5 Powerful Quotes to Free Yourself From Shame

Written by: Nick Ortner

If you’re familiar with the Hawkins Emotional Vibration Scale, then you know that there is a whole spectrum of emotions that directly influence the quality of life we are living.

From the graphic, you can see that shame is at the very bottom. Feeling shame robs us of our dignity and self-worth, both of which are essential building blocks for achieving a happy and healthy life.

Here are 5 powerful and inspirational quotes to free yourself from the devastating grip of shame.

“It would be impossible to estimate how much time and energy we invest in trying to fix, change and deny our emotions – especially the ones that shake us at our very core, like hurt, jealousy, loneliness, shame, rage, and grief.” -Debbie Ford

Debbie Ford

Debbie Ford was a good friend and she’s missed by many in our world every day, but her wisdom clearly lives on! This quote and Debbie’s work is underpinning much of the philosophy behind Tapping – that we need to acknowledge how we feel FIRST.

We need to bring these painful emotions into the light, acknowledge them, be present with them, and through that process, we can let them go. All too often we either bury these emotions or we feel that they need to be fixed or changed immediately, without experiencing them or the lessons they bring.

And another important part of this quote makes the important note that burying these emotions isn’t “free”. It costs us. It costs us the energy to do the things we WANT to do, it costs us the freedom to be brave, creative, powerful, and to create the life WE want.

Ask yourself today, is there an emotion you’re burying or scared to feel? It’s understandable when you don’t have a tool like EFT Tapping, but now you do!

Next steps for YOU if you want to free up this energy:

1. Make a list of the emotions you’ve been burying. Write them on a piece of paper. Stick them in your pocket or purse. Let them serve as a gentle reminder that you ARE literally carrying these around all day. As you clear them with Tapping, cross them off the list (and we’re not looking for perfection here, as in, “I’ll never feel these again”, but lightening the burden enough to cross them off!). Once you’ve crossed them all off, burn or throw the paper away. FREEDOM! 🙂

2. Our Tapping Solution App has specific meditations on loneliness, shame, anger, grief and more. They can guide you towards the emotional freedom you deserve.

3. Notice, step by step, how when you let go of these emotions, your energy increases, your creativity increases, your joy increases. Just NOTICE and then use that newfound energy to create the life you want. YOU’VE GOT THIS!

Comment at the bottom of the post: What emotion have you been burying? Why do you think that is? Are you ready to let it go?

“Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.” -Brené Brown

Brene Brown

Brené Brown has arguably done more than anyone on the planet to bring the topics of shame and vulnerability to mass consciousness, literally bringing these topics “into the light” so we can talk about them, feel them, share them, and heal them.

Her work is as profound as profound gets (deep, deep, deep!) and subtle in its power to transform your life. It’s also not “easy” work. It’s not the fluff of self-help that says everything in your life can be “fixed” in the next 5 minutes.

But it’s work that does offer immediate rewards. The moment you open yourself up to being vulnerable, the moment you acknowledge shame, the moment you acknowledge that you’re afraid of not being good enough, you INSTANTLY lighten the burdens on your heart and soul.

I had the pleasure of meeting Brené a few years ago when she came to speak in my hometown of Newtown, CT, the site of the Sandy Hook school shootings and where we’ve been working for years to help heal these devastating wounds (see The Tapping Solution Foundation for more on this). We had a chance to chat for a few minutes and she was kind, gracious, and almost knocked me off my feet when she said, “I know you and I know about Tapping!” Her talk that evening was (as are all her talks) funny, deep, reflective in its wisdom and clarity, and healing for everyone in the room.

And I’m sure the reason she knows about Tapping and was interested in learning more is that foundational to the work we do in Tapping is acknowledging these fears that we’re not good enough. One of the core setup statements we begin EFT Tapping with is, “Even though ___ (fill in the blank with your challenge, emotion, shame, fear, anger, etc.) I love and accept myself…” This statement alone begins a self-dialogue that says “I am enough even though I feel these emotions.”

And boom! There’s the magic. Think about it and how different it is from most of the approaches that deny, repress, ignore, and even shame ourselves for feeling shame, shame ourselves for not being perfect, shame ourselves for not being enough. Even though this is how I feel, this is where I feel like I’m not enough. I feel like I’m falling flat, or failing, or wailing or just plain not living up to the brutal expectations that I’ve set for myself or society has set for us.

Even though I have all these feelings, I love and accept myself. Or I can begin to love and accept myself. Or I can begin to even consider the possibility, slim as it may be, of loving and accepting myself.

And THERE! Right THERE! You begin to open the door to healing these wounds.

Just thinking of it is powerful! And then you add the physical Tapping – this funny looking movement that research has shown calms the amygdala, turns off that fight or flight response which is firing rapidly and brutally when you reject yourself when you believe you’re not enough when you’re telling your body with your emotional experiences that it’s not safe…

And that magic combo is what unlocks the door to healing.

It’s what brings our shame to light and thus burns it up furiously like dry newspaper thrown into a blazing fire. And with that, FREEDOM. YOU ARE ENOUGH. But I can say that until I’m blue in the face and it won’t mean anything until you begin to EXPERIENCE it, experience the possibility of it, experience the profound peace that comes with it.

