All posts tagged: Shame

Dealing with our shame and fear

2020 will go down as the year that everyone wants to forget, but will probably be the one we are most likely to remember. A recent survey conducted by Lifeway Research asked Americans what is the one feeling they most want to avoid this year. Not surprising, the big winner was fear, with 41% stating that this was the number one emotion they most wanted to get rid of. It suggests that for many Americans, fear is lurking in the background as people go about their everyday lives. But it’s not surprising that fear topped the list. Americans have faced a two pronged attack in 2020, with governments, the mainstream media and health officials driving a fear pandemic about COVID, and this combined with social unrest as protests and riots spread, have made an emotional impact. The second emotion that people wanted to get rid of was ‘shame,’ which at 24% came in a far second, followed by guilt at 22%. It was a complete turn around from 2016, when a similar survey by Lifeway …

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 …

Trees spring to life. Credit: hoho_simon/Flickr/Creative Commons

Unwrapping guilt and shame

I remember feeling numb and barely able to move at times as I began to take responsibility for some of my harsh experiences in past years. Whoever else I had been blaming for my problems was no longer the issue. I had to be real and heal. Denial that I could have possibly played a part or even been responsible for some of my  experiences kept me in the dark. Denial does that. It could include denial about our part in a relationship gone wrong, a breakdown in family relationships or a situation turned bad at work. Facing the facts and focusing on the role we may have played is the first step to turning things around in our lives. When we remove denial and start owning up (being real, and honest) about some things that have not gone particularly well, we begin to move from death to life. The scales  fall from our eyes as we take responsibility (even if it was just a small part). But once we have accepted our role, we …