According to psychologists, the answer is sometimes. But these same psychologists assert that this is not where they should stay. Both don't feel too great, but one of them serves a valuable purpose while the other is not too much unlike that prison door back in Salem or the scarlet letter Hester Prynne wore constantly affixed to her chest.
This week, I would like you to read an article that explores the differences between guilt and shame and how they affect us throughout our lives. Then, there is a short video that very clearly gives us a definitive line between guilt and shame. It is pretty eye opening. I can honestly say that it really increased my awareness of how I have evaluated my own shortcomings and those of others. Once again, the power of our words is emphasized. The tiniest change in our language expression to ourselves and others can make a world of difference: "I made a very careless error," vs. "I am a very careless person."
Guilt requires cognitive dissonance--a sense that a very important moral code or valued rule has been broken. Shame, on the other hand, does not necessarily require the breaking of a rule or moral code. It could come from feeling wronged or embarrassed. Guilt is more closely associated with me hurting someone else in some way while shame may also be associated with a hurt that has been inflicted upon myself. How does this apply to our literature, The Scarlet Letter? Hester felt internal guilt for adultery, but the scarlet A she wore made her a victim of disapproval and ostracization. That, my friends, is shame.
Here is the link for the article: http://www.beyondintractability.org/essay/guilt-shame
Here is the link for the short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgm5PdENAxM
Enjoy, and share your reactions.
Are you holding on to some hidden shame? Something that is inhibiting you from moving forward and becoming the best version of you? Reflect on these two messages, and then maybe you will enjoy the freedom Hester discovered for one precious moment on a walk through a forest.... "The stigma gone, Hester heaved a long, deep sigh, in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit. O exquisite relief! She had not known the weight