All posts tagged: guilt and shame

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 …