Now Reading
Shame Vs Guilt: Understanding The Key Difference And The Effects On Our Experience Of Failure

Shame Vs Guilt: Understanding The Key Difference And The Effects On Our Experience Of Failure

Updated on Jul 20, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD , Certified Psychiatrist

Shame vs Guilt - Meaning, Cultures - Brene Brown Shame Vs Guilt

Key Takeaways

  • Shame and guilt are two different self regulatory, self conscious emotions.
  • Men and women feel shame differently.
  • Guilt can be more constructive than shame, when correctly dealt with.
  • Shame particularly can have a negative effect on our mental health.

Shame vs guilt can be best explained through their different meanings. Shame is the emotion you feel when you, as a person, are in the wrong. Guilt is when you have done something wrong. 

Shame is something that is reflected on the person, whereas guilt is reflected in the act. The two may sound similar, but as you will see, there is a major difference in their meaning. 

Shame vs guilt is an important topic to discuss, as the two often do go hand in hand. Many people can even feel both at the same time, and thus think they are the same.

Read on further to understand the key differences between them.

Shame Vs Guilt Infographics

Shame Vs Guilt - Understanding The Definition & Key Differences
Shame Vs Guilt – Understanding The Definition & Key Differences
Shame Vs Guilt - Influencing Factors & How to Overcome It
Shame Vs Guilt – Influencing Factors & How to Overcome It

What Is Shame Vs Guilt – A General Interpretation

Shame and guilt are negative, self conscious emotions. Shame focuses on the self, is harder to resolve, is more intensely felt and is born out of critical self judgment. Guilt focuses on the wrong act, can be more healthy and can be constructively resolved. 

Shame and guilt are related emotions, but not the same. Let us understand them individually first. 

Shame is the negative emotion you feel when you have done something you should not have. It reflects on how you feel like a person and how you feel about yourself. It also reflects how you feel you will be judged by others. 

The shame is not specific. For example, a person can feel shame over something that another person does not care about. Failing a year of school, for example, can make someone experience shame. 

The person may worry that their life will be judged by this one aspect of their life. It is not merely embarrassment; shame is much deeper than that. It reflects on how the person views their whole self.

In this regard, guilt is different. Guilt is when you do one thing that is wrong. Guilt, particularly, focuses on the action more than the whole self. 

A person feeling guilty about lying can confess the truth and ensure that they don’t repeat the lie again. Guilt can thus be overcome by simple steps to rectify the situation.

Shame on the other hand is not rectified so easily. Shame would mean the person feels that by lying they have become a bad person. No simple steps can shake that feeling away. 

Hence, the difference between shame and guilt stems from the points mentioned below. 

1. The act vs the person 

Guilt focuses on how you felt after doing a particular thing; shame focuses on how you feel about your whole self after doing a particular thing.

This is not to say both emotions cannot be felt at the same time. For example, cheating on your partner can result in guilt as well as shame.

The guilt may be about the cheating itself, the shame comes because you found yourself capable of cheating. 

This is the thought of a person who feels shame – I am a bad person. On the other hand, a person who feels guilty thinks – I did a bad thing. 

2. The resolution

Secondly, shame vs guilt is different based on how they can be resolved. Shame is a deeper emotion, and hence more difficult to resolve. It affects the whole sense of self of a person. 

Guilt is more simply resolved by taking steps in the right direction. It does not mean guilt is not deeply felt. It is only because guilt is more action-oriented, that the path to resolution is simpler. 

3. The experience 

Both are negative emotions, and most people experience feeling guilty and feeling ashamed. The difference lies in how long we have experienced them. 

Even really young kids report feeling shame when they were growing up. Parents may intentionally or unintentionally make a child feel shame and vulnerability.

When parents constantly criticize their children, it makes them feel ashamed. 

This comes from their fear that they are not good enough for their parents. The shame they feel is often unnoticed till they grow older and realize that their self-image has suffered because of it. 

Guilt is a focus on behavior. Hence, guilt is experienced for shorter times and maybe felt repeatedly over smaller or bigger things done by the person.

Guilt may even be felt for a very short time, with very low intensity, depending on the act. 

4. The reason 

Lastly, one of the key differences between shame vs guilt is the reason for it. We feel shame for ourselves, because of how we judge our own actions. Shame is felt for our own self, rather, our whole self. 

We feel guilty when we do something that harms someone else. Whether it is lying, cheating, or even stealing, we mainly feel guilty because our wrong actions can hurt others. 

