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Is It Ever Appropriate To Feel Shame?

Not to be confused with guilt, but shame does not appear to be particularly useful. I am sure many of us can recall hearing statements like "You should be ashamed", but should we really?

The most natural response that would appear to be defensive of shame, would be "should a murderer feel shame". The gut says, yes they definitely should, but what happens when they feel this deep shame? Does it end up helping them to change? Without a doubt, this deep shame would make them miserable. It is a precursor to depression, suicide and other behaviors that would definitely be considered as self-destructive. But is it ever a precursor to extraordinary achievement as well?

Maybe it is. What do people think?

Comments

  • howhow Veteran
    Guilt or shame in themselves are neither innately good or bad.
    How we respond to them is what is important.
    Do we empower either through clinging or aversion or or do we allow the
    birth, life & death of guilt/shame to unfold naturally, unmolested by our habitual responses?

    Someone suggesting that you should feel either is usually someone saying that you are lacking empathy.
    If true, take responsibility where you haven't been, if false,
    save some of that empathy for the accuser who is obviously suffering.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Guilt and shame are good, when appropriate. Without them there is little reason to change behavior.
  • how said:

    Guilt or shame in themselves are neither innately good or bad.
    How we respond to them is what is important.
    Do we empower either through clinging or aversion or or do we allow the
    birth, life & death of guilt/shame to unfold naturally, unmolested by our habitual responses?

    Someone suggesting that you should feel either is usually someone saying that you are lacking empathy.
    If true, take responsibility where you haven't been, if false,
    save some of that empathy for the accuser who is obviously suffering.

    But I wonder if Shame is the result of clinging to guilt.

  • How we respond to them is what is important.
    Yes I agree. I had a friend who was an alcoholic. She said a turning point was when her mom said that she would sever their relationship. So she must have somehow turned that shame around. Now she is a manager at a pharmacy and is a pharmacist. I helped her stay together (somewhat) so I am overjoyed. Not sure if she is in every aspect turned around such as unfaithfulness to men, Could be.
  • vinlyn said:

    Guilt and shame are good, when appropriate. Without them there is little reason to change behavior.

    I would think awareness or love can be strong reasons to change behavior. For example, I spoke about dogs locked in cars on a sunny day, or children riding around in vehicles with no belt. It used to happen all the time. When people became aware, the behavior changed. Out of love and awareness. Maybe out of shame and guilt too, but I think mostly out of awareness.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Well, I didn't say shame and guilt should last forever.

    And I don't believe any person with half a brain who has gotten into a hot car could possibly not know it would hurt a pet.
  • vinlyn said:

    Well, I didn't say shame and guilt should last forever.

    And I don't believe any person with half a brain who has gotten into a hot car could possibly not know it would hurt a pet.

    Sorry, but people, even with brains, did not understand for a very long time.
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