Shame vs Healthy Guilt

I know right, your probably wondering how the two aren’t the same. Earlier this week in my self esteem group therapy session, this was our topic. Right off the bat I read a sentence outloud:

Shame says there IS something wrong with me. 

Guilt says I have DONE something wrong.

After I read that, I became puzzled. For as far as I can remember, I have felt that the two are intertwined. The object of this discussion was to show and being to understand that there is a difference.

So we used the example of breaking a plate.

1. When I did what I did I told myself: Holy Crap (Guilt) then I would catastrophize which is when your thoughts become larger. Mine would go to “I’m going to get into trouble”. 

2. One of the things I might learn from the experience is: as a kid the object is more valuable than I am. (this is how it is interpreted, most likely not what it is).

3. One of the ways to avoid this mistake in the future is: “to take back my thought” which is called (Mastery)

4. I would like myself more:“by recognizing that the situation isn’t as bad as it feels”

5. When I act against my personal values: “I feel like I am sabotaging my healthy values” (which is what my adult mind believes).

6. I am becoming aware that if I learn from this experience without judgment, I: “am free (as an adult) to say its ok, let’s make it better. 

7. As I imagine how I would feel if I behaved more appropriately in the future,- “my reaction is being able to cope, to accept and move forward”. 

The last question didn’t sound right to me, so we as a group broke it down and reworded it, hence my answer being more authentic to what I believe.

Self Esteem Therapy has been a real eye opener and am glad it goes til the end of September. After that I roll onto 2 other groups, of which they are both very intense.

I have really found these sessions, combined with my medication are helping me with my bpd and bipolar.






4 thoughts on “Shame vs Healthy Guilt

  1. Shame is such a crippling thing, isn’t it? This is a very vulnerable, and good look at shame vs. guilt, and something that I have thought about in my own life. I think it is only in self-examination that we can begin to break the destructive cycles of shaming ourselves over, and over again. We can choose to live in freedom. Thanks for the good read!

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