Michele Attias Life Coach

8 Ways To Knock Humiliation On The Head (In One Fell Swoop)

When working with clients in coaching, shame or humiliation due to previous bankrupcy, unfortunate business choices or elements of life they have deemed as their failures, can at times overtake and overpower sessions. This prevents clients from moving forwards into making positive choices and changes in their lives.  

The roots of the word shame derive from the meaning of the words 'to cover' and as such, covering oneself, literally or figuratively, is a natural expression of shame.  

The Scientist Charles Darwin, in his book 'The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals' described the effect of shame as blushing, confused mind, downward cast eyes, slack posture, and lowered head. As well as the physical manifestation such as blushing.

The feeling of shame is self imposed and so is the guilt that results from believing that you need to get things right (all the time). This leads to judging and comparing your actions with the (high) standards you set yourself, rather than experiencing the action in a neutral way.

When going through a life experience or life change such as divorce, redundancy or bankruptcy, these can all be experienced in different ways. 

However difficult they are to navigate, each and every person adds their individual slant to it

It's important to remember that a flavour and colour is added to what is being experienced, similarly to the ingredients that can be added to a soup. You can chose to add more salt, more stock, or leave it bland.

Therefore if shame and humiliation is experienced dependent on the flavour that is added to it, then no two people experience a life change or moment in the same way.

Therefore it is not the experience that is shameful, but the person adding their own slant to it.  

A number of individuals can go through similar experience, one will experience it as truly exposing, embarrassing, humiliating and life changing. Whilst another will experience the embarrassment or humiliation to some degree but swiftly move on.

Whether childhood conditioning or early experiences play any part in this still remains to be seen. You can go from shame to shameless in one thought, that is all it takes. Sounds simple yet at times so difficult to execute.


Because of the layers of unhelpful shameful thinking we add on to our experience. 

There is also an element of victimhood and judgement that elicits the perpetuation of this feeling. A note of caution however, it is important to retain an element of shame as this protects us from behaving in crazy uncontained ways. There are however a number of individuals who carry (or drag) their shame (or rather life experience) by wearing it like a thick winter coat. 

And boy is it heavy.

One of the ways that I work with my coaching clients before we are able to set goals is to work through their core beliefs. Some of those beliefs might include feelings of shame that a relationship did not work or a business they were involved in setting up collapsed.

There is no place to begin making transformational changes when weighed up by this.

Here are my 7 steps to help you navigate the journey from Humiliation to Glory:  

1) Firstly recognise that shame plays a part in your life

This is not necessarily being shamed by others but the way you shame yourself.

2) Watch the language that you use

Statements such as 'that was stupid', 'you'll never be good enough' are totally unhelpful and therefore it's about learning to create a different language to prevent the shaming statements you berate yourself with.

3) Be more conscious of who you surround yourself with 

Make sure that you develop friendships with people who do not consistently shame or put you down. It is really important to surround yourself with people who elevate you not bring you down.

4) Even if you do not feel good enough,  operate in the world as if you matter  

Treat yourself and other people as if they matter too, this will shift the energy.

5) The key here is to remember that shame is the colour or flavour we add to our experience

Important to understand that this is generally served with a generous portion  of suffering and an extra portion of guilt; These are all self imposed, meaning imposed by yourself, it doesn't need to be this way.

6) Be compassionate with yourself after going through a difficult event or experience

Be prepared for succumbing to certain feelings of shame or judgement which is  totally understandable, allow for this and be gentle with yourself (I know that it's easier said than done). We all make mistakes and you are doing the best that you can with what you have.

7) Most importantly, life is all about making a choice - Move towards becoming the victor, not the victim of an experience, this will colour the choices you make from hereon.

All you need is a shift in perception which can allow you to pick the colours or flavours you wish to add to your experience.

Self Development