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Talking Back


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A lot of people struggle with a sense of shame. You may have said these things to yourself or to other people: "I've been really bad" or "I've been really naughty" or "I've failed."


Shame expert Brené Brown says this: "Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging." 


Shame is very common for people with type 2 diabetes. You can spot it in your self-talk:


“I’m not good / pretty / talented / successful / rich / tough / caring / skinny / creative / popular enough.”


Shame can get in the way of change because:


  1. You don’t believe that you are worth any better. 
  2. You try and cover up what you see as your flaws through unhelpful behaviours like being perfectionist, lying to others or yourself, hiding from or blaming others.

It can take you back into a cycle of comfort or emotional eating, feeling bad about yourself or wanting to give up.


With shame, you become afraid that people won’t like you if they know the truth about who you are, where you come from, what you believe, how much you’re struggling.


Because shame is such a common experience, we've put together a detailed article on how to escape it.

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Building up defences against shame feelings is an important step in moving on: 


  1. Recognise. When you’re in a shame spiral, one of the easiest ways of spotting it is that you get physical symptoms. These will often feel like panic. 
  2. Identify. Think about how you normally respond if you feel shame. Do you withdraw and move away from people? Do you move towards unhealthy relationships or try and please others? Do you move against others by becoming aggressive? Becoming aware of knee-jerk reactions increases your chances of learning to recognise specific shame triggers.
  3. Share. If you share your story and receive empathy from others it can help reduce pain. Sharing can cause you to feel anxious, especially if you’re discussing something you haven’t told many people. So choose someone you trust. Ask them just to listen and not give advice. 
  4. Give yourself some self-compassion. Self-compassion is about treating yourself as you would a best friend. It might sound silly, but try putting your hand over your heart and wishing yourself well. It’ll be a small step forward.

If you feel that shame is getting in the way of progress, Balanced Minds, a UK based organisation, has links to some fantastic resources.


Watch this 10 minute video from shame researcher Brené Brown

"Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of

change." Brené Brown

Do you have a critical voice? What do you find it saying to you? Watch this video to learn more about the power of self-compassion.

This 5-minute animated video is great for understanding and tackling the critical inner voice. 

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