Therapeutic Insight #9

One of the most common pieces of advice people give during hardship is: “just give it some time, it will get better.” That can be helpful reassurance for some, it can also be annoying and cliche for others. Time doesn’t always make things better.

Why is it that some people get better over time and recover more “naturally,” while others have to work so hard at it? I have found a key difference is whether we are experiencing a moment of guilt or shame.

Guilt is feeling separated from love because of what you did. Shame is feeling separated from love because of what you are.

Guilt is a normal reaction to mistakes, missed opportunities, and tragic events. We often recover with time, after proving to ourselves and others that we are more than the sum of our flaws and hardships.

Shame refers to an “unshakable guilt” that stems from a mindset that is defined by it’s flaws and hardships. It is often the result of an inability to extend kindness to ourselves in our time of greatest need.


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