50 Shame Quotes For Dealing With Self-Conscious Emotions

Hold your head up high and check out these shame quotes.

What is shame? Well, that depends on who you ask.

Across cultures, shame has different origins and conditions.

For the most part, we can all agree that shame is a self-conscious emotion arising from the sense that something is fundamentally wrong.

However, shame is sometimes challenging to identify because it may be outside of our conscious awareness, making it very hard to label.

Psychologists suggest that those with more shame may also have more interpersonal anxiety and submissive responses to anger.

Western science has grouped shame into two different types; state shame and trait shame.

State shame is a momentary experience, like when you realize you have been walking around with toilet paper stuck to your shoe.

The other is known as ‘trait shame’ because it acts like a personality trait or something we carry with us wherever we go.

If you’ve been feeling stuck, use these shame quotes to inspire you to move past it.

Check out our most popular quote article, a list of short inspirational quotes for daily inspiration.

Explore our complete collection of motivational quotes here.

Brené Brown Shame Quotes

Brené Brown has spent decades studying shame and courage. Her shame quotes can help you move forward.

1. “Guilt is just as powerful, but its influence is positive, while shame’s is destructive.” – Brené Brown

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2. “Shame erodes our courage and fuels disengagement.” – Brené Brown

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3. “Ironically, parenting is a shame and judgment minefield precisely because most of us are wading through uncertainty and self-doubt when it comes to raising our children.” – Brené Brown

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Shame Quotes and Sayings

You don’t need to live in shame. These shame quotes will show you the way.

4. “You can cry, ain’t no shame in it.” – Will Smith

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5. “Doubt is the brother of shame.” – Erik Erikson

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6. “The only shame is to have none.” – Blaise Pascal

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7. “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

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8. “Shame is a fitter and generally a more effectual punishment for a child than beating.” –Samuel Richardson

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9. “Truth is the daughter of time, and I feel no shame in being her midwife.” – Johannes Kepler

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10. “It is the false shame of fools to try to conceal wounds that have not healed.” – Horace

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11. “I was beautiful. Now, because I am old, I take no shame in so saying.” – Lillie Langtry

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12. “Tell the truth and shame the devil.” – Francois Rabelais

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13. “I have little shame, no dignity – all in the name of a better cause.” – A. J. Jacobs

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14. “People are embracing the thing that made them different growing up instead of letting that thing elicit shame.” – Constance Wu

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Shame Quotes for Inspiration

If you’re struggling with living in shame, don’t give up. Find inspiration in these shame quotes.

15. “There’s no shame in enjoying a quiet life. And that’s been the realization of the past few years for me.” – Daniel Radcliffe

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16. “I come from a violent background. So I became hard. I realized that I had made myself that way to deal with a feeling of abandonment and shame.” – Mickey Rourke

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17. “I don’t have no shame.” – Tee Grizzley

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18. “One is never so dangerous when one has no shame, than when one has grown too old to blush.” – Marquis de Sade

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19. “But to have a name among the weak and the wicked is shame and reproach.” – Samuel Adams

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20. “I used to look in the mirror and feel shame, I look in the mirror now and I absolutely love myself.” – Drew Barrymore

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21. “I’m not unfamiliar with frustration, anger, shame, helplessness and a load of other emotions that make up our psycho-soup.” – Terry O’Quinn

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22. “I’ve worn a dress at my wedding. I’ve worn 6-inch Louboutins. I’ve got no fear and no shame.” – A. J. McLean

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23. “Suits are looked at more now as a business thing which is kind of a shame.” – Daniel Craig

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24. “In the face of patriarchy, it is a brave act indeed for both men and women to embrace, rather than shame or attempt to eradicate, the feminine.” – Alanis Morissette

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25. “Guilt is one side of a nasty triangle; the other two are shame and stigma.” – Germaine Greer

shame quotes about guilt is one side of a nasty triangle

26. “Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think.” – Michel de Montaigne

When People Feel Shame Quotes

People will tell you when you should feel shame, when you should feel none, and what things are shameful. What do you think of these shame quotes?

