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Shame and Guilt -understanding the difference between these two emotions

Guilt: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, wrongdoing, an activity which tends to leave a person feeling uncomfortable at the very least, whether real or imagined.

Shame: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, done by oneself or another. Shame is about embarrassment, humiliation, feeling of low value and above all, powerless.

The lowest level of consciousness one can ever be at is that of shame.

At this level of awareness, we see ourselves and others in a very despising way. We loathe ourselves and others, and we see our life as miserable. Our main emotion is humiliation, and we go about life through a process of elimination. In other words, ways of eliminating (discounting) ourselves or others, take place at a very unconscious level unless we raise ourselves to a higher level of awareness.

In shame, we are small and we want to hide.

We feel insignificant, except for the importance we put on our shame and how it defines our very existence. We then make sure to keep our heads down, do our best to be invisible, and unconsciously do our best to make this happen (i.e. see imposter syndrome )

Early life experiences that lead to shame, including sexual abuse, may distort our psychology for the rest of our lives unless we resolve that through proper therapy or by other means . This is because once it sets in, neurosis is formed as part of a survival mechanism through the process of symptom formation. As such, it is rather destructive to our emotional, psychological, physical, and mental health. This can manifest as low self-esteem, proneness to the development of physical illness, being withdrawn and painfully introverted.

While society may use the process of shame as a punishment tool, those who suffer from it often become cruel. An example is several children who display cruel behaviors towards other children (bullying) or animals have often been the object of shame in the past. Those who remain at this sublevel of consciousness can therefore display hallucinations, and delusions, including paranoia, particularly through the process of projection.

There is a sublimated form of shame that is worth talking about. This is seen in individuals who have managed to cope and sublimate their shame and compensate for it with perfectionism, rigidity, becoming uber-driven, and intolerant. Many of those people may become moral extremists, projecting their own unconscious shame onto others.

Lastly, because such a sublevel of consciousness leaves anyone rather vulnerable and fragile, some additional forms of compensation may lead to false pride, anger, and guilt.

The sublevel of consciousness above that of shame is that of guilt.

At that sublevel of consciousness, we see ourselves and others as vindictive.

We see life as being evil, while our predominant emotion is characterized by blame, and we go through life through a process of destruction, including self (internal) destruction and external destruction.

Just like shame, guilt can be used in society as a tool. In the case of guilt, it can be used as a tool to manipulate and punish.

Guilt, in general, manifests itself in a variety of expressions, such as remorse, self-recrimination, and any other manifestations of victimhood.

Of course, being at such a low sublevel of consciousness, one can expect a series of psychosomatic illnesses, accident-proneness, and behaviors .

Many individuals may struggle with guilt their entire lives, while others may do their best to deny it at all costs.

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