Maybe your boss called you out in a big meeting. Maybe your abuela just told you that you need to lose weight — again. Regardless of the trigger, we all know what it’s like to feel bad about ourselves. And if you’re like most women, you probably end up feeling bad about feeling bad, continuing the vicious cycle of crappy emotions.
But what if these feelings of shame were actually good for us? That’d definitely change things up. New research says that may be the case.
According to a new study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shame isn’t necessarily an unproductive emotion.
“Shame isn’t about people’s concerns over how others see them,” Dr. Daniel Sznycer, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara and the study’s lead author, told Huffington Post.
Similarly to how fear protects us from physical danger, research suggests shame is meant to protect our social identities, motivating us to maintain relationships with those around us.
"In this world, your life depended on others valuing you enough to give you and your children food, protection and care," said Dr. Sznycer. "The more you are valued by the individuals with whom you live . . . the more weight they will put on your welfare in making decisions. You will be helped more and harmed less."
In a world that puts so much pressure on us to feel strong, capable, and happy all the time, this is certainly a refreshing concept.
The verdict: It’s okay to feel like crap once in a while. No need to beat yourself up over it.