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Shame and Guilt

Shame & Guilt Overview

Someone once said that the difference between guilt and shame is simple; one means “I made a mistake” while the other means “I am a mistake.”

When we engage in acts or behaviors that violate principles in which we believe, guilt arises like an internal compass telling us we are heading in the wrong direction. Guilt is a healthy and normal expression of our conscience, without which we cannot hope to take corrective action in order to get back on track or make amends. Shame on the other hand is based on how we perceiveothers judge our behavior or beliefs. These perceptions are most likely the result of another person’s need to control us, which we have consciously or unconsciously accepted in exchange for their acceptance, approval or love. When a person is guided by shame, they develop a belief that they are flawed, inferior and incapable of ever measuring up. Caught in in a compulsive cycle of trying, failing and dealing with the shame that arises as a result, many turn to the abuse of substances or other compulsive behaviors to help them cope.

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At inneractions we understand that detoxifying oneself from unhealthy shame is essential in establishing and maintaining an existence based instead on positive self worth and fulfillment.

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