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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shame vs. Guilt

Shame (Webster) is defined as a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety; a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute, deep personal humiliation and disgrace, dishonorable conduct. There is a significant difference in the definitions of shame and guilt. Shame and guilt can exist simultaneously. Many times they do which is why they are confused and are not differentiated. Guilt is more concerned with doing something wrong. Making a mistake produces guilt. Guilty people fear punishment. Shame comes when a person is judged because of doing something wrong. Shame carries with it a feeling of not being wanted. Shame based people do not feel worthy. Shame carries with it a judgment that a person doesn’t measure up. This judgment can come from others. Most detrimentally, it comes from the person. A shame based person never gets away from their own self-condemnation. Physical characteristics of shame include: looking away from eye contact, a racing heart when in social situations, blushing, nausea, strong desire to get away, and the inability to speak or think. Shame people fear abandonment. Oh no, there’s that word again. Shame began in the Garden. The account of this can be found in Genesis, Chapter 3. Sin entered in where there had once been perfect love. This produced fear. Adam and Eve hid because they were afraid. They had become separated from God. I believe their fear was fear of abandonment. I believe they hid because they did not feel worthy (shame).

Learn more by reading October 2011 Love in Action Newsletter @ Newsletter Archives

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