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Self-Development Knowledge Base

Shame Grid

Main topic:
Shame is one of the most powerful and painful limiting beliefs that humans imprison themselves with psychologically. Fortunately, like any limiting belief, it can be conquered.

The Shame Grid is a tool which allows you to address and conquer shame in your life.

Part 1 - Identify & Name Your Shame

Make a list of all of the aspects of yourself, which you feel shame about. You don't need to know whether they are accurate, only whether some part of your mind believes them. For example;

  • I am not smart enough
  • I am not attractive
  • I am bad at relationships
  • I am too fat, or too skinny
  • I am not an acceptable race, or skin colour, or sexual orientation

Make a list of these down the left-side of a sheet of paper.

Part 2 - Contextualize Your Shame

Across the top of the paper, write the different groups of people around which you become aware of your shame. Often, you will feel stronger/weaker negativity around each "shame" you have listed, depending on who you are around. For example;

  • People you don't know (strangers)
  • Friends
  • Close friends
  • Significant other
  • Family
  • Boss
  • Co-workers

Part 3 - Measure Your Shame

You now have a grid, with rows and columns. Draw those rows and columns in, like a spreadsheet.

At each point of intersection, between a "Shame item" and a "Context", measure the strength of Shame you feel, on a scale of 1 - 5...

  1. Almost no shame, they probably already know
  2. Mild discomfort, I could tell this group
  3. Uncomfortable. I don't want them to know
  4. Severe discomfort. This scares me, I imagine very bad things happening - public shaming, losing important friends or relationships.
  5. No freakin' way. I never want to tell this Group about this Shame.

Review, Revise & Augment

Review your Shame Grid, you'll discover new "shames" as you write the grid, and you'll notice that some Context groups need to be separated, e.g. you may experience different levels of shame between Mom & Dad, so

Work the Shame Grid

Shame is one of the greatest barriers to Self-Confidence. This is simply because if you do not believe you are 100% a good person, then there is no way you can believe that others will see you as 100% a good person.

Ultimately, your goal is to "clear" the Shame Grid, by revealing your shame - this may take years.

Begin with the lowest level, 1, and begin revealing your shame to those groups. Once all the 1's are cleared, you can move on to the 2's, and so on.

As you do this, you will quickly see your sense of self-acceptance, and self-confidence rise.