Positive reinforcement, as basic and childlike as that sounds, is a motivating force for progress. Speaking to someone’s goodness despite their wrong choices unlocks their worth. “You’re not a bad person, you’re just headed in a bad direction.” Or maybe “You shouldn’t be ashamed of yourself, maybe just aware of faulty patterns so you can choose different ones.” That’s a great way to start motivating someone. Versus, “I told you so, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”
Shame is a human emotion, meaning we all experience it. It has even been suggested that it is the most primitive of all emotions, dating back to our origins as humans. Shame, however, is toxic in large amounts, and many of us find ourselves stuck in that leaky boat. Understanding how shame works is the first step in preparing to conquer it.