Tag Archives: change

Shame vs. Guilt

Shame is bad.

Guilt can be good.

 

Shame is when someone eats an entire box of donuts and someone says, “You’re disgusting.” Or, “You will never be a good role model for kids”. Or something else equally shaming.

Guilt is when someone eats an entire box of donuts and someone says, “Eating all of those donuts in one sitting is kinda gross.” Or, “Eating all of those donuts isn’t something you want to model for your kids.”

 

Shame = YOU are wrong, bad, disgusting, an idiot, not good enough, etc.

Guilt = something you have DONE, an action or decision you’ve made, is bad, disgusting, and so on.

 

The difference may be in one word, but the difference is in reality, HUGE.

The difference between shame and guilt is whether or not we hate ourselves or something we’re doing.

 

Shame tells us (whether we heard it from ourselves or someone else) that there is something fundamentally wrong and disgusting about us. It tells us we aren’t good enough, we’re broken, we cannot achieve anything of value. Shame tells us that we have no value and never can.

Guilt, on the other hand, tells us when we aren’t doing something we approve of. Our actions, motives, or words aren’t lining up with our values or beliefs.

 

For example: Bob steals from Sandy.

Bob has three options.

Option A: Feel guilty.

Option B: Feel ashamed.

Option C: Feel guilty and ashamed.

 

Option A gives Bob the ability to say to himself, “hey, self – that was messed up! I don’t believe in stealing. I feel terrible about what I did. I know it was wrong.” This gives Bob the ability to make amends with the person and then make life changes to ensure he doesn’t steal again. This also allows Bob to tell himself that what he DID was wrong and bad and terrible. Bob does NOT believe Bob is wrong and bad and terrible. Guilt allows Bob to condemn his action of stealing, feel bad about it, make amends, then move forward with the intent of following through on his values and belief. Which, in this case, is ‘thievery is wrong’.

Bob also needs to look into why he stole, what his motives were, and so on. Guilt allows him to do that. It gives him the comfort that Bob is a good identity to have, a good person. Simply a person who made a bad decision and now needs to adjust his way of living to align his future actions with his values and beliefs.

 

 

Option B gives Bob a very limited doorway for positivity. This doorway is squeaked open only if Bob realizes he is shaming himself and needs to stop. Then targets his guilt and does the inner work.

If Bob doesn’t do this, and continues to shame himself, his inner monologue goes something like this.

“I stole something. I’m a horrible human being. Who steals from a working, single mother? I’m disgusting. No wonder I’m single, alone, hated, fat, gross, mean, etc. No wonder everyone hates me.” Bob feels disgusted with himself. He feels ashamed of who he is. Bob feels uncomfortable with his own existence and brings up every negative thing about himself, every negative situation, thought, and feeling from his life to back this theory up that Bob is indeed, a horrid excuse of a human being.

Guess was Bob does with this? He hates himself. And will repeat the thieving behavior. And then hate himself more. Rinse and repeat.

Shame keeps us locked in with whatever we hate about ourselves. Shame tells us there is no possibility for change because we are flawed at a basic level and can never be any good.

Shame lies to us and we do nothing to change.

 

Option C is what I’m fairly certain most of us feel.  And our shame smooshes our guilt with a twenty pound dumbbell again and again and again until it’s little more than a twitching inkling in the background of our minds that only further backs up our shame’s reasoning for why we are horrid human beings who deserve to suffer in their horrid human fate because that’s just how life is and we’re all going to die anyway! See option B.

 

We have a choice.

Choose option A.

Seriously.

We all do bad things. We all have and we all will. They’re called mistakes and we instantly recognize we just hurt someone’s feelings or have that liver clenching moment when we realize we forgot our best friend’s birthday.

We all do things wrong. That does not make US bad people. Unless we value hurting people to get ahead. Unless we value chopping people up in little bits. Unless we think it is fun to hurt people, animals, children, etc… we are not bad people.

We make human mistakes because *ahem* we are human. Not robots of unfeeling perfect precision. Thank heaven!

 

When we do things wrong, it is our responsibility to feel our guilt and do something about it for the better.

 

And I KNOW this is hard advice to follow. Three years into a support group and four years into therapy and it’s only now really pinging for me. But it does make sense. I has sunk into my stubborn skull, darting past the negative loops of habit ingrained in my brain.

We can all change for the better.

We have to want to.

And if all we do is shame ourselves, we will never fully believe we are capable and deserving of doing better, of change in the direction we want to go.

 

 

We are deserving. We are valuable. We can change. We can allow our guilt to help us to take a realistic look at our behaviors and spring us into becoming who we want to become. Who we choose to become.

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Who Am I?

I hate that question.

 

I hate writing “about” pages.