Next steps for YOU if you want to feel like maybe, just maybe, you ARE enough:

1. Say out loud, “I am enough. I am good enough.” How does it feel when you say that? If you cringe, if your mind screams BS, if you think of all the times when you’ve failed, well then, my friend, there’s a little work to be done here. (And that’s ok! 99.9% of us have work to do here, so welcome to the club).

2. Once you’ve acknowledged, “There’s some work to do here,” then you can begin, step by step, moment by moment, to heal this pain.

Potential approach (among many, but this one is proving itself to be extra powerful):

We have a free private Facebook group for our Tapping Solution App, currently with over 10,000 members (search Tapping Solution App on Facebook), and they recently just went through a really cool “challenge”. Our Tapping Solution App has 130+ individual Tapping meditations, 16 of which focus on a specific emotion like shame, anger, fear, and so on. What the group did is tap on one emotion (only 10 mins long or so) per day, for 16 days. The results were PROFOUND. Try it!

3. Super basic start: Tap through the points (learn the basics here) for just five minutes a day simply saying, “I am enough.” Watch your mind fight it, what your body tense up… and then let go. Notice the memories that come up when you say this, notice the places that call out for healing. From there, you can go deeper, but this will begin to open the door for you! YOU’VE GOT THIS!

Comment at the bottom of the post: When you say out loud, “I am enough”, what comes up for you? By the way, when you comment and share, not only do you make a powerful first step in healing, you help OTHERS heal. So yeah, it’s a big deal when you’re open and vulnerable and I thank you and honor you for that!

“What do you regard as most humane? To spare someone shame.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche

Now this quote takes a little bit of a left turn on this topic, but it’s an important turn.

You will have many opportunities in your life to spare someone’s shame. Some will be overt and clear, but most will be subtle. Most will require that you gently hold your tongue when you could easily lash out in anger, perhaps justifiably so.

It will absolutely require you to be PRESENT in order to see the moment when you could say or do something that would bring shame to another human being.

Again, it’s “subtle” because some of these moments you’ll look at as no big deal until you really sink your presence into them and recognize, ”Oh wow, IF I say that, especially to this vulnerable, hurt, wounded person (i.e. most of us!), I will cause more pain… so at this moment, I choose to TURN and respond with kindness, or understanding, or grace.”

And guess what? When you do that, you instantly heal wounds within you. It’s magic. When you stop the cycle of shaming and blaming, you free up energy, heal, let go, grow, and expand in that very moment.

“Here’s the thing with comedy – and I learned this from Will Ferrell – you can’t be ashamed. If you’re doing comedy, you have to fully commit to the joke. Shame is not part of it. If you act shy or uncomfortable about your body, that makes the audience shy and uncomfortable. And in a comedy you just want them to loosen up and laugh.” -John C. Reilly

John C. Reilly

I love this because it points to a role model of sorts, energy to emulate or even just think about.

When you think about Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, or any of your favorite comedians and the way they carry themselves when they’re performing and acting (and I get this doesn’t always translate into their personal lives or doesn’t say they’ve healed their deepest wounds), that time they’re on stage, they are open and free and daring – and that energy is attractive, exciting, and in this case, funny.

So watch your favorite comedian (even if it’s just a short clip) and notice their energy. Then ask yourself, “How can I begin to open my energy in this way? How can I be sillier?”

My daughter June (just turned 4!) is as silly as can be. Her energy is open and vibrant. She’s not afraid of making a fool of herself because that concept doesn’t even register!

Where in your life can you play more and use that as a vehicle to release and heal shame?

Next steps for YOU to open up more to joy and laughter:

1. Be silly today! Try it with your closest friends. If it’s super scary, tell them, I’m going to practice being silly to heal my shame. Lol. (Don’t worry, the right friends will totally get it, especially if you share this post with them!)

2. If that seems totally overwhelming, then just IMAGINE being silly or playful. Feel the resistance in your body when you imagine it and tap through the points, calming your body, feeling safe expressing these emotions.

3. Watch your favorite comedians and notice their energy. You don’t necessarily have to be as outlandish as them, but where in your life can you model some of their silly energy?

“Dogs have boundless enthusiasm but no sense of shame. I should have a dog as a life coach.” -Moby


And finally, when in doubt, our animal companions can lead the way. Lol!

You CAN heal and release shame from your body, from your past, from your life. Use Tapping to help and unlock the boundless creativity, inspiration, and love within you!


Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

Which of the above quotes or which aspect of releasing shame resonated most with you? Comment below!

