Let’s Dump Our Guilt and Shame

I’ve thought a lot about the toll guilt and shame have taken on my being and I wonder if these two emotions are not a problem in many peoples’ lives, especially those who break down in some way, such as people like me who get sick, or who are homeless for many years of their lives.

How can anyone have confidence or imagine success when wracked with guilt, or if we are separated from family or friends due to the shame we feel? It’s much harder to go through life separated from loved ones because they are embarrassed or ashamed of us. I guess that’s the point, though.

Have you ever wondered why we are who we are? Doesn’t it make sense that we enter into life to be who we really are? That would mean that we are born to the life we have chosen specifically for us to learn what we’re made of, and to grow from the understanding we gain through living our lives. We might try to suppress certain inclinations, but we can’t, because that from which we hide (even if only from ourselves) raises its ugly head in surprising ways, usually at the worst possible moment for maximum humiliation. At least, that’s the way it worked for me. 🙂

Our conscience was meant to be our guide, not to trigger years of wallowing in guilt and hiding in shame. Not only does wallowing separate us from others, it separates us from God because we put up a wall there: “Don’t try to talk to me, God. At all! I know what I’ve done and that I’m one of your black-sheep rejects. I get it, okay?”

That voice is not Love talking. It is the darker part of our human nature that, at least until we are willing to stand toe-to-toe with it, manipulates us away from the light. I see this like we are all in a movie with a great battle between Love and fear and fear wants to control us, while Love desires only to heal us.

What a wonderful world it would be if we could bag up our guilt and shame and take it all to the dump. Then those of us who harshly denounce others could go and trade in our condemnation for compassion. We’d be people at peace with each other and yes, that would be a wonderful world.


7 thoughts on “Let’s Dump Our Guilt and Shame

  1. It’s important when talking about guilt and shame to understand their critical differences. As I see it, guilt, which is an inappropriately high level of regret, is about what we’ve done. Shame is about who we are. Neither is desirable, but given a choice I’ll take guilt because it can in some way be made amends for but it can be much harder to change who/what we perceive ourselves to be. It is our choice as to which is the sponsor of our thoughts, whether fear or love, helping each other make the right choices is an expression of the latter which as you said, is pretty wonderful!

    • Thanks, Alton. What a great explanation of guilt and shame. I always thought shame was what we felt when others condemned us. But I like that shame is about who we are and you’re right, that perception of ourselves is much harder to change. It’s definitely way better to forgive ourselves, forgive others and move on. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom.

  2. “I always thought shame was what we felt when others condemned us”.

    It’s not what other people may call us that matters,

    It’s only what we answer to that does!

  3. What a great post! Growing up in Austria, under Catholic do’s and don’ts, guilt and shame were such a big part of my life. Can’t remember ever not feeling both of those, greatly, while growing up and into much of my later years. And even to this day I have to watch that I don’t again fall into the guilt and shame trap. I sincerely hope to extricate both guilt and shame from my being before I move on. Love is definitely the antidote so it behooves me to bathe myself in love and then spread it all around me.

  4. I’ve got a graduate degree in guilt with a minor in shame(joke!). I notice that the subject emerges one way or another in my fiction. I think it’s important to recognize when we are not being true to ourselves and our God, to forgive and move on. That’s guilt. Shame is toxic and useless and I believe related to what we fear others think about us. It takes a lifetime to learn these lessons.
    Merry Christmas, friend.

    • Hi Victoria!
      It’s such a shame in a way, that taking a lifetime thing. If I had one wish, it would be to grant your wisdoms to all of us no later than 30! But, we got there, didn’t we? My best to you and your hubby and your puppies.
      Love you,

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