Do You Feel Constantly Ashamed Of Yourself?

If you often feel SHAME and guilt about yourself for no reason, then this video is going to explain why.

It’s my belief that at the core of many people’s social anxiety (not everyone’s) is an emotion called toxic shame.

Here’s what I talk about in this video:

The difference between shame and toxic shame.

Shame is the feeling someone gets when they’ve done something wrong. It passes quickly and is often a healthy emotion to have once in a while.

Toxic shame is different. It’s not shame about something you did, it’s shame about yourself. Self-shame in other words. Someone who has this often feels flawed, defective, inferior and unworthy of acceptance, love and belonging.

Toxic shame is extremely unhealthy and destructive. It can force you to isolate yourself from other people, it can make you spiral down into depression, it can lead to addictive behaviors, and it’s even dangerous to your physical health! (Studies have found that constant mental stress leads to cardiac problems and can suppress your immune system.)

The Symptoms of Toxic Shame

1. Hiding

When you feel like you are inherently bad or flawed, then it only makes sense that you don’t want other people to see you. Because they will only reject you, right? So toxic shame causes you to avoid people and hide away, like I did in my first year of university.

You also hide your true thoughts and feelings from people. It’s another way of hiding your “flawed self” to avoid other people’s judgement and rejection. Hiding your thoughts can lead to feeling like you have a “blank mind” and nothing to say in social situations.

Hiding makes it EXTREMELY difficult to form close connections or relationships with people.

2. Reliving Embarrassing Memories

Toxic shame also affects your attention. It makes you randomly remember humiliating moments and embarrassing situations from months or years ago. This is one way that shame reinforces itself over years. When you have shame, it can be almost impossible to simply stop these thoughts from popping up and making you feel like sh*t about yourself for no reason.

3. Physical Insecurities

Shame biases your attention, and it makes you focus on all your little flaws and shortcomings more. Back when I had really bad social anxiety, there were a few insecurities I would always be obsessing over.

My slightly crooked teeth are one example. I would always be trying to hide them from people by not smiling or even talking. I always checked how they looked when I passed by a mirror, etc.

Recognize that your thoughts are being formed by your shame.

4. Secrets

When you have toxic shame, you sometimes have one or more “dirty secrets” that other people would instantly reject you for if they found out.

The more personal a problem, the more universal.

These types of secrets can be anything, from sexual fetishes to something you did in the past.

TIP: Keep in mind that you are not the only person with personal secrets or shortcomings. We assume our problems are unique when in fact it’s impossible to meet ALL social standards for how life is supposed to be. You’ll never measure up to perfection.


Hope this was useful. If you could relate to what I talked about here, then the good news is that there is hope for you! Toxic shame is possible to overcome. Not always easy, but there are specific exercises and steps you can take to stop feeling this way for the rest of your life.

The opposite of toxic shame is the feeling of “I am enough.” This means feeling like people can like and accept you just for you. It’s a feeling of freedom where you feel like no matter what you say or do people will still like you. This makes socializing and forming friendships and connections easy.

Stay tuned for future updates,

Sean Cooper

About the author

Sean Cooper

I study all areas of psychology, sharing what works (and what doesn't) for overcoming shyness and social anxiety. After curing my own severe social anxiety I created "The Shyness and Social Anxiety System" to help others. This program has received stunning reviews from psychologists and people like you.

Now it's my life's mission is to help 25,000 people get the confidence, friends and romantic partner you want!

Read more about me here.


  • Sean Hi, I just came across your site and had a little read through some of the stuff and can honestly say your writings have resonated with a lot of things I’ve suffered with since a very early age, I’ve never heard so many things start to make sense in my head, and explain perhaps why I am the way I am, from what you have laid out here.

    More specific to this article it is very true I always felt ashamed of myself and very self-conscious but the biggest problem was not only why it was happening but what was the core reason behind it, and then how to fix it. You’ve also set out to help people who are crippled with shyness not just people who need a small nudge in the right direction and their off to start a new vibrant life.

    I’d honestly go through this every day where I would just have all these negative thoughts running through my head, not just self-doubts but thinking about horrible situations and events that might happen to me, which I know are so untrue and ridiculous.

    Why I done this and still do, is a mystery. I have learned a lot to control it and also started asking myself each time I feel negative either “is this working for me or against me”. I think it came from something you’d said in an article about questioning your thoughts and confronting them.

