I’m sure that just hearing those words, your mind took you to a particular incident that you’re not proud of. Psychology Today explains that shame happens when you fall short of “societal moral standards”, whereas guilt is when you fall short of your own.
Many people who struggle with feelings of guilt and shame are often stuck in a cycle that they can’t seem to get out of. The unfortunate part is that it is often paralyzing, and can lead to resentment and depression. The torment that we feel limits us from fully engaging in what life has available for us, strains relationships, and can leave us questioning our self-worth.
The truth is that dwelling on the past hurts us more than it helps us. Our minds have an unfortunate way of hooking us into unhelpful cycles by recalling memories that are hurtful and painful. Constantly feeling guilty and ashamed can then cloud our judgement and stagnate our personal growth. Whether what you’re guilty or ashamed of was something small or something that had huge consequences, ruminating over our thoughts to the point that we can’t see the good in ourselves and hope for the future doesn’t make things better.
Take these steps today to overcome the sting of guilt and shame, and move towards a more fulfilling life:
A part of living life is making mistakes. You’ve made many mistakes in your past, and will make many more in the future! Accepting that no one’s perfect can be difficult, but understanding this can help to reduce your suffering.
Improve the Future
How can you take what you’ve learned from your experience to better yourself in the future? We can’t change the past, but we have the ability to shape our future. How can you apply the lessons you’ve learned towards future actions so that you can live a life that you’re proud of? How can you inspire others to overcome their guilt and shame?
It can be difficult to feel good about ourselves when we’ve done something we’re not proud of, but self-compassion is vital to overcoming guilt and shame. Forgiving yourself starts with acceptance and the commitment to be better. Challenge negative thoughts about yourself and practice positive self-talk to encourage healing.
Source: Burton, N. (2017, March 16). What’s the Difference Between Guilt and Shame? Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201703/whats-the-difference-between-guilt-and-shame