Could inner shame be behind why I am sometimes depressed? This is a study on the ins and outs of inner shame by Wilma Watson!

This teaching session is a continuation of the previous session on uncovering inner shame and answering the question: Why do I feel stressed, anxious and sometimes depressed?

In the last session we began to uncover inner shame. Shame is a major issue that keeps us from experiencing God’s love, being able to love ourselves, and sharing God’s love with others. We discussed the many faces of shame, exposing it as the root that fuels all negative emotions, habits and addictions.

In the previous sessionUncovering the many faces of inner shame (part one) we saw that inner shame:

  1. Creates a need to control yourself and others.
  2. Shows itself through either a desire to please or rebel.
  3. Can show itself through relationship breakdown.
  4. Is behind all forms of abuse.
  5. At the root of all addictions.

In this session we’ll continue to seek to uncover more of the outworking of inner shame in our everyday life. Watch this:

We all long to be loved and feel secure, and we all, at some time or another, struggle with fear, anxiety, stress and feel depressed.

Inner shame creates a fear of rejection and/or failure.

The type of fear I’ll be referring to, in this teaching, is not the fear of flying or the fear of spiders. It is how secure you feel. Insecurity, and not feeling safe, creates a fear of not being in control. Let me ask you, is there someone who you didn’t feel safe with? Who drove you to perform? Didn’t comfort you? Didn’t tell you they loved you? Put you down?

The following illustrates how inner shame is at the root of the tree and fear and insecurity are the trunk. The branches are your inner critic. The fruit is how you cope in life with covering up your shame.

God does not want you rooted in inner shame, but rooted and grounded in His love and acceptance.

In Ephesians 3:17 & 18 (Amp) the Apostle Paul prays that you be [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love…[fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]…

Later I’ll show you how you can be free from inner shame and be rooted and grounded in God’s love.

We’ve been looking at the fact that inner shame has many faces – here is another one that we see played out in our everyday life.

Inner shame creates a need within to look to the outside for happiness and validation.

We all need to check the motives of our heart and ask ourselves: “Do I gain my validation from my achievements and other people, or do I get it based on what God says about me?”

Perfectionism is an attempt to feel loved and accepted through works.

To find happiness and validation, inner shame drives us to perform to feel loved and accepted through what we do.

Our desire to be loved and accepted is behind perfectionism. You may be asking, “Is a spirit of excellence the same as perfectionism?” NO! A spirit of excellence is when you are secure in God’s love, and you seek to do your best! Perfectionism on the other hand, is performance so that you feel good about yourself and get acceptance from others.

If you strive to feel good about yourself through performance, you can open yourself up to feelings of anxiety and inadequacy. When you dwell on your failures you open yourself up to being depressed.

Depression leaves one feeling defeated, inadequate and not being good enough. The root is often inner shame!

Some people find their validation, acceptance and love through their work, while others find their validation, acceptance and love through helping others.

Rescuing can be an attempt to be validated and feel loved and accepted through helping others.

Do you ever feel that the harder you try you can’t earn the other person’s love?  Being a rescuer can sometimes make you feel that way.

A rescuer is someone who takes responsibility for fulfilling the needs of others, so that they feel valued, loved and wanted themselves.

It’s the outworking of inner shame. It can be seen when a parent seeks to rescue an adult child, or a person who seeks to rescue and fulfil the needs of their friend, or when a husband or wife, as a rescuer, seeks to fulfil the needs of their partner.

I was a rescuer. My parents would be fighting continually. I found myself being there for them in their pain rather than my parents being there to meet my needs as a child.

Inner shame causes us to hide our real selves.

Many wear a mask to hide their real selves for fear of being rejected. Fear of rejection and fear of failure play a major role in keeping us from showing our real selves. As a result of our low self-worth, we learn to cope by either being assertive or non-assertive.

A non-assertive approach

The person with a non-assertive approach sees self-worth as being based on what people think about them. They fear rejection and being disconnected.

An assertive approach

The person with an assertive approach, on the other hand, strives to feel good about themselves by meeting certain standards. They fear failure and not getting it right.

Whether you adopt a non-assertive approach or an assertive approach or both – they become a cycle that you can’t get off.

Inner shame creates a cycle you can’t get off.

In an assertive approach, fear of failure compels you to control yourself and others. You drive yourself to perform to feel good about yourself, and when you don’t measure up to your standard, you can become critical of yourself and others.

To compensate, you try harder by being legalistic and, when that does not work, you become angry, defensive, lonely and depressed.

To feel good about yourself – the cycle will begin again!

It’s worth noting that a person who isn’t into performance and is unmotivated, can still have a fear of failure and be in this cycle. Also, a person can switch from having an assertive to a non-assertive approach. Many, including Christians, are caught up in this cycle of inner shame.

I have been asked, “Is there a difference between males and females in the way they handle shame?

Inner shame will feel the same for everyone, but is organized differently by gender.

Inner shame for women

Inner shame for women can be a striving to achieve unattainable, competing expectations and feeling that if they don’t, then they are not good enough.

Inner shame for men

Inner shame for men is outworked so that they are not perceived as weak – that’s why men find it hard to admit to faults. Sometimes men find it hard to release women into their God-given gifting, because they do not want to be perceived as weak themselves.

I trust you’ve been enlightened as we have seen inner shame uncovered and exposed. Naming shame and uncovering it is the first step to freedom. Don’t miss the next session as we will discover how to be free from inner shame.


Can’t wait to see how you can be free from inner shame? Go to:

Don’t miss any of the teaching: How can I be sure I’ll go to heaven?, Why am I so stressed?, Why am I sometimes depressed?, How to stop being so hard on myself,  How break free from a low self-worth, How do I let go of past hurts, How to break free from bad relationships, How to break free from family weaknesses, How to remove self-defense walls?, How to deal with a past loss

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