Shame and guilt, often used interchangeably, are different experiences with distinct effects. Guilt, the feeling we get when we’ve done something wrong, is adaptive and helpful, prompting discomfort when our actions contradict our values and facilitating self-reflection and restitution. Shame, on the other hand, is the feeling that we are what’s wrong, that we are unworthy, bad or broken. It offers no constructive or restorative path, instead opening a pit of self-deprecation and low self-esteem, with no ladder to climb out. This destructive force can lead to depression, anger and hurtful behaviour toward others, further feeding the shame cycle.
In this episode of Mentally Stronger, I help you distinguish the two feelings and delve into a potential source of persistent feelings of shame. I provide three pointers for healthier handling of both feelings, so you can foster healthier relationships with yourself and others and live in a way that promotes personal growth, happiness, and empowerment.