Guilt = you don’t measure up to someone else’s standards and expectations
Shame = you don’t measure up to your own standards and expectations
Guilt = bad.
Shame = healthy.
Guilt is a self-sustaining poison that can insidiously become an addiction.1
Shame is a warning system that tells us we’re not being the best version of ourselves.
It pays to examine the source of all your standards – are they coming from within or without?
1 Massive Footnote:
The reason one keeps feeling guilty for the same thing over and over, is because one repeatedly fails to match a standard set by an external source e.g. parents, friends, lovers, persons you admire, society in general.
The reason for repeated failure is, that deep down inside, you don’t care about achieving it.
No great sense of triumph or lightness will fill you if you were to accomplish it. Someone will feel triumph, yes, because their standards just got met through your modifying your behavior – but it won’t be you.
And that’s the reason you keep failing to meet their expectations. Guilt takes root. Unhappy & unhealthy.
If you’re making someone do something they aren’t motivated to do themselves, then it isn’t love, it’s resource management – they’re a resource that must act this way or that for your comfort & convenience. Same for the other way round.
Should you be trying and trying and trying to comply with something you know you will fail to achieve, for fear of displeasing someone who doesn’t love you enough to leave you alone and just be your own true self?
And then getting ‘high’ on the rush of that familiar emotion…guilt? Like all addictions, it has only one outcome.