Forgiveness Challenge: Day 26

Day 26: Guilt & Shame.

Yesterday, we learned about self-acceptance moving into self-forgiveness. Today, we identified two of the biggest barriers to practicing self-acceptance: Guilt and shame.

Guilt is a function of doing, in that it centers around something we did wrong. To work on lessening guilt, we were instructed to focus on actions we can do to repay the “debt.” For example, we can apologize, or give something tangible to right the wrong.

Shame is a function of being. It is viewing ourselves as bad rather than viewing what we did as bad. Shame wants us to hide, so we disconnect from others and stay silent. However, nothing lessens the power of shame more than speaking it to a trusted person. By sharing our shameful experiences with others, we expose the shame to the light where it cannot flourish. We also connect deeply with others who are experiencing their own shameful feelings, building a bridge of mutual support and acceptance that supports self-forgiveness.

Our exercise today was to read through the list of things we made for self-forgiveness and to determine which of these things inspire guilt and which inspire shame. For the things that inspire guilt, we were invited to ask ourselves what actions we can do to alleviate the guilt. For the things that inspire shame, we were invited to consider who we can connect with in order to speak the shame.

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