All posts tagged: dealing with shame Christian

The difference between guilt and shame

As a mental health professional, I’m often asked the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is “I did something wrong.” Shame is “I am what is wrong.” Guilt is “I violated a norm, a societal expectation, or a requirement set out by God.” Shame is “I am at my core without any worth.” Guilt originates from selfishness or self-centredness. Shame originates from trauma, from life experiences that overwhelm one’s emotional and mental capacity. Guilt requires forgiveness, restitution to those who have been harmed, and a decision of your will to change the guilty behaviour. Shame requires a reorientation of one’s brain to align itself with what is true. Guilt wears a person down. Shame destroys what it means to be a unique person who can enter into the joy of their relationship with a loving God. Guilt points a person to what needs to change in his/her life. Shame prevents a person from wanting to change because of a core belief that s/he doesn’t deserve wellness and normalcy. I deal daily with people who are …

Stepping out of the swamp of shame

Guilt and shame are emotions we deal with all the time and it is wise for us to understand the difference between the two. Guilt can have a positive influence in our lives. When we feel guilty about what we are doing it motivates us to change. It encourages us to reconcile with those we have hurt or offended. There is also a redemptive quality as we seek God’s forgiveness. But shame is different. It does not want to change you; it wants to beat you down. It keeps bringing up your failures and weaknesses again and again. Its sole goal is to humiliate you. Shame tries to define who you are. Even after we have asked God to forgive us, shame keeps shaking our sin and failure in front of us. Unlike God, it doesn’t want you to forget your past, because it is screaming in our face how bad we are. Shame isolates us and keeps us hooked up with feelings of being unworthy or never good enough. We believe there has always …