Hi What could I do to stop feeling ashamed of meeting people from my past? please

I can´t even stand alone in the street cos I feel like they could see me. I feel embarrased of what I said/did in the past, nothing serious just embarrasing stuff
Asked by C
Answered
12/06/2021

At times, it can be difficult for an individual to separate causes from effects, especially when dealing with internal feelings of guilt and self-condemnation.  For this reason, it is not uncommon for people to use avoidant behavior when faced with difficult choices or situations in order to relieve anxiety. A primary cognitive theme that may fuel feelings of embarrassment and shame is the fear of exposure of the inner "real self", coupled with the assumption that this exposure of the "real self" to others will result in rejection, the loss of personal relationships, and the critical judgment of others. 

Avoidant behaviors often stem from long-standing dysfunctional beliefs that can negatively interfere with social functioning.  These beliefs, though not fully expressed or articulated, reflect individuals' perceptions of themselves and others. These perceptions have been internalized as  underlying assumptions such as " I'm unlikable", " I'm different",  or, " people don't care about me".  They continually fear that others will find them lacking or "not good enough", and, subsequently, reject them. Due to these type of fears, the individual avoids social situations, relationships limiting their lives, to avoid the pain they expect to feel when others reject them. The  prediction of rejection is made the more painful to the individual because their core dysfunctional beliefs view the negative reactions of others as justified.  Individuals with avoidant behavior disorder often misevaluate the reactions of others.

Overcoming cognitive and emotional avoidance will involve a range of specific techniques and cognitive-behavioral methods used to identify and test automatic thoughts and underlying assumptions. Mood management techniques are taught to manage depression, anxiety disorders, and faulty thought patterns. Individuals may also benefit from social skills training, with the goal of increasing the clients' tolerance for negative emotions.   

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) strategies and, if necessary, Psychotherapy, would be effective approaches in helping the client "weed out" and address underlying feelings of loneliness, sadness, and anxiety in interpersonal relationships so that you may exchange negative thoughts and beliefs that are sabotaging you from experiencing a normal, calm, self-appreciating lifestyle- regardless of what others may say or think! 

Finally learning how to "let go of the past" and move away from what "should have been" are necessary in order for growth to occur.  Create psychological distance between the present moment and the hurtful and embarrassing past through thinking kindly of the person you know you can be today.        

 

 

           

(PhD, LMHC, MSW)