Guilt is a gift; shame is toxic. Guilt helps you be able to recognize what you did wrong and remember it so you to not make that mistake again. Shame on the other hand, says statements such as “I am bad” or “who does this?” – statements in which beat yourself up. There is a distinct difference between the two but it can still be easy to mix up in the moment.
Shame portrays itself in two different ways: self-denigration and self-adulation. Self-denigration is an act of feeling like you don’t matter to yourself or anyone. An example of this includes: “I always mess up. I am the worst. I am a problem and am less than others.” Self-adulation is covering up your shame with pride and acting as though you are better than others. Examples of this include “I will never mess up. I am the best there is. I am always right and a gift to society.” It is human nature to sometimes stumble into these thinking patterns; maybe not as extreme as the examples, but still in the same family. Realizing you are in distortion is the first step, and getting yourself into the truth of the situation is the second.
Guilt is taking responsibility for your actions, WITHOUT beating yourself up about it. Guilt says things like “I messed up” or “I need help” or “I choose poorly.” You are analyzing your behavior, not your identity. Guilt is healthy and encourages change if you let it. Without guilt, we would continue to make the same mistakes. However, shame is absolutely unnecessary and is coming entirely from the adversary. I challenge you to stay in the truth of a situation when you find yourself becoming trapped in self-adulation or self-denigration. You can do this by simply remembering what the TRUTH is and remove that from what your pride or the adversary may try to tell you.