visited me yesterday because I had failed to keep track of my various passwords, instead trusted the Google saved password app to to that for me. Then every single one of them was wiped wiped out in a computer clean up by an outside Geek.

My reaction – mad at the geek and he was mad at me for not having my passwords written down.  I obsessed and tried to fix the problem and managed to do so after an almost sleepless night. How I did it was a combination of luck and persistence.

And when I re-read this post just now was mildly embarrassed to find some silly errors. Too rushed. Corrected them and life goes on. 

Finally, Thank you for all you do. I am particularly grateful to those who practice internet kindness by liking, rating, commenting, or sharing my posts. 




  1. Pingback: of shame | Anawnimiss

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  3. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Isn’t Your Face Red? | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

  4. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Red | The Wandering Poet


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