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Guilt vs. Shame

by James Thelen 09 Oct 2019 0 Comments

Shame is the emotion that says, “I am bad. I am unworthy.” It’s not that we did something bad and feel remorseful. That’s guilt. Guilt says, “I did something bad.” Shame is the internalization of “I am bad.” Like most things, we first experience feelings of shame at a young age. We quickly learn who we shouldn’t be in the world by our parents' reactions to our behavior. However, as we get older, we don’t need others to make us feel shame. It’s a feeling that is easily internalized which leads us to believe that is dangerous to let others hear our story in fear that they won’t accept or love us anymore. Will they see us as flawed, weak or immoral? This fear causes our lives to become a series of half-truths as we hide what we don’t want others to see. We put up walls that block us from having healthy relationships or experiencing self-love. What we have to realize, is that as we secretly carry this shame around in fear of judgment, our self-judgment actually grows the longer we conceal it. Our feelings of shame fester and become more powerful. We tend to become mentally or physically ill as well as feeling emotions like anxiety, anger, and loneliness. As a result, we develop destructive behaviors toward others such as avoidance, lying, blaming others and attempts to control others. The key to ridding yourself of shame is key to the message of Demons Behind Me. You are not the only one. I dare you to tell your story. I guarantee you will find someone who has experienced the same or even worse. This is where the freedom comes from. When you release your shame to others, you realize through their understanding that you are not actually flawed. The past is the past. All that matters is today. Stop hiding your feelings of shame and be your true self. You will be amazed at how many people accept you and all of your flaws. If they don’t, well, they weren’t meant for you to begin with. Those who truly love and care for you will understand and support you. Through this you will no longer need to feel shame. You are human and not perfect. So, let that Demon out and leave it behind you. If not, it will live eternally in your head while doing push-ups to become stronger. The strength to defeat it comes in numbers. Join the movement!

~Paul Phillips

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