A Better Recipe for Self-Esteem: The Purpose of Shame

A Better Recipe for Self-Esteem: The Purpose of Shame

In “YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED! (…until you love yourself)”, we identified the family of feelings that are Shame, because knowing WHAT you are feeling is the first step to transforming it. We looked at its origins and a bit about reclaiming Self-Esteem, which is Shame’s gift.

The Higher Purpose and Use of Shame

– Self-Image is initially formed by external impressions – levels of caring or abuse from others.

When that input leads us to believe something is wrong with us, not good enough, unwanted, unlovable, it’s a horrible to live life from that belief. So we adapt to this perceived defective self, become a chameleon to fit in and conform to what others think about and want from us.

As we grow, we begin to internalize these incoming messages; they begin to define us by our own account. We abandon our original senses of self. We must shift the balance of power in our favor, to be able to internally validate ourselves – self-determination! Though we resist, we too often end up internalizing the story dished out earlier, which was rather random and very limiting. So, Self-Worth is simply a story that we tell ourselves, a story initially told to us by others.

The only sustainable approval comes from that one person you live with 24/7 all your life YOU!  To help you get that vital self-support, Shame shines a painful light – in the form of feeling bad about yourself – in response to any attack on your worthiness – whether it comes from you or others. Shame is the gauge of your self worth at any moment.

We must each learn to balance what it means to be our self with what it takes to get along with others. Anything that is externally generated, temporary and changeable, when used to define you, will create a perpetually vacillating sense of self-worth.

Shame is the sensor that guides you when you forget your intrinsic value; its function is to transform feelings of “worthless” to “priceless.” As dark and uncomfortable as feelings of Shame are, doubts from within and attacks from outside constantly challenge you to connect and strengthen the trust in yourself. Shame’s pain drives us to remove the illusion of a limited or defective Self and to see the totality of our worth.

To reach our full potential – AND ENJOY EXISTENCE- we must learn to see ourselves beyond momentary events and history; to self-assess from a neutral place, from our heart. In this way we can clearly see our inherent worth as a living being, as a creation of universe, no less glorious than the oceans and stars… with nothing to prove. Call this eternal or universal impressions of our self. When the eternal and unchanging defines you, when you see yourself as timeless and universal, you are set and stable at your highest level. Find the infinity within thee! Let the universe validate you. (It already does!)

Life is a journey from initial innocence, through self-alienation, and on to union. The “antidotes” for Shame are acceptance and love of self and others. Every time Shame speaks, embrace your perfect imperfection and love who you are.


We normally base most of our self-worth on what others think. Here is…

A Better Recipe for Self-Esteem:

60% universal validation. This is realized beyond the mind. It is the truth about yourself that is beyond time and space beyond success and failure.

30% internal validation. Here you claim as yourself what you hear from your heart and soul.  

10% external feedback. This keeps you in sync and flow with others, prevents getting lost in arrogance and ego, a reality check.

How to get that eternal sense? Any way you can! After all it is unlimited and everywhere. What inspires you? Great beauty, wisdom, saints and heroes, love? I suggest meditation.  Go find your universal sense of self, and next I’ll share one of many meditations to help.


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