The Good Side Of Shame

by Mark Ivar Myhre on July 20, 2010

Everyone has shame, to one degree or another. Some people experience the positive side of shame, and use it to better their lives.  This part of shame I love.

But for most people, shame has become a painful prison.  That’s the part I hate.

Before we delve too deeply into shame and all its debilitating effects, I want to say a few words about the good side of shame – the positive shame.

Shame was never meant to be a destructive force.  In fact, it’s essential to developing your true potential as a human being.  You NEED shame to reach your full potential.

Shame is a real emotion.  And like all real emotions, shame has a positive side when felt and expressed and released.  Also, just like every other real emotion, shame has a dark, negative side when it’s NOT felt and expressed and released.

Positive shame goes by the term REMORSE.

Remorse – the positive side of shame.

Here’s why you need remorse:

1. It allows you to make mistakes. It allows you to be human, in other words.  Remember the phrase?

“It’s human to make mistakes.”

Remorse makes it okay to make those mistakes.  You screw up; you feel remorse; you move on.

2. It’s the foundation and the motivation for all forgiveness. If you’ve already got a copy of The Magic Of Forgiveness, then you know remorse stands as an integral step in the forgiveness process.

(And if you don’t have a copy, then stop reading right now, scamper on over to and get one!)

Wow, that was quick.

Now, as I was saying, you NEED to feel remorse for whatever you’re forgiving.  It’s not the only step, but it’s an essential one.

If you feel no remorse, you won’t truly be able to forgive.  You may go through the motions, but you won’t feel the magic that forgiveness offers.

Without remorse, you’ve got nothing to forgive, and nothing to be forgiven for.

3. It helps you know where you’re prepared in life.

“I thought I had a handle on this, I thought I had my plan together, but it all fell apart.   Guess I wasn’t really prepared after all.”

Remorse lets you know where you stand.

4. It creates the friction that allows you to have wants and needs, and to know what those wants and needs are.

That heat – the uncomfortability, the longing, the frustration – that comes from not getting what you want – that heat will stay painful.  You can get stuck in the pain without the remorse.

Plus, with remorse, you KNOW what you want.

5. It motivates choice and change.

When you see something about yourself you don’t like, it creates a feeling of ‘being ashamed’.

When you don’t take a shower for a week, you’re supposed to be embarrassed to be seen around others.  And out of that embarrassment, you take a shower!

6. It combines with your principles to produce character.

An example of a principle:  “I will tell the truth.”

Your character refers to how well you adhere to that principle.

For example, f I have a principle of telling the truth, but I go around lying to myself and others, then I have no character.

That’s how you define character.  If you’ve already got your copy of Self Esteem Secrets, then you already know all about ideals and principles and character.

(And if you DON’T have a copy, you know what to do…  We’ll wait for you… )

Wow!  You ARE fast.

Anyway, when you don’t adhere to your principles, you feel remorse.  And out of that remorse, you vow to do better next time.  At least, that’s the idea.

7. It plants the seeds of self-awareness and self-realization; two essential ingredients of your human value.

Self-awareness:  “I have impact.”

Self-realization:  “I can direct my impact.”

The seven parts of human value consist of:


For more information on value and the Valued Self, I refer you to the copy of Self Esteem Secrets you so wisely purchased a minute ago from

Anyway, with remorse, I can build my value.

WithOUT remorse, my value will always be lacking.

In fact, without feeling remorse, I stunt myself in many ways.  Because if I don’t feel remorse, then I feel the negative side of shame instead.

And then:

1.  You’re not allowed to make mistakes.
Any time a mistake happens, you beat yourself up.  In fact, for some people, they ARE a mistake.  Or so they believe.

2.  You are not forgivable. Not only for what you’ve done, but for WHO YOU ARE.  You can try to forgive yourself, but don’t expect much in the way of results.

3.  You’re never prepared for life. Instead, you feel isolated and alienated from life.  You feel separate from everything and everybody.  You just try to get through life the best you can.

4.  Your wants and needs become sources of shame. You have to hide and deny them.  I’m too ashamed to admit that I want what every normal person in the world wants.

5.  You can’t change. Everything stays the same.  And change comes only with great effort, or by chance.  But certainly not by choice.  Choices don’t matter to a person riddled with shame.

6.  You have little or no character. Life becomes a series of expedient events.  I do whatever I have to do to get by.

7.  You’re cut off from your own value, and you’re also cut off from any true spirituality.
You can say the right words, join with the right people, go to the right meetings, but you can never really experience the juicy value that only comes from knowing you’re loved by your Creator.

Shame separates you. It separates you from yourself.  From being human.  From forgivability.  From being prepared for life.  From your own wants and needs.  From change and choice.  From developing character.  And it separates you from your own value and your own Creator.

Admittedly, these are extreme cases.  For most people, the separation will not be overwhelming.  Plus, we all have our unique relationship with shame.  Some arenas of life produce much greater shame than other areas.

For example, I may feel quite good about forming intimate relationships, but I may be filled with shame when it comes to my ability to have money.   Or I may feel good about making money, but ashamed by the way I spend it all so fast.  Or maybe I’m good at meeting people, but I can’t follow up and stay connected with them.

The successful areas of my life are the areas where I don’t feel the negative shame, but instead I am able to feel remorse.

Remorse brings you closer to success.

But if you’re feeling the negative side of shame, then you won’t be feeling much remorse at all.

In the next installment, we’ll be looking at how all the negative shame started.  But it’s important to understand, shame does have a positive side.

In fact, once you heal the negative shame, you can experience the wonderful feeling of the positive side of shame – remorse.

{ 1 comment }

MLK July 21, 2010 at 7:40 am

I have been on your e mail list for years. I can’t tell you how many times you have sent something along just at the time I needed it most.

I feel “remorse” that I never told you this. That was very selfish of me and I am sorry.
I am in the nursing profession. It is similar to yours in that we give out to everyone consistently and sometimes we forget it has to be a two way street. But even “burn out” has a positive side.

We get the chance to re creat ourselves. Enjoy your bike ride! Discovering aloneness is the first step to awareness.

Peace out

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