I hope my dear friend over at Female CS Grad Student does not take offense (who really is a dear friend in real life so I know she won't be upset and if you are, tell me sweets!). Dog knows I've offended before by "responding" to a post someone wrote (someone who at the time I thought of as a friend).
How many of you have things you've done (or not done) in your past that make you want to curl up into the fetal position and rock? I'm sure many of you. I have done it myself. I think to myself, "WHY?" Why do I allow these feelings of embarrassment, regret, of just feeling ick about things that happen so long ago, in my life now?
So I stopped. I could regret things until the day I decide I'm done on this earth, but you know what? It doesn't change the fact that I made the choices that allowed those things to happen. So, instead of living life in the past (not saying my friend does, but there are things she remembers that bring back those feelings of embarrassment/regret/why why why) I decided a while ago to allow myself to be thankful for all those "wrong" things I did oh so long ago (and oh so near ago). Those things, they helped me become the woman I am today.
I happen to like that woman. She's smart, funny, loving. She's got a great sense of self. She's kind to others. She still does stupid things. And that is what I love. She's human. Humans are not perfect. Nobody is.
Take a long look at your life. Your life NOW, as you know it. Are you happy with the person you have become? If so, fantastic! Thank that person you were while you were growing up for helping you along the way. If not, what can you do to change it?
Shame spirals are not 100% great, but they aren't 100% evil either. They are simply another tool, helping us learn how to live.