Why it Would be a Shame to Avoid Your Fears

In my last post, I asked you what topic you would be interested in me writing about. Shame seemed to be the topic that interested most readers and how shame feeds off fear. First, please own up if you have fears you’ve been avoiding for a long time. 

The problem is, if you avoid dealing with your fears, they will prevent you from living fully. The longer you leave them, the more they hold you back and affect your life. Your apparent inability to deal with fear becomes entrenched and becomes who you are, your identity. You then feel shame.

The split of shame and yourself

Shame occurs when an individual feels themselves to be different or lacking, even inferior. Sometimes it’s both. So how do we define “different?” If we accept the definition of self (different philosophers have alternate views) as how we experience ourselves when we interact with another, identity and shame become intertwined.

Shame & Gulit

To cope, we can disassociate to avoid our pain. We become experts at hiding it from ourselves and from others. To an outsider, we may look confident even if we are really struggling. The problem is it never quite goes away even if we stand in front of the mirror doing affirmations for hours at a time. Before anyone screams, let me be clear affirmations can be important, but when it comes to shame, we need to understand it first if we are to eradicate it.


Shame becomes an identity when it becomes embedded whereas guilt is a feeling emerging from the person’s experience, emerging from an action rather than who one is, an identity.

Those of us who feel and identify as different from the norm can easily buy into the notion, we are inferior or less “normal” but, all of us can slip into accepting our differences as a negative.

The way through this is to focus on the positives. Not always easy, but the good news is we don’t have to do it alone. It is very easy for someone feeling shame to exacerbate the feeling, and accept  our difference as a negative. When we do we find all manner of creative ways to avoid our pain.

Shame & Dissociation

To cope, we can disassociate to avoid our pain. We become experts at hiding it from ourselves and from others. To an outsider, we may look confident even if we are really struggling. The problem is it never quite goes away even if we stand in front of the mirror doing affirmations for hours at a time. Before anyone screams, let me be clear affirmations can be important, but when it comes to shame, we need to understand it first if we are to eradicate it.

The good news is that shame needs the oxygen of secrecy, so sharing it with close friends and colleagues can make a massive difference. Having supporters who won’t judge but will support you to face your fears. When you face your fears and expose fear’s co-dependent lover shame, you’ll free yourself to live a fulfilled life.

Next time, I’ll be discussing how we can take some practical steps to overcome our fears and accompany shame. In the meantime, keep being amazing.