What's the difference between shame and guilt? How does shame impact our sense of belonging? How do we begin to unshame ourselves?
A lot of healing can be unlocked when we learn how to unshame ourselves.
In it's healthiest expression, shame can be a pro-social emotion. It's meant to be a feeling that invites us to assess if our behaviors are aligned with who we want to be. BUT: if, as children, the group/tribe/family we were aiming to belong to was a dysfunctional system, then shame shifts from a positive internal support mechanism into unkind internal dialogue and unconscious adaptations.
This article is a collection of resources on shame and the tools to begin unshaming ourselves.
What's the difference between Shame and Guilt?
Shame is the belief "I am bad". Guilt is the statement that "my behavior was bad". When there is guilt present, an important question to ask yourself is "what wrong needs to be righted?". If there's not a wrong that needs to be righted, often times what we are up against is misguided programming.
In this 40-second clip, Simona Vivi H- remothering thought leader, and Karen C.L. Anderson- author of an upcoming book on unshaming ourselves, talk about the difference between Shame and Guilt. Click here to watch.
Shame, guilt, and belonging
This is a longer discussion with Dr. Ava Pommerenk on the topic of shame, guilt, and belonging from her 2023 reMothering Masterclass talk.
The early messages we received about what was required for us to belong, tie into how we learned to express our needs, boundaries, and feelings. In this clip, Simona Vivi H and Dr Ava get into those early messages, plus:
Were you taught that it was selfish to include yourself in the equation?
In this article, Simona Vivi H, remothering thought leader, shares a personal story of a real holy s*?! moment related to how her otherishness was impacting people. When we are deeply programmed from a young age to be other-focused, we don't always realize that we can actually have a negative impact on others when we don't include ourselves in the equation.
Plus, she gets into the neuroscience of unlearning these deeply entrenched implicit "knowings".
As Karen C.L. Anderson explained in her 2023 reMothering Masterclass talk on Unshaming Ourselves, shame can be thought of as both an emotion AND a nervous system response. With that in mind, here's a quick somatic exercise to come out of either a shame and/or a freeze response.
Do you ever unfairly shame yourself for people pleasing?
Understanding our nervous system helps us understand our automatic adaptations (including people pleasing).
We don't look around and decide "Oh, that looks kinda scary". Yes, we might have the thought; but our nervous system is way ahead of us on that. Our nervous system responses are unconscious perceptions of what we are experiencing based on our history-colored glasses.
2-minute video clip from the 2023 reMothering Masterclass talk on Somatic Self-Connection, with nervous system expert Lynn Fraser. Click here to watch
You can check our more at the reMothering Masterclass