Shame Vs. Guilt

I’ve often heard that the two most powerful words are “I AM”

When working on improving and changing your life, using the words I AM before the affirmation has a very positive effect.  Recently I’ve been listening to Dr. Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly and realized the other side of those very powerful words.

It was very eye opening to realize the difference between shame and guilt and that the main difference is the use of those two words.  As defined by Dr. Brown shame is believing you are the cause of something wrong where guilt is believing you’ve done something wrong.

Many times we take on the responsibility of others perception and automatically begin the shame conversation in our heads.  “I’m such an idiot, I’m so stupid.  Why did I do that?, I’m not smart enough, etc”  We learn this at an early age when we make simple mistakes.  Adults often berate us in unfortunate ways, maybe knowingly or not with similar statements.  It becomes automatic to talk down to yourself when ever something happens.

The difference between shame and guilt is the fact that guilt is something you feel when you do something you regret.  The main difference is the conversation in your head; I did vs. I am.

You feel guilty when you do something that you later realize you probably shouldn’t have.  You may have known better, acted spontaneously or even been greedy or selfish in your action and thus you feel guilty.  With shame you feel the outcome is because of you, “They would have chosen us if I wasn’t such an idiot”.

So how do we stop shaming ourselves and love ourselves for exactly what we are?

The first and most important step is to change the “I AM’s”  Write down 10 “I AM” statements to carry with you and when something happens that you feel ashamed of take them out and find one relevant and replace the negative statement with a positive one.

The second most important step is to disconnect.  Stop attaching yourself to someone’s perception.  Because your boss thinks that ad, plan or project is awful, stupid or junk doesn’t make it so.  It makes it his/her opinion and that’s all.  It doesn’t mean your boss is wrong.  It means that’s what they believe is based on their experiences and knowledge.  There may have been a break in communication or some information he/she is missing.  It doesn’t mean you’re stupid.

The last step is love.  You were, are and always will be enough.  You are good enough, you are smart enough and you are enough of everything you need to be.

This book has touched a very sensitive place for me. I’m an expert at negative self-talk which is changing and I’m happy to say I can stop it as it’s happening and change it to something positive and uplifting and completely change my mood and viewpoint instantly.

It’s ok to feel guilty about making a poor decision, we all do it.  We should never feel shame.  We should never feel ashamed to want, ashamed to be or ashamed to have.  We are all worthy of everything our hearts desire, we are all smart enough and we are all love and loved.

Check out the book.  You’ll be glad you did.




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