November 7th -
Shame is usually thought of as the same as guilt, but many of us have experienced it somewhat differently. Caught up in self-centered patterns we may have done many things that would be considered worthy of guilt; but we didn’t feel guilty until some later self-examination. Shame, on the other hand, is about being caught; an internal mechanism that is all wrapped up in approval seeking. The deeper we find ourselves in self-centeredness the easier it is to justify harmful behavior, but if we are exposed, if people find out about the behavior and then we are confronted, we feel shame. Embarrassed, we may find ourselves humiliated. Importantly, shame does not even require that we actually did something wrong. Just the perception of dishonor mortifies us. The rules of society are not necessarily the values that we operate under; but if our differences are revealed, we can feel totally apart from community. These old bugaboos should be examined and abandoned.