Shame can actually have nothing to do with others. Shame is a focus on ourselves. It is influenced by people telling us what is good and what is not.

The main reason for it however is usually a negative reflection of ourselves. 

Even with all the differences mentioned, there is still a lot of similarity between the two. We can even feel shame when we become aware of our own guilt. 

Shame vs Guilt: External and Internal Influences

Shame and guilt are both influenced by external and internal influences. Let us look at both in-depth. 

1. Internal influences on shame

Parents and other authority figures in our life often inculcate shame within us from a young age.

We are taught that certain things we do reflect on us either positively or negatively.  Often, we start believing these things deeply and extend it to more aspects of our life. 

For example, if a person has grown to be a perfectionist, he or she may feel ashamed if their work does not turn out fine.

Their inner need to be perfect and a failed outcome of a certain task can make them feel shame. 

Similarly, if a person is not bothered by what was taught to them, does not have any inner needs like perfectionism, then he may not feel shame at all.

This holds true even if they entirely fail at the task at hand. 

2. External influences on shame 

External influences on shame are deeper than most other things parents pass on to their children. Parents very easily reward their child’s good behavior and just as easily judge their bad behavior. 

However, it is very important to remember how this was communicated to the child.

For example, if a parent makes a child feel bad about how they are performing, the child may develop feelings of shame at a very early age. 

He or she may feel like by not performing well, they have become an incapable person, which leads to shame.

Parents or other important figures in their life often make them further believe this by continuing to judge them. 

3. Internal influences on guilt 

Guilt is also a common human emotion. The main internal influence on guilt is when a person feels deeply attached to the person they have hurt.

This means that if they believe they truly care for someone; they should not hurt them. 

Thus, any wrong activity they do against them leads to a higher level of guilt. People may even feel guilty about things that matter to them significantly.

Thus, if a person believes cheating is wrong but still cheats, they experience more guilt over it. 

4. External influence on guilt 

People even feel guilty because of others around them. For example, if they live in a family which values punctuality, they will feel very guilty about being late somewhere.

They may even feel guilty if they are late to meet other friends. 

This means that their guilt comes mainly from the value attached to certain actions by the people around them.

This external influence of guilt is often used by many companies and groups to keep its participants in check. 

Brene Brown Shame Vs Guilt

Brene Brown is a vulnerability researcher, author, and prolific speaker. She talks about the power of vulnerability, shame as a label, the constructivity of guilt over shame as well as the differences between the two. 

While we are learning about shame and guilt, one of the most prominent speakers of the topic is Brene Brown.

She has written the book – Daring Greatly: How The Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms The Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. 

People have loved reading her book because she studiously looks at universal human emotions and experiences.

These include guilt, shame, and vulnerability, among others. Through this book, she encourages more vulnerability in people. 

We often assume that guilt and shame are negative emotions, and vulnerability is a sign of weakness. Her words however transform this idea.

She further discussed her views in her ted talks and her bestselling book. 

Brene Brown – Book

Through her book, Brene Brown tries to highlight the difference between shame and guilt. Her book explores how this key difference can change our life. 

She essentially tries to explain this through the example of experiments. For example; one experiment explores two groups of people and whether or not they take a price that they did not earn. 

The group that was told about ‘cheating’ before being presented with the price was keener on claiming the price. The other group was given lines ‘people who are cheaters’ before the activity.

This shows that as long as people felt they were merely cheating, they felt less guilty about it. People were really trying to avoid being labeled as a cheater. 

This shows that by shaming people less, and by taking away certain labels, parents could actually make their kids less shame prone.

Guilt was something you could deal with; shame has a more significant negative impact on a child.

Brene Brown – Ted Talk – Power of Vulnerability 

Through her Ted Talk and other activism, Brown tries to get people to understand the difference between guilt and shame. In her own words, “Shame is a focus on self; guilt is a focus on behavior.”  

In this talk, Brown tells her audience that she tried to trace her vulnerability. She wanted to explore what made people feel vulnerable. Through her questions and research, she arrived at ‘shame.’ 

Shame made people fear disconnection. Love and belonging, on the other hand, made people achieve a sense of worthiness. This worthiness can even make people feel more courageous. 

This is simply because they feel they have the space to make mistakes. They don’t fear imperfections or mistakes, because, at the end of the day, their self-worth gives them courage. 

This talk showed how taking the shame out of the problem can lead to so much more. It is the power of vulnerability, as when we truly become open to it, we can be more courageous. 

