Guilt and Shame

I’ve been listening to a lot of TED Talks lately and this morning, I learned something new about guilt and shame.

In a few words, they are not the same thing (insert that weird laugh that most often shows up in the therapists office here). Guilt is a reflection on your behavior, and shame is a reflection on your person. In other words, guilt says, “I’m sorry I MADE a mistake” and shame says, “I’m sorry, I AM a mistake.” See? It’s so easy to come back from a place of guilt, to sit back and regroup and be better; shame, not so much. Can you guess which one is allowed and which one is not? Yep! You’re right. Shame is not allowed, guilt is. But you have to take that guilt and use it as a tool to figure out why things didn’t turn out well and figure out how to be better.

What do you think? Is feeling guilty a sign of weakness? Is it an admission of fault? Do you think that it’s a necessary part of life? Or is it just an emotion felt by girls and wusses? Do you have to admit guilt in order to see where you could have acted differently? Or are they mutually exclusive items? Please post your thoughts in the comments.

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