27. “It’s a shame to call somebody a ‘diva’ simply because they work harder than everybody else.” – Jennifer Lopez

28. “To make godly decisions we have to surrender our egos and all the falsity and shame that goes with it.” – James McGreevey

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29. “It’s a shame I haven’t been able to see my family in Australia, but it never became an option.” – Ashley Zukerman

30. “Maybe it was shame. I don’t know. But he never wanted anything to do with me. That rejection was terribly hurtful and it went on for years.” – Carol Vorderman

31. “I’m afraid that eating in restaurants reflects one’s experiences with movies, art galleries, novels, music – that is, characterized by mild amusement but with an overall feeling of stupidity and shame.” – Jim Harrison

32. “Shame on him who draws any attention to a rotted flesh that is already no longer mine: he is worshipping the worms nibbling it.” – Nikolai Gogol

33. “Reproach is shame, blame, disgrace, disapproval and a disrespectful attitude toward yourself. When you’re under reproach, your behavior shows it.” – Joyce Meyer

34. “It is misery, you know, unspeakable misery for the man who lives alone and who detests sordid, casual affairs; not old enough to do without women, but not young enough to be able to go and look for one without shame!” – Luigi Pirandello

35. “I think it’s a terrible shame that politics has become show business.” – Sydney Pollack

Understanding Shame Quotes

There are a lot of lessons that can be learned from life experiences. The following shame quotes can help you learn more.

36. “Surely you must have shame about your body? Surely what’s scariest for you as an actor would be to stand in a room naked?” – Katherine Waterston

37. “You’re not completely switched on to how society views women, so while it was such a great experience, there is still a snobbery about ‘Page 3,’ which is a huge shame.” – Keeley Hazell

38. “But they’re hurt because, for some reason, people feel shame about themselves or embarrassed because they are short or skinny or fat or whatever.” – Jose Altuve

39. “I know that life is full of lessons to be learned, and my children will have to learn their own, but I hope I have broken the cycle of shame and fear that plagued my childhood.” – Jimmy Barnes

40. “Shame is an unhappy emotion invented by pietists in order to exploit the human race.” –Blake Edwards

41. “Science has nothing to be ashamed of even in the ruins of Nagasaki. The shame is theirs who appeal to other values than the human imaginative values which science has evolved.” –Jacob Bronowski

42. “I can’t even explain to you how terrible that feels, that I equate dating a woman with punishment, shame, guilt, disappointment, reproach, reprimand, persecution. It’s a nightmare. “ – John Mayer

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More Examples of Shame Quotes

Here are several more examples of what shame looks like to help you understand. Keep reading for more shame quotes.

43. “A military man can scarcely pride himself on having smitten a sleeping enemy; it is more a matter of shame, simply, for the one smitten.” – Isoroku Yamamoto

44. “Self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.” – Billy Graham

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

46. “Shame may restrain what law does not prohibit.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

47. “We cannot be kind to each other here for even an hour. We whisper, and hint, and chuckle and grin at our brother’s shame; however you take it we men are a little breed.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

48. “As for poverty, no one need be ashamed to admit it: the real shame is in not taking practical measures to escape from it.” – Pericles

49. “Moral Injury is differentiated from PTSD in that it directly relates to guilt and shame veterans experience as a result of committing actions that go against their moral codes.” –Chuck Norris

50. “Whilst shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart; nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of tyrants.” – Edmund Burke

How do you feel about shame in your life?

During our developmental years, we are much more susceptible to the negative impacts of shame.

Those childhood imprints can influence us through our adult lives.

People often lump shame and guilt together, but they are not the same feelings. They are both traumatic and can negatively impact our health.

Shame and guilt are self-focused negative emotions that manifest in different ways.  Guilt happens because of an action we took or did not take.

It is natural to feel regret over a bad choice. Guilt motivates us to transform our behavior so we do not feel the same way again.

Shame is different because it manifests as a result of negative evaluations from others. It does not imply that what we did was terrible but that we are terrible.

Shame can make people feel small, powerless, or worthless. Guilt arises from a choice we made; shame arises from how others see us.

Which shame quotes did you find helpful and encouraging?

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