Monday, August 9, 2010

Eliminating the Shame & Let the Guilt Work For You!

Do you ever find yourself feeling guilty or ashamed for what you are doing (or not doing?) Maybe it's the stuff that causes you stress, sleepless nights, feeds your bad habits. Yup, I'm guilty (pun intended!) of it!

A while ago, I was reading about the difference between "guilt" and "shame." Without thinking we may group these two together, but actually they are quite different and make a BIG big difference in the end results. Here's the difference:

Guilt – can actually be a very constructive emotion. When you feel guilty you recognize that one of your actions was wrong and may have caused someone else harm. Guilt is feeling sorry for something you did.

Shame – is a harmful emotion that eats away at your self-esteem. When you feel shame it is because you believe a part of who you are is intrinsically bad. You end up feeling sorry for who you are. It is possible that the same action may produce guilt in one person and shame in another. It all depends on how that wrongdoer and the people around him react to his actions.

How does this apply to you?

Let's say I miss a few workouts and I'm feeling off track. I can either feel
  • Guilt: "I missed some workouts, I can tell my body is feeling sluggish and really needs to start working again." OR
  • Shame: "I missed some workouts, AGAIN. What is wrong with me? Why do I always do this. I am just doomed to be fat, that's all there is to it."
It's funny, once I started paying attention to this, I really started noticing how I can feel shame in many of the areas of my life. And really, shame is only going to feed the bad habits. Guilt can help me meet my goals.

How to make it work for you (instead of against you)?

Once you understand the difference, you'll start seeing it in your own life. In every area. Notice when you are feeling shame. And start telling yourself a different story. Realize that the shame is NOT the truth and will only pull us down. Repeat, it is NOT the truth. Use the guilt to bring you motivation to help meet your goals.

So, let's eliminate the shame and let the guilt work for you!

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