Brene Brown – Ted Talk – Listening to Shame 

After her talk on vulnerability, Brown also spoke of shame, as that was her major area of study for years. It was in fact through her study of shame that she came across vulnerability as a subject. 

In this talk, she suggests that failure is a part of life. It is such an important part that every person, whether successful or not, has experienced it at least once or twice. Perhaps even more than that. 

People still focus on success stories only, because the aspect of shame makes it difficult to celebrate failure. In fact, shame has made it difficult to even acknowledge failure. It makes people not want to dare to dream big. 

Being afraid of failure makes people scared to try. This fear is nothing but shame. This happens because shame is reflected so heavily on the person’s whole self, it becomes a label.

The person starts believing that they are not good or capable enough. 

According to her, shame is a limiting thing that makes a person stop trying. Even if a person is highly capable, when he makes a mistake, his shame makes him feel ‘he’s not good enough.’ 

If there was no shame attached, his mistake would only make him feel guilt. He would only think, ‘I made an error.’ Without shame, he would have no trouble trying again to fix things. 

She talks about how shame can make a person question himself or herself a lot. This is not good, as it limits creativity, innovation, and change. It makes people be very critical of themselves. 

Difference between shame and guilt 

According to Brown, there is a vast difference between shame and guilt. While many believe the two go hand in hand, Brown has a different and interesting opinion on the topic. 

Brown suggests that shame is highly correlated with mental health challenges like addiction, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. It also has an influence on violent behavior and higher levels of aggression. 

Shame is thus the root cause of a lot of negativity and emotional turmoil. It allows judgment, doubt, and negative self-image. It makes a person feel smaller than what he or she actually is. 

Guilt, according to Brown, has an inverse correlation to these. This means that people who experience guilt, are actually allowing themselves to grow.

This is because guilt, which is an uncomfortable emotion, encourages them to pursue the right path. 

They feel encouraged to grow and become better, so they don’t have to feel guilty again.

Because guilt does not affect their mental state and self-image the way shame does, guilt is actually a more constructive emotion. 

Shame and guilt – Gender differences 

Shame and guilt are both felt by men as well as women. Brown says that the common understanding is that a little amount of shame is good.

Not having any shame makes society assume that the person is incapable of connecting with others. 

Hence, shame is felt by everyone, because it does mark us as empathetic creatures. However, the experience of shame comes differently for men and women. 

Women are trained to feel shame more than men. Women in the modern day particularly feel shame for a much more complex network of things.

For example, women are expected to do it all; work, self-care, family care, home care as well as socializing. 

Not doing any one of these, or not doing a good job, leads to shame. Women often feel that their slight imperfections make them less of a woman. Women thus are always more shame-prone than men. 

Men feel shame over vulnerability and weakness. While women are expected to do it all, men are expected to never be weak.

Weakness or failing is a part of life. However, truly experiencing weakness or failure, makes men feel shame. 

This, much like shame in women, is in a large part due to society. Men and women both experience guilt in more or less similar situations.

Shame, on the other hand, has very different roots for both, because of societal stereotypes. 

Brene Brown truly criticizes the idea of shame by calling it an ‘epidemic.’

Shame Culture Vs Guilt Culture 

Shame and guilt are powerful tools that are used by governments, societies, and heads to control the people. Both these can make people act in abeyance. 

Let us first trace the words through history. Some suggest that the word guilt comes from the idea of Catholic guilt.

This means the fear of God because of something you may have done. It even means that you owe someone for something you have done. 

Hence, historically as well, guilt comes from action. Shame does not have the same history. It comes from within us.

Shame is the outer covering one would wear, to show that they are repenting for their sins. 

This means that they are waiting to be punished by God or authority. Their punishment is already administered, they did it themselves. This outward covering is a form of self-punishment for them. 

To this day, societies use shame and guilt to make people work. Let us look at them as cultures of their own. Americans typically use guilt culture while Japan uses shame culture to govern its citizens. 

Ruth Benedict, in her 1948 book called The Chrysanthemum and the Sword made this distinction first. Even though newer social scientists do not much care about this distinction, it is still present in our cultures. 

The shame culture 

A shame culture focuses on how you are as a person. This means that doing good things makes you a good person, and included in society.

Doing bad things, in turn, makes you a bad person, and thus excluded by everyone else. 

As simple as this sounds, this has complex implications. This means that people in shame cultures have to be careful about how they live. Any mistake they make reflects on their whole self. 