    There is something I’ve noticed is that it is hard to weed out a specific negative thought but instead when you are so used to being like this it is like you have this constant train on negativeness running through your head. Did you notice this when you were in the shy crippled stage of your life?

    I also got to a point where I would psychologically punish myself day in and out without really realising that I was doing it. It was like there was a big switch on the side of my head, on one way it said “good thoughts and positive attitude” the other way it said “Negative self-destroying thoughts”, and of course the switch was turned to that side and stuck.

    Needless to say my life was consumed with little to no sexual realtionships with girls, poor choice of “friends” who take advantage of you, people not respecting you, and basically becoming a nobody. It is like a snowball effect in that you just get worse and worse, and get consumed so much you just hide in your room every other night.

    I did sort of loose the shyness a bit as I got older but still get negativeness and still have a bit of an inferiority complex and tend to become very paranoid and think people are always judging me when I talk to them. I also have lost some amazing opportunities with lots of women that I can only feel regret at now. I do have a lot going for me in my career and looks etc. but as soon as women show interest (If I notice that is) then convo usually waters down to um eh yeah so where do you work, what do you think of the weather and utter boring convo like that instead of stimulating convo. In some cases I have even said something quite outlandish, as I was so nervous, which then caused deep offense to the women.

    I could go on and on but needless to say I am determined to fix my problems and I will be going over your site a good bit more in the very near future.

    Many thanks


  • Thank you Sean for your article. I was surprised to see that you also went through a similar experience as me in first year university. I’m still in university now, although I’ve gotten more self aware, remnants of my previous depressive habits still remain. But reading this made me realize that there are others that have shared similar experiences as me. It gives me a reason not to coax myself.
    Thanks again

  • Hi Sean,

    I’m sitting here on my laptop, watching your videos instead of going to a party at college tonight, because I’ve gotten to a stage where I feel it to be absolutely pointless putting myself in social situations if I become so utterly self-conscious that I can’t connect with others.
    I really think your advice is getting to the core of social anxiety/shyness. I’ve often felt depressed when googling for advice on the internet that leaves me feeling more ashamed of myself and weird. Being better socially doesn’t have anything to do with having more things to say, as I often feel, but about being comfortable with yourself, and therefore being happy, and therefore naturally enjoying other people’s company
    I don’t really know what the worth of this comment is but, thanks so much for putting in the effort to share your advice. I look forward to watching more of your videos 🙂

  • my aunt, family and even people who were supposed friends put me down and i allowed them?! i let these scummy people put me down because i put up with their behaviour and what they did they named me as doing. how hurtful is that

  • It is good that you are trying to help us by telling us that the reason we have a hard time believing other people will like us is because we hate ourselves, but we already kinda know that and actually a lot of us are quite open about it. If someone could actually give us a reason to not hate ourselves, that might help. At the end of the day, though, what can you say when confronted with the possibility that all lives are finite, brief, and relatively meaningless?

    You might deny it as true in your opinion, but, unable as you are to refute the possibility of the fact, what’s the point in loving yourself as opposed to despising yourself? Why should you go out to socialize, when you can more or less just stay in, sleep, work, and repeat (at least then you’ll save money)? Why would you think you even deserve feelings of pleasure associated with things like eating, sleeping, social interaction, sexual intercourse?

    The pain that arises from starvation, exhaustion, and passionate, unrequited desire is more familiar, builds stronger character, and should be “enjoyed” just as much as those “happy-feelings” for being a part of your experience. Get used to it; forget what the “good feelings” felt like, and then you’ll come to enjoy the serene paradise of the silent void, too, I think. The pain from the cancer that killed 20000 people yesterday, is killing 20000 people today, and will kill 20000 people tomorrow is what you’re probably going to get anyway, unless your heart gives out first. That’s what we all will be served eventually: the cold, dark embrace of death, where everything will be as inconsequential as it was in the time before you can remember.