 

How on EARTH can I TELL YOU who I am???

Can you accurately tell me who you are?

How can any of us tell another who we 100% honestly, genuinely are?

We can tell people WHAT WE DO.

We can tell people WHAT WE DESIRE.

We can tell people WHAT WE FEEL.

 

But when it comes to WHO WE ARE, there are too many answers to sum a life up.

We are every single moment of our existence.

And we are different things to different people.

 

Perhaps to the grocery store clerk you’re the person who smiled at them.

To your child? Evil Lady Who Won’t Let Me Gorge in Chocolate Non-Stop.

 

How do we define ourselves?

How do others define us?

 

These questions are ping-ponging around in my head today.

I think we overcomplicate identity.

I think we oversimplify identity.

 

I think it’s a good thing I’m not allowed to give anyone else their identity and no one is allowed to give me mine.

We can change our minds.

Our identities.

We can change our beliefs, our looks, our desires, our feelings, our needs.

We can change everything. We can change our minds.

But we can never make up someone else’s mind about ANYTHING.

 

Stop worrying about what others think of you.

Poke at your fears, desires, needs, thoughts, feelings, fantasizes, actions, behaviors, etc.

Decide who you want to be.

Change.

Most importantly?

BE YOU.

 

Be okay with NOT having all the answers.

Be okay with not having any of the answers.

No one in the history of life has ever had everything figured out.

Be happy with being alive.

Having the options, opportunities, possibilities, etc.

Be happy with knowing you can change.

 

I guess the most important thing is to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Do what you want yourself to do.

Be who you want yourself to be.

 

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Day 3: Fear – Afraid My Tomorrow Will Be Just Like My Yesterday

This is part of a 30-day challenge where I will record myself telling you something I’m afraid of, something I’m afraid for people to know, or tell you about something that I did that I was afraid to do that day.

I challenge you to do the same.

It’s freeing. To take what you’re afraid of and do it. To expose it. To expose all of who you are (not telling you to flash your neighbors) for people to see.

I feel we live in a world where people are trying to pretend to be someone they’re not on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and on and on. We put up this fake self so that people think we’re only this small portion of who we really are. So here is all of me.


 

DAY THREE

 

 

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.”

Rumi

 

What are you afraid to begin as a ….. *ahem* beginner? 

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Day 2: Fear – Lying by Omission

This is part of a 30-day challenge where I will record myself telling you something I’m afraid of, something I’m afraid for people to know, or tell you about something that I did that I was afraid to do that day.

I challenge you to do the same.

It’s freeing. To take what you’re afraid of and do it. To expose it. To expose all of who you are (not telling you to flash your neighbors) for people to see.

I feel we live in a world where people are trying to pretend to be someone they’re not on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and on and on. We put up this fake self so that people think we’re only this small portion of who we really are. So here is all of me.


 

DAY TWO

 

‘Who are you?’ said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, ‘I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’

‘What do you mean by that?’ said the Caterpillar sternly. ‘Explain yourself!’

‘I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir’ said Alice, ‘because I’m not myself, you see.’

‘I don’t see,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘I’m afraid I can’t put it more clearly,’ Alice replied very politely, ‘for I can’t understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.’

‘It isn’t,’ said the Caterpillar.

‘Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,’ said Alice; ‘but when you have to turn into a chrysalis — you will some day, you know — and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you’ll feel it a little queer, won’t you?’

‘Not a bit,’ said the Caterpillar.

Source: http://sabian.org/alice_in_wonderland5.php

 

What are you afraid of today? What fear is holding you back from the greatness in you? Remember, greatness doesn’t have to be large. It can be very small indeed. Yet touch the lives of many, perhaps only one soul, in a very, very large way.


 

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Day 1: Fear – Looking My Worst On Camera

For the next 30 days, I am going to record myself telling you something I’m afraid of, something I’m afraid for people to know, or tell you about something that I did that I was afraid to do that day.

I challenge you to do the same.

It’s freeing. To take what you’re afraid of and do it. To expose it. To expose all of who you are (not telling you to flash your neighbors) for people to see.

I feel we live in a world where people are trying to pretend to be someone they’re not on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and on and on. We put up this fake self so that people think we’re only this small portion of who we really are. So here is all of me.

 

 

DAY ONE

Let’s rip this bandage off fast…

I was jogging and realized UGH people can kinda see me on the side of the road. I’m all sweaty and gross and my hair is a mess and my dark circles under my eyes look exaggerated because of how sweaty I am. And did I mention I look like I’m dying? I’M JOGGING! I probably look ready to go into cardiac arrest.

SO here I am, all sweaty, with horrible lighting with a camera bought over ten years ago, no clue how to hold a camera to make myself look good (I even had to ask my sister to help me take selfies because I didn’t know how to get the angle so I didn’t look like a conehead) and terrible lighting.

