In my work with self-compassion, we talk about guilt vs. shame. Both Brene’ Brown, research professor at the University of Houston, and Kristin Neff, Associate Professor of Human Development and Culture at the University of Texas, describe guilt and shame the same way.
- Guilt – “I feel bad about something I did.”
- Shame – “I am bad.”
Now, think about the difference between the two. We can repair guilt when we’ve done something bad, e.g., offended someone. We can apologize to that person, take responsibility for the hurt we caused, and ask for forgiveness. As Kristin Neff says, “Research shows that self-compassion allows us to experience our feelings of sadness, regret, and guilt without getting trapped by feelings of shame.” [Read more…]