Countries like Japan, India, etc, follow a shameful culture. They ensure their citizens work diligently, or they will be labeled as lazy or something worse. Avoiding shame becomes a powerful motivator in their lives. 

In traditional shame cultures, an important part of a man’s life is his or her honor. Saving face or being an honorable person was more important than anything else.

People would thus work to avoid shame, the exact opposite of honor. 

The guilt culture 

American, or western countries, follow guilt culture. These countries believe that the people that don’t work are behaving lazily. They instill guilt in the citizens for crimes as well. 

For example, not paying a parking ticket has a fine. A person who does not pay for such a parking ticket may feel guilty about it.

The culture, by sending him repeated notices, increases his level of guilt in order to make him act. 

In a shame culture, this action brings shame. The culture is to labels him as the kind of person that does not pay for parking tickets. Another example of guilt culture is taking time off work. 

In a country with a guilt culture, a person only feels guilty when he takes time off work. He is aware of this guilt when he sees a reduced paycheck or misses the perks of full attendance. 

In a country with a shameful culture, the company places so much value on people who are always present at work, that people who don’t work feel shame.

This shame drives them to keep a good attendance record. 

The modern shame culture

In modern times, even western societies are experiencing shame culture. Social media has increasingly become loaded with moral judgment.

People often fear criticism for their thoughts and actions, mainly because of moral policing. 

Shame has become a part of modern cultures due to intense moral judgment. People who do not have the same thoughts as those around them are brutally called out. They experience shame for being ‘outliers.’ 

Shame culture vs guilt culture 

Guilt culture influences law and punishment. Shame culture influences societal acceptance (ostracism), honor, and revenge. 

Guilt culture relies on people having an internal understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Shame culture relies on people’s ideas of what will appear right and what will appear (seem) wrong. 

Guilt cultures are behavior-focused. They instill feelings of guilt in people and maintain social control. They develop an internal conscience in people which makes them want to follow the right path. 

Shame cultures inculcate the values of honor and society, They control individual action by instilling a fear of public humiliation.

They place higher values on honor, making individuals afraid of losing societal privilege. 

Guilt and Shame Proneness 

The Guilt and Shame Proneness Scale (GASP) was introduced to understand how you react to certain situations.

This scale also looked at differences between the two, the influence of public events vs private events as well as negative emotions within us. 

The scale uses two main distinctions. They are- 

  • The Self- Behavior Distinction 
  • The Public- Private Distinction

We already know that guilt is a focus on self and shame is a focus on behavior. Research suggests that events that are public, bring about shame. On the other hand, making a mistake in private leads to guilt. 

The GASP is a good measure of both because it measures proneness to guilt and proneness to shame. It does not just measure guilt or shame after an act.

It studies what is an individual more prone to feel in particular situations. 

This, when used in research and individual cases, allows professionals to understand their subjects, clients, or their culture with more clarity. 

What leads To Shame Vs Guilt 

Following are the kinds of actions, failures or transgressions that lead to feelings of guilt or shame. 

1. Public vs private failures 

Public failures bring about shame. This is because the focus is not on what one did or how one failed. The focus is that everyone knows the person failed, which harms his or her self-image. This leads to shame. 

Private failures lead to guilt. This is because the focus is on what one did. For example, cheating on your partner, even if no one ever hears about it, leads to guilt.

This is because the person knows internally, that what they did was wrong. 

2. Proscriptive vs prescriptive violations 

Proscriptive violations are when we do something that we should not be doing. Prescriptive violations are when we don’t do something we should. The first brings mostly shame, and the second brings guilt. 

However, there have been studies that show both violations can bring about shame as well as guilt. 

3. Moral vs nonmoral faults 

Moral faults lead to guilt; nonmoral faults lead to shame. Moral faults like lying, cheating, stealing may make a person feel guilty. If these moral faults occur in public, they may even lead to shame. 

Nonmoral, character faults lead to shame as well. For example, poor performance, failing exams, not being able to lose weight, etc. The shame can be felt even if these are only privately experienced. 

Shame Vs Guilt Examples 

Shame vs guilt can even be explained through examples, which are related to our thoughts, behaviors, and our cultures. 

1. Thoughts 

People who feel guilt and shame have vastly different thoughts when they experience these emotions. Guilt leads to thoughts focused on their actions, shame leads to thoughts of who they are as people. 

