Shame is a projection of disappointment from other people in your social system. This is a natural deterrent for unapproved behaviors from an individual, as it decays one’s position in their social hierarchy. In contrast, Guilt is an internally driven emotion, substantiated by conflict between your behavioral actions and core values or morals. Shame is dependent on the opinions of others’ and is often related to an observable consequence. Guilt builds off of one’s developed moral and ethical code of conduct. Both concepts are associated with one another closely and both require an inherent sense of empathy to be present.
What culture(s) do you personally connect with and in what ways do Shame or Guilt drive you to unite with the rules and expectations of your external environment?
Stephanie P. Bathurst, MA, LCMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist