Entry 5- Guilt and Shame

“The old is gone. The new is here.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

The only thing we can try and do is repair the past and ourselves. Doing so, will allow room for the new. Or, you can hold on to guilt and shame and continue living in a cycle of despair and anguish.

The choice is ultimately yours.

What is guilt and what is shame?                                                                                        

Guilt is driven by our behaviors and shame is driven by how we think and feel about ourselves.

Some say, guilt is driven by our beliefs and shame is driven by our values. Both can develop from our upbringing and societal norms.

When does guilt and shame become a problem?

Guilt becomes an issue when it is effecting us in such a way that we cannot stop thinking about what we have done, regardless of the apology and repair we have attempted to make.
Shame becomes an issue when we begin to feel unworthy, undeserving and inadequate.

Both can lead to depression, anxiety and anger.

What are signs of guilt and shame?

Guilt can look like: avoidance, defensiveness, excuses and rumination.
Shame can look like: anger, denial, defensiveness and self-blame.

Sound familiar? Look below for some ways shown to help decrease guilt and shame.                                                                                                                                    

Explore your beliefs and values. Who influenced your way of thinking, your morals, the way you look and feel about yourself?
Self forgiveness. You did the best you could. You apologized and attempted to make amends. It’s time to move on.
Accountability. Own up to your choices and what you did to hinder or hurt others.
Self-compassion. Be kind to yourself. Don’t say or think things to yourself that you wouldn’t allow others to say to you.
Positive affirmations. You are deserving of love and acceptance.
Increase and explore your self-worth and esteem.
Re-frame your way of thinking. Write your thoughts out and counter it with something more helpful, factual and constructive.

If you have been living with guilt and shame, you deserve to live a life free of guilt and shame. It’s time to say goodbye to the old and hello to the new.

Live mindfully, hopeful and persevere.

Until next time!

Claudia Stanley, LMSW

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