A person who feels guilty because he has stepped on someone’s toes thinks ‘I feel bad for stepping on their toes.’ 

On the other hand, a person who feels shame about stepping on their toes thinks “I am clumsy enough to step on people’s toes.’ 

2. Behaviors 

A guilt-prone person behaves in a way to reduces his or her guilt. For example, a person who feels guilty over lying to their friends will act in constructive ways to resolve the guilt. 

A shame-prone person, or a person who feels shame overlying, tries to avoid public embarrassment. He or she may avoid going around their friends, so they don’t have to face their shame in public. 

Thus public or private situations influence shame vs guilt behaviors. People who feel shame even avoid eye contact with the people they may have hurt. People who feel guilty engage in this behavior pattern less frequently. 

3. Emotions/ Self handicapping 

Another example to understand the difference between shame and guilt is self-handicapping in athletes. This can also be extended to other individuals. 

People who are more prone to shame tend to self handicap, i.e. state that they are anyway unable to do the task.

For example, for people who feel shame more easily, it is easier to pretend they didn’t prepare for something than to try and then fail. 

Athletes who self handicap was also found to be more prone to shame. This example also holds true while studying alcoholism. 

Shame Vs Guilt Psychology 

The psychology of shame vs guilt shows how deep-rooted both emotions are. They are even considered self-regulating emotions because they influence how a person behaves after having experienced them. 

The experience of shame vs guilt interests psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists.

Shame vs guilt even influences how a person deals with mental health challenges like depression, addiction, personality disorders, and eating disorders. 

Let us look through each in detail. 

1. Alcoholism/Addiction

Addicts who are prone to shame, tend to behave counterproductively. This means that they relapse because they turn to alcohol to escape.

They don’t view taking alcohol as a mistake. They view it as a part of themselves that cannot be denied for long. 

Shame-prone addicts also engage in drinking regularly because they believe they have lesser control over their actions. This is not to say they can’t help but drink. This only means their sense of self-worth is low in general. 

If they merely felt guilt over drinking, they would take better steps to avoid it. They would think, “I made a mistake by drinking, I do not want to repeat it.” Shame would make them think “I am a drinker or I will always be an alcoholic.” 

Shame, as Brene Brown along with others also suggested, is highly correlated with addiction.

This is mainly because people with addiction feel so much shame over their addiction, that they lose control of their actions. 

Guilt is in fact a powerful tool used by professionals to keep addictions in check. 

2. Eating disorders 

People with eating disorders usually exhibit signs of their issues from an early age. They report the shame they felt when they were younger, either due to their over or underweight bodies. 

Eating disorders are both a physiological and psychological concern. Psychologists have to work with the emotions their patients feel when they are eating excessively or not eating.

In most cases, an element of shame, not guilt, is associated with it. 

Parents who may have shamed their children at a young age, negatively impact their lives. The words parents use when feeding their children, especially when they are at a growing age, are important. 

People who suffer from obesity bulimia or binge eating disorder particularly feel a lesser sense of self-worth. This is often recorded to a damaging degree. 

3. Borderline Personality Disorder 

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder or mental health condition. It impairs a person’s personal life, relationship, development as well as work.

This condition leads to a volatile personality, self-harm, and even chronic depression or mania. 

Shame is said to be highly present in people with BPD. Their low sense of self-worth, self-image, and self-contempt makes them feel a deep amount of shame. It may even lead to self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal behavior. 

4. Narcissistic Personality 

People who have narcissistic personalities are overly concerned with themselves. They have less regard for others, their feelings, or their emotions. These people’s primary concern is their own self. 

People who have narcissistic behavioral tendencies tend to feel shame, but not guilt. As mentioned before in the article, guilt happens because people feel bad about hurting others. 

Narcissistic people simply do not care about others. They do not have that empathy within them. However, they do feel shame. They may even report feeling a lot of shame for their self-centered behavior. 

This does not really change their behavior in any way. It only further damages their mental health, as even though they feel shame, their narcissism is also a part of their personality. 

5. Developmental Challenges 

People who feel shame from a young age have not been allowed to fully grow. A large part of growth, especially emotional growth, is making mistakes. We all make mistakes, end up in failure and then try again. 

People who feel deep shame stop their developmental journey at an early age. They typecast themselves as less worthy people, and hence do not give themselves room to grow. 

In a large part, this is because their shame does not allow them to do so. Guilt, especially when it is healthy guilt, gives way to constructive growth.

For example, a small child feeling guilty about fighting can be encouraged to not fight again. 

