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S is for Shame-based thinking

August 16, 20221 min read

S is for Shame-based thinking

Shame-based thinking is an inner negative dialogue derived from the incorrect belief that there is something wrong with you. 

This conditioned thinking can be painful and lead to numbing out, avoiding, escaping, blaming or anxiety. The pain causes us to seek relief by overeating, overdrinking, overexercising, self-medicating, excessive shopping, excessive TV or video games. It creates a vicious cycle that negatively affects our health and well-being.

This thinking (what some would call the inner critic), often started in our early years, and likely served as a protective mechanism. 

The stream of self-criticism can seem useful, but it is not. 

It may show up as defensiveness, judgment, negativity, attacking or blaming, or a general lack of self-acceptance. In the body it can feel like a vague discomfort, a tightening, disconnection, or sometimes anger or withdrawing. 

I should have….

I should be different. 

I’m so stupid, or I messed up again. 

I’m not enough, I can’t do it right, Why can’t I get it right. 

What’s wrong with them? They shouldn’t….. 

These thoughts lead to escaping in unhealthy behaviors, or other negative impacts such as: 

  • You won’t feel capable of acquiring the skills to accomplish goals.

  • You feel disconnected from yourself and others.

  • You may find it challenging to form deep and meaningful relationships. 

What to do? 

The first step: Don’t shame yourself for the shame-based thinking. 

The second step: Reach out for help. Don’t suffer alone. Uncover the source of these untrue thoughts and see how it’s possible to replace them with self-compassion. Shine a light on them and challenge the truth of these thoughts.


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Jenifer Paredes

"I can't imagine a better way to use our mind than in service of a healthier body"

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