Shame can hold us back and make us feel like we are not adequate. Don’t allow your shame to take over and keep you from reaching your goals. The past is the past and it is time for you to make a better and brighter future. You may have made mistakes, but don’t we all? If we focus on what we did wrong, we will never be able to grow. You can learn from these mistakes but do not dwell on them. Part of the healing process is to forgive ourselves.
“Guilt can either hold you back from growing or it can show you what you need to shift in your life.”
Here is an excerpt from Brené Brown’s TED talk that was very eye-opening for me. I hope that you feel that her speech is an effective example of shame and guilt not only for those of us struggling with addiction but in other life experiences as well.
"Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is, "I am bad." Guilt is, "I did something bad." How many of you, if you did something that was hurtful to me, would be willing to say, "I'm sorry. I made a mistake?" How many of you would be willing to say that? Guilt: I'm sorry. I made a mistake. Shame: I'm sorry. I am a mistake.
Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders.
Here's what you even need to know more: Guilt is inversely correlated with those things. The ability to hold something we've done, or failed to do, up against who we want to be is incredibly adaptive. It's uncomfortable, but it's adaptive."
You can watch the whole TED talk here