In a world where looking perfect and plastic and having perfect hair and makeup is MUY IMPORTANTE …. here is me, looking my worst.

 

 

….. I am STILL ALIVE! *passes out*

 

 

I am waiting for that feeling to hit. You know the one where you get in bed at night and your brain *dings* on what you did that day that you want to take back – you know, when you’re comfortable, ready for sleep, then your brain sits up and says WHAT ARE YOU DOING??????? GO DELETE THAT RIGHT NOW, I DON’T CARE IF YOU WAKE UP YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY, I DON’T CARE IF YOU WAKE THE NEIGHBORS, GO TAKE THAT DOWN RIGHT NOW YOU PSYCHO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!….. Yeah, that voice. I’m waiting for that one.

 

 

JUST SO YOU KNOW there was zero preparation for this. I came in from a jog and grabbed my dinky camera before I could talk myself out of it. I didn’t even check to see if I was holding the camera well enough to capture my face. I mean, part of me was like, oh well, if not, hey! That’s actually better!! Then they won’t see me, mwahahahahahaha! But yeah, crap, I did alright on that one. I didn’t plan what I was going to say or even know what I would sound like. And jeeze, if being in front of a camera isn’t scary!

 

 

What are you afraid of doing today?

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Time

Time passes in an odd way.

We think we’ve got everything figured out and then it all crumbles under the weight of quick breaths, strangled emotions, and not enough…. wait…

I think we’ve got it backward. Jumbled. Mixed up. We’re desperately grasping for threads as we sit upon a bed of yarn.

Time isn’t moments ticking by.

Time is patient. It is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It breathes deep. Caresses the mourning with pain and love too poignant to articulate. Welcomes the sunrise and stands in awe of the majesty of the forest and brooks and antlers brushing against the leaves, lifting tawny head to the rays blossoming into the sky. It sighs as we rush, hurry, think ourselves into disarray and hectic misery.

Time understands that we cannot force anything, anyone.

Holds our hand as we bite our lip and hold the tears in. Smiles against our eyelashes as we all but burst with the succulent blooming of spend your life with me.

Time imbues our veins with the thrill of success, passion that ignites drive, and the simple ecstasy of a life being lived in the right direction.

Learning from the past. Planning for the future. Dreaming. Hoping. Yearning. Yet time is ever aware. Here. Now. Breathing in. Breathing out. Waiting is not a pause. Though sometimes we need both.

Time rejoices at the birth of all life, ideas, love. Sorrows at the loss, the end, the dying. Comforts, revitalizes through the rebirth.

Time is whatever we make of it. Quite literally. Paradoxically, we can never change time. Never go back. Redo. We can start again, fresh.

Time is joy. Time is loss. Time is depth and scratching the surface. Waiting through the pain until we feel we might go mad from atrophy, the dismal slide into entropy. Running in the rain, splashing through the built-up water in the cavities of life until our socks are soaked and our laughter and tears mix in a bursting of something our chest cannot hold. Time is happily not knowing what lurks around the corner. Fear of possible pain. Fear that tomorrow will be precisely as today is.

Time is hope. There is always enough. It is we who must wait. Time cannot.

 

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Serenity

Serenity is a hard commodity to come by.

Even harder to hold onto.

Tragedy, loss, pain, affliction, confusion, chaos… these things happen in life. They are part of life.

This does not mean we cannot have and hold onto serenity. Peace. An assurance that I am okay, I have what I need, and a Higher Power will provide for me. I have loved ones. I have myself. I have hope.

 

I read a quote. I don’t know where it came from.

It reads:

“You’ve seen better days, but you’ve also seen worse. You might not have everything you want, but you have everything you need. You woke up with some aches and pains, but you woke up. Your life may not be perfect, but you sure are blessed. Life is a beautiful thing.”

 

You woke up with aches and pains. Whether emotional or physical or both.

But

You

Woke

Up

 

Isn’t that the point?

We woke up.

We’re given another chance.

Another day filled with options, opportunities, challenges to be overcome, pain to be felt and learned from, love to feel and spread, beauty to experience.

We have another chance to do it right.

 

We woke up.

 

I love the serenity prayer.

Speaking to our Higher Power, whatever or whoever we believe and however we believe, we ask:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And wisdom to know the difference…

 

I cannot change and/or control people, places, things, situations.

I can change me. What I feel. What I do with what I feel. What I think. What I do with what I think. What steps I make to move forward with my own health and life. I can do this with dignity and respect to and for all, including myself always.

We all have that option. Though it might not always be an easy one. It is a good one to strive for. To practice. To decide it is important and worthy, as are we.

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