With the advent of social media, our lives have become much more accessible to others. Many of us document various happenings throughout our day, whether positive or negative. Unfortunately, this opens the door for others’ judgment and scrutiny If we don’t gain the approval of our friends, we often feel an underlying sense of shame. This applies to situations in real life as well.
“The difference between guilt and shame is very clear–in theory. We feel guilty for what we do. We feel shame for what we are.” – LEWIS B. SMEDES, Shame and Grace
Where does shame come from?
One study shows how shame plays an important role in human biology. The paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. In the study, psychologists and anthropologists found that shame essentially helped humans survive in the hunter-gatherer days by showing them which behaviors were more tolerated by the group. For example, avoiding work or stealing wouldn’t be acceptable or help the group survive, so if these acts were committed, it would result in a feeling of shame.
In today’s world, however, shame can greatly hinder us from accomplishing our goals or establishing relationships. Let’s take a look at some things you should never feel ashamed of.
20 Things to Never Feel Shame For
1 – Putting yourself first
You can’t help someone else until you help yourself. If you don’t fill your cup, you’ll have nothing to give to others. So, you should never feel shame for making yourself a priority. If you take care of your own well-being, you’ll be in a much better position to serve others.
We have this idea that focusing on yourself makes you narcissistic or self-absorbed, but a certain amount of self-care is necessary. You wouldn’t drive your car without checking all the fluids or putting gas in it, so you shouldn’t skimp on self-care either.
2 – Following your passions
People will tell you to follow your dreams, until you share them. Then, they become unrealistic or unattainable. However, don’t let the naysayers get you down. Those who follow their dreams will always make people uncomfortable, because it forces them to put their own lives into question. Don’t ever stop following what brings you to life for the sake of keeping others comfortable.
3 – Your perceived weaknesses
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so don’t try to achieve perfection. Instead, acknowledge your weaknesses and try to work on them with actionable steps. However, don’t make it an obsession to focus on your insecurities. This will only make you hyperaware and too introspective.
Choose to accept yourself, because when you do this, it knocks down the walls between you and the outside world. This will make your relationships blossom and greatly increase your self-love.
4 – Who you date or marry
It seems that family, friends, and even strangers online love to insert their opinion into our lives, especially when it comes to relationships. However, who you date or marry has no bearing on their well-being. So, if they have negative things to say about your partner, let it go. They might have a genuine concern, but most of the time, they’re probably just projecting their own feelings of jealousy or insecurity.
5 – Being sensitive or emotional
We should never feel shame about our emotions, but in today’s world, many of us get pegged as “too sensitive” or “too soft.” However, in a world where logic and assertiveness seem to rule, we desperately need that balance of softness and empathy. Never apologize for feeling too deeply or caring too much. Empaths and healers are needed now more than ever, so instead of trying to stifle your gifts, allow them to grace everyone you come across.
6 – Your chosen career or job
Judging someone based on how they choose to earn money seems pretty pointless. After all, we’re all on different journeys, so instead of putting each other down, let’s embrace those differences. This is what makes the world unique; if everyone did the same thing, life would get pretty boring. On the other side of things, don’t ever compare yourself to someone else. You have no idea what they’ve been through or what it took for them to attain their success.
7 – Being overly positive
In a world where people constantly tell us to “expect the best but prepare for the worst,” keeping our heads up can seem quite challenging. However, many scientists and researchers around the globe have recognized the many benefits of positive thinking, including decreased stress, a longer life span, greater creativity, and more.
Staying positive in hard times can make us more resilient and better able to deal with challenges. So, to all the Debby downers out there who love to rain on your parade, don’t let them!
8 – The mistakes you’ve made
Don’t allow others to chastise you for your mistakes. Everyone makes them, and they help us grow and learn. Without taking a few missteps, we wouldn’t know the right path to take in the first place.
9 – How you eat
People love to tell others how to eat and what will make them feel best, but at the end of the day, it’s your body. Just as you shouldn’t tell others how to eat, don’t let them dictate your eating habits, either. From vegans to meat-eaters, everyone thinks they know the optimal diet for humans. In reality, only you can decide what feels right to you, not anyone else.
10- Wanting more in life
You should always be grateful for what you have and where you’re at, but wanting more does not make you shallow. In fact, having aspirations and feeling discontent drives progress! Without longing for more, humans wouldn’t have ever advanced this much.
11 – How you choose to live
We all have different perspectives and desires, so don’t let others dictate your life. No matter if you want to live in a tiny house or a mansion, your dreams and lifestyle choices are valid. So long as it doesn’t harm yourself or others, how you live your life is nothing to feel shame for. If you’re happy at the end of the day, that’s what really matters.
12 – Your opinions
Just like everyone lives differently, we all hold different opinions. Just because no one in your family or friend group agrees with you, that doesn’t make you wrong. It simply means you look at things in a different way. Don’t let people shame you for simply exercising your right to think.
13 – How much money you have
This topic makes a lot of us cringe, and we tend to shy away from it in conversation. Most of us don’t want to make others uncomfortable by sharing how much we make, and understandably so. No matter if you make a janitor’s salary or a CEO’s, however, your value as a human being is the same.
14 – The friends you have
Your friends should make you smile and forget about the world for a little. As long as you enjoy their company, don’t let anyone else shame you for your choice of companions.
15 – Your relationship status
Once you get old enough, your family or friends might start asking when you plan on getting married or if you’re looking for a relationship. However, you shouldn’t feel pressured by anyone to do something you’re not ready for. Being single is not the worst thing you can be; in fact, studies show that it can make you healthier and better with money!
16 – Not going to college
College isn’t for everyone, so don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to take on massive amounts of debt to make a living. You can start a business, go to a trade school, or work your way up in a job. You have options, so don’t ever feel shame for not wanting to follow the crowd.
17 – Having a mental illness
In today’s world, most people suffer from some type of mental illness. The most common disorders are:
- Eating disorders
- substance abuse disorders
- bipolar disorder
Your mental illness does not define you, and does not make you “broken” or “weak.” Never let someone shame you because of a mental condition.
18 – Being different
Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole is a useless effort, so stop trying to fit in! Instead, embrace the things that make you unique and get comfortable with standing out. People will appreciate your realness.
19 – How you look
Your appearance has nothing to do with your worth as a person. Whether you’re overweight, underweight, tall, short, or have blue or purple hair, you’re worthy of respect from yourself and others.
20 – Your hobbies
No matter if you’re into anime, boxing, birdwatching or hiking, your hobbies and interests make you, you. If people shame you for your innate interests, then they aren’t the right crowd to hang around in the first place.
Final thoughts on things you shouldn’t feel shame for
Shame is a natural part of being human, as it helps us learn the behaviors that will grant us acceptance into a larger group. However, it becomes problematic when this shame inhibits you or makes you obsess on negative thoughts about yourself. You should feel proud of who you are and the choices you make in your life.
If the people in your life don’t accept you, then you need to keep on marching until you find people who embrace you. Life’s too short to hang around anyone who makes you feel anything less than stellar and beautiful!