    Enjoy the ride

    • I’m reading this from the light side of my mind wondering if i’m tripping or dreaming right now. It’s like this comment was created from the other side of my mind and I completely understand what you’re saying. I thought pain would make me a better person and that I could use it as a ‘high ground’ when faced with real problems. Like I was preparing myself, saying “animals have to go through this and it forces them to adapt, so if I do it i will be stronger”. Great in theory, horrifying in practice. It never ends. I can tell myself to do something and i just go yeah, or I can do the easy thing. I thought if I avoided happiness then when it struck I would feel it more, but here I am still trying to figure out what is wrong with me. Going through the routine of pain and sorrow has a certain comfort to it, but when your tired of the loop it’s unbearable trying to get out.

  • I am a 60 year old woman and I have felt this way my entire life. I’ve spent my whole life isolated except for a few female friends. When I was young, I went on a few dates and I felt so embarrassed of looking the way I look and being who I am, that I just stopped dating and I reconciled myself to living and dying alone. I tried to develop interest in things but I was a failure at everything I ever tried. I’ve always had a decent job, but I was never smart enough to excel at anything. Now my life’s nearly over and it’s been one big giant waste of time. It’ll probably be a relief when I am on my deathbed.

    • Dear Sue, I am in the same age group and nearly the same story. It will be tough for the both of us but love unconditionally those who are unloved and you will find personal peace. There a good number of good years ahead of you. Make them count.

    • I am exactly like you Sue! I am 58 and feel the same way. Not good at anything. You said you had a decent job. I didn’t even have that. I was a nursing assistant most of my life. I’m sure I would have been too dumb to be an actual nurse which I always wanted to be. I probably would have accidently killed someone because I am so absentminded and stupid. That job killed my knees and I am in constant pain. I am so worthless I don’t know why I’m here. I am glad that our days are numbered.

  • Thank you for this article, Sean. A terrible thing was done to me when I was too young to remember it, and I’m currently entering what I believe may be the “eye of the storm” in my lifelong struggle to understand myself. My mind feels fractured. Insightful analyses like this one help me identify the pieces and pick them up.

  • I feel ashamed and embarrassed of myself 24/7. Every time I go out I want to cry when people look at me because I always assume they think about how ugly and awkward I look. Even though I know my face is not ugly, I can’t rid of the feeling of being ugly. For a few years I even thought I was the ugliest person alive, not exaggerating. Existing in my own body feels like hell most of the time. I’m not even comfortable in my own mind! Nobody will ever know what’s inside my head, so why do I keep blocking out my own feelings, thoughts and desires? I’m embarrassing. I’m a joke.

  • Toxic shaming is an issue for me I’ve thought about it for a while and I can’t seem to figure out why I feel shame I can remember a time frame of when I changed into who I am now but I still can’t pinpoint what happened to make me Sham myself, I have a social anxiety to the point where I never go outside I have no friends (more like I have no desire to have friends I feel like I don’t care enough to have friends because I genuinely don’t really care about other people’s lives and not sure if that’s normal) have never been to a job interview I’m 24 I don’t think confidence is issue because I generally feel like I’m fairly good-looking so I’m not sure where the shame is coming from and now I feel as I get older it’s getting worse on the shaming end because I have Let get this far and I look really bad for it but I have been like this for a long time. Basically how I see it is I am stuck in a place where I I really want to go out and be”normal” get a job considering I hate being broke but at the same time I don’t want to go out and I don’t want to do anything like I don’t even want to go out and just do anything fun at that I’d rather sit at home and do nothing I mean I don’t watch TV at all because I feel like it’s brainwashing anyways I’m not going to bore everybody with my life story but I have been watching your videos all morning because I woke up and my first thought of what makes people shy I was wondering if it was more from the way you were raised rather than your life experiences kind of the same thing but the same time it’s not.

  • I always feel out of place and uncomfortable during family gatherings and I finally figured out why. I’m ashamed of myself.

    – I’m the only one of my cousins who is unemployed.
    – I’m the only one of my cousins who is single.
    – I’m the only one of my cousins who is still living with their parents.
    – I’m the only one of my cousins who doesn’t have kids.

    Basically, all of my cousins are married, with families and successful careers. Meanwhile, I’m the oldest (35) of my 10 cousins and I’m unemployed and living with my parents. I haven’t had a relationship since college over 10 years ago. I feel so embarrassed having to tell anyone about my life. I just want to stay home and hide from the world. 🙁

  • This video was great, but the part where you said ‘even if you are ugly or fat’ is awful. No one is ugly and you could use the word overweight.

    You need to cut that part out,

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