Is Shame the same as guilt?

20190501_110436Shame and guilt may at first seem similar but are in fact very different. Guilt is something we feel if we have DONE something wrong. Shame is a feeling that we ARE wrong. In childhood we may have been teased or bullied at school or have been the last one chosen to be on a team, or not known the answers when called upon in the classroom, or have been rejected by the girl or boy we had a crush on.

Shame is a powerful emotion. When you think back to the shaming experiences of your childhood it is likely that you are catapulted right back to those painful moments—almost as if you were experiencing them today. Shame is a feeling deep within us of being exposed and unworthy. When we feel shamed we want to hide. We hang our heads, stoop our shoulders and curve inward as if trying to make ourselves invisible

The sinking feeling in your stomach, the experience of suddenly feeling very small, inadequate or “less than” other people. The feeling of wanting to hide out of embarrassment.

“Shame is the sense that we dont belong. It’s a conviction that we are intrinsically defective, even in a way that we cannot identify. We believe there is something wrong with us, and so we are excluded and unwanted. We are outside the group. We don’t belong.” Carolyn Spring

Working with shame involves developing self compassion alongside the compassion of others who can validate every ounce of pain you are feeling giving you hope that it can be soothed.

Your needs are not wrong, they are the essence of you.

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