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25 Comments on this post

  1. Dottie says:

    Ps from Dottie Tapping is a wonderful tool I use to heal these issues

  2. Dottie says:

    I grew with people who suffered from the disease of alcoholism-yes folks it is a disease-the AMA and insurance companies regard it as such thus pay for treatment-and because many do not see it as such that in itself causes shame for everyone involved-it is like carbon monoxide- colorless- odorless and just as deadly
    My son told me that when he was little he would get on his bike at night and ride thru the neighborhood and look in people’s windows to see if he could figure out why our family was different-he “felt” the toxic energy of shame- my husband had a full blown version of the disease-he used alcohol to deal with the shame inside – and since it is a disease of the “feelings” I used sugar and nicotine to ease my feeling of shame -I understand some use shopping, status, power,control, manipulation and guess what it just gets worse- nothing works until you discover who you are, your own gifts and talents that make you the amazing unique (there is NO ONE in the world) like you and also more importantly WHOSE you are-an extension of the Loving Source of all creation-
    Bingo you win:))))

  3. Becci says:

    This article came into my life when I needed it the most. I am currently dealing with issues that leave me feeling me a great deal of shame and like I am not enough. Reading what everyone has to say has made me feel less alone and stronger to face my fears and finally do the work I need to do to overcome these issues. I finally feel ready and safe enough to express what I need to and tap through to find greater peace, heal and move forward. Thank you for sharing everyone.

  4. Amparo says:

    All this article resonates with me!!!I had so much Fear to not be sufficient, accepted…wath I say is not important (inteligent) enough, constantly asking for others opinions, the others are more (smart, educated, with the exact words… etc)!!!
    I love tapping and have seen what this lovely technique has done for me.
    Thank you Nick!!!

  5. dave roos says:

    Dogs don’t feel shame. Shame means I’m no good. Some dogs feel guilt which means I’ve done something bad but it’s the deed that’s bad. The doggie doesn’t put all of itself down. Shame means I’m a pile of dog poo. I relate to Brene. I go thru times where I don’t feel I’m good enough, more like the pile of dog poo. I stop what I’m doing and sit with it for a while and then go back and give it another go.

  6. fancified says:

    I am a 70 year old blogger who shares being “silly” through fashion and fun activities weekly. The connection between light hearted behavior and soothing pain of shame is fascinating. Generous sharing of the steps to peace is so appreciated.

  7. Kathie says:

    Nietzsche’s comment made me think of something my sister taught me. THINK before you speak. THINK being is what you’re about to say:
    T is it truthful
    H is helpful
    I is it inspirational
    N is it necessary
    K is it kind

    Thanks Nick for all you teach us.

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Thanks for sharing that, Kathie! I was actually thinking of that very thing when writing this blog, but didn’t want to make too long. 🙂

  8. Shamu says:

    Friedrich Nietzsche‘s quote resonates with me the most. It is so awesome to realize at that moment when instead of saying something hurtful, you hold back and think to yourself, no rather not. Takes one to be humane, to be humane.

  9. Tara Reidy says:

    Even terrible grief (from what I have experienced and witnessed) is not as overpowering as fear, shame and rage – those are the primitive ones – thanks for the highlight. I am a psychotherapist and I recommend tapping and give simple lessons to clients.

  10. Brenda says:

    I had the privilege of attending your weekend Chronic Pain conference in Connecticut several years ago and met you on stage. It was a profound experience which resulted in my normal pain level dropping from a 7 to a 3. But now I am in a world of trauma, grief, rage,and helplessness because of witnessing my husband’s accident with a wood chipper. Two surgeries, amputations, severe infection (contracted in the hospital) daily intravenous antibiotics for another five weeks, and a possible third procedure in the near future. I am paralyzed and can’t seem to tap. By starting I find myself shaking and enraged. I have lost my belief in EFT. 😢

  11. Tina says:

    This was a perfect beginning to my day. We all have feelings of discomfort and shame certainly leads the pack. Removing it can take a lifetime and it can also take just a moment by tapping it out.

    I loved each and every quote, followed by Nick’s comments.

    I’m in awe of the humanity and love the Ortner family and The Tapping Solution practices daily by showing and sharing another way to heal. You guys rock!!!

    Thx all.

  12. Beth says:

    The Nietzsche quote is very thought provoking! Having spent the last six years focused on learning all I can about shame, I love reading how shame can be healed by tapping. Thank you!

    • Nick Ortner says:

      It’s a great one, isn’t it, Beth? It’s interesting to think how many things are said in jest, but could really be damaging to someone else’s self-esteem.

  13. Cathy says:

    A great post! May I recommend the practice Laughter Yoga in your pursuit of being playful? In my journey, I was at a point were my sadness and anger clouded my world. I couldn’t get the joy out of most activities as most people do. I could not wrap my head around tapping then. Fortunately, I stumbled on to Laughter Yoga and while my first few sessions felt awkward, I found that there is truth in the claim that our bodies cannot tell physiologically or psychologically if we are happy when we laugh or even smile. But when we laughter and smile, our bodies produce endorphins that lift our spirits. Laughing for 20-30 minutes is aerobic and thus floods our brain and body with fresh oxygen. Many other wonderful – physical reactions occur resulting in a reduction of stress (cortisol) and so much more. Laughing with others in a Laughter Yoga session allows for natural/ real laughter to happen within the first few laughter exercises because laughter is contagious! Tapping has helped me address the underlying issues that caused my distress. And I am now grateful to practice both regularly with myself and others! If ever in SW Florida, please check my website for the free weekly Laughter session! And search for Laughter Yoga in your area! Nick I know of some LY clubs in CT too!

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