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Guilt vs. Shame

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Larry C
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Member Patricius
since 09-10-2001
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0 posted 04-01-2007 11:42 PM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to Submit your Poem to Passions   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C


Guilt vs. Shame
By Larry Chadwick
A piece on wisdom on April Fools Day

I’m relieved to know that there is not a guru somewhere on a mountain that holds all the secrets to life and I never found him. Even more satisfying to me is to know that any of your friends may hold a gem of wisdom that can change your life. Just such a gem was recently shared with me. “Shame is the devil’s substitute for guilt.”

Because I have known shame so intimately in my life I argued with her about her gem. But she would not be moved and I abandoned the argument. Then I spent the next month unable to ignore her gem.

Guilt is an emotion that is intended to plague our conscience. Typically, for obvious reasons, it is related to poor moral choices. Should we listen to the code of our conscience we are then spurred into action. The earlier we act the easier it is to change our behavior pattern. First, guilt causes us to acknowledge that our behavior is wrong. Second, it causes us to seek forgiveness for our actions from those we have wronged. Third, guilt compels us to cease that behavior. Fourth, because of guilt we find ourselves in right standing with our conscience and in our relationships. Fifth, the outcome of acting on our guilt leads us to a better path of behavior. And in all five steps we have acted with humility thinking most about how our life effects our relationships. Should we choose to ignore the guilt that our conscience plagues us with then there is a significantly different outcome.

Shame is an emotion that is driven by pride. It is sinister because it parades itself in our heart as guilt. When our poor moral choices have continued past the signals of our conscience then shame subtly substitutes itself for guilt. First, because of shame we deny. Second, in our shame we begin keeping secrets. Third, shame leaves us to continue in our poor moral choices. Fourth, through shame we ignore the impact of our decision on our relationships. Fifth, shame persuades us we will stop our behavior even though we know we cannot. And the driving force in all five steps is our pride. Pride is the most self-centered of all traits. It serves first and only itself.

Guilt versus shame. We can acknowledge our behavior or deny it. We can seek forgiveness or keep it secret. We can stop our behavior or continue it. We can heal our relationships or not. And we can move on to a moral life or pretend we will. But in the final analysis ignoring guilt can only lead to shame and pride will eventually reap its reward, humiliation. Like all substitutes shame is ultimately void of substance. Guilt, however, leads to humility and healing. Humiliation versus humility. It seems like such an obvious choice. How grateful I am for the wisdom of my friend.

April 1, 2007

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

© Copyright 2007 Larry Chadwick - All Rights Reserved
Sunshine
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since 06-25-99
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Listening to every heart


1 posted 05-23-2007 09:32 PM       View Profile for Sunshine   Email Sunshine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Sunshine's Home Page   View IP for Sunshine

I truly believe that nothing can be kept secret...forever.  Truth outs, whether we are here to acknowledge it or not.  This, I know, as fact.

This is indeed a "gem" of thought, provoking and inspiring.  Thank you, Larry, for sharing such words.

sandgrain
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since 09-21-1999
Posts 3657
Sycamore, IL, USA


2 posted 05-24-2007 07:21 PM       View Profile for sandgrain   Email sandgrain   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for sandgrain

Great insight.  I've never seen it quite like this.  It is a gem.  Thanks for sharing.

  Rae
Marge Tindal
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3 posted 05-25-2007 11:22 AM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

Larry~

'to know that any of your friends may hold a gem of wisdom that can change your life'

And you, my friend, have generously shared the gem with others~

Impacting another's life with such a thought-provoking penning ... is a gracious gift~

*Huglets*
~*Marge*~

~*The sound of a kiss is not as strong as that of a cannon, but it's echo endures much longer*~
Email -             noles1@totcon.com

Larry C
Deputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Patricius
since 09-10-2001
Posts 10765
United States


4 posted 05-28-2007 10:58 PM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

Karilea,
Thank you and I couldn't agree more. I do believe we cannot hide the truth of ourselves no matter how hard we try.

sandgrain,
Thanks for your kind words. It is certainly a new concept to me.

Marge,
And oddly enough it isn't always something we want to hear or even agree with. But God has His methods of getting a message into our hearts. Thank you.

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane,
I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

JamesMichael
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since 11-16-1999
Posts 32706
Kapolei, Hawaii, USA


5 posted 10-24-2015 08:26 PM       View Profile for JamesMichael   Email JamesMichael   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JamesMichael

I liked the part we can keep it secret or seek forgiveness...james
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