The same child, when made to feel ashamed about being a fighter, will believe that of himself. There is no motivation for him to quit fighting, as he is made to believe that is who he is. It impairs his development largely.  

Note: Some people even feel ‘toxic shame’. This is intense shame felt from a young age that impacts your whole life. 

6. Reaction to Failure 

When we understand the difference between shame and guilt, we may even react to instances of failure differently. 

Failure is a very universal experience. Every successful person has also experienced failure, yet the key to success was to keep trying.

Many young adults today, due to their shame proneness, stop trying after a failure. 

When we understand the difference, we can see that doing certain bad things or making mistakes does not make us a bad person. We attach the sense of failure to that action alone, not to our entire self. 

This distinction gives rise to healthy guilt instead of shame. When we feel healthy guilt, we are motivated to perform better. 

7. Developing empathy

Often, therapists deal with clients who feel bad about what they have done or who they have hurt. They try to deal with this by understanding whether this comes from a place of guilt or shame. 

Shame-prone individuals do not feel empathy as much as guilt-prone individuals do. Hence, for a person who has cheated on his wife, invoking and using his sense of guilt will help future communication.

This is because guilt makes him realize how much he has hurt his partner. This sense of empathy leads to constructive steps in the future.

Shame on the other will make him feel like a mere cheater, who was bound to behave this way. 

Overcoming Shame and Guilt 

Since we have learned the difference between shame and guilt, it is also important to learn how to overcome each.

It is important to remember that even if guilt feels like a healthier emotion, we still need to deal with it. 

1. Distinction between our actions and self

One of the ways to feel healthy guilt, and overcome shame, is to distinguish between what we do and who we are.

This distinction helps us label our actions as positive or negative, and keeps the judgment away from ourselves. 

2. Accepting responsibility 

When we take responsibility for our wrongdoings, we allow ourselves to grow. This means we will waste less time criticizing ourselves. Being responsible for your own actions is also a sign of growth. 

3. Making amends 

Often, making amends takes care of our guilt and shame. Sometimes it is easy to make amends. We just have to take a few right steps. 

Sometimes, making amends is a difficult journey. Taking this journey improves our self-image and leads to emotional maturity as well.

This helps us overcome the negative effects of shame and guilt on our mental health. 

4. Problem solving 

Quite often, when we are stuck on guilt and shame, we forget that we may have created issues we need to deal with.

Taking a problem-solving approach gives us a constructive purpose. This purpose will help improve our relationships as well. 

5. Making better choices 

One of the ways we can become better in our life is through adapting. When we experience guilt or shame, it changes how we think and act. We can overcome the negative emotions by taking this evolved perspective into future situations. 

For example, when we feel guilty about cheating on a text, even if we make amends, we can do more. We can take that guilt and ensure we do not cheat again in the future. 

6. Self forgiveness 

Guilt and shame are heavy emotions for people to deal with. Taking steps to go in the right direction after is not enough for many people. One of the most important things they can do is to forgive themselves. 

For shame particularly, because it influences us deeply, forgiving ourselves can go a long way. It is also more difficult for people who are shame prone to forgive themselves, hence they must try harder. 

They can take the help of activities like journaling or using a workbook to keep track of their progress. Maintaining some objectivity helps them practice self-forgiveness. 

7. Mindfulness

Meditation or mindfulness can help people dealing with shame and guilt feel slightly better. Resting or being in the moment helps them see life away from their harsh self-judgment. 

8. Social support 

Relying on our social support network can reduce feelings of shame as well as guilt. This is because our support system can always help give us a morale boost.

They may even know when our guilt is justified and when it is not. 

Through their objectivity, we can even turn our shame into healthy guilt and guilt into amends. It is only necessary to reach out to the right support system. 

9. Self compassion

People who experience guilt and shame with intensity are often unkind to themselves. Our harsh self-judgment and negative view of our actions keep us in a loop of negativity.

One way to step out of it is to be compassionate to ourselves. 

When we are kind and compassionate to ourselves, we can properly see the damage within us. This will help us make deeper, longer-term changes. 


Shame and guilt are both emotions that can make people self-conscious. While we all experience both, there are certain key differences between them.

Understanding these can change our perspective immensely. 

Let us end by remembering to be kind to ourselves, to deal with guilt and shame constructively, and to be open to making mistakes!

Article Sources


Scroll To Top
We use cookies in order to give you the best possible experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies.
Privacy Policy