Ever blame yourself for something you think you should have done or something you did that was wrong? Maybe you blame yourself for your last binge or for not living up to your values or goals for the future. Is it possible to overcome the shame, and feelings of failure? In this episode we will discuss:
The difference between guilt and shame
What is healthy guilt?
Why you may want to hold on to guilt and shame?
Why guilt and shame may make your binge eating, food addiction or emotional eating worse.
STUDY GUIDE: HOMEWORK
1. What is no longer working for me about holding on to guilt or shame?
2. How would it benefit me to work on this issue?
How do I heal my guilt about what I’ve done in the past?
Ever blame yourself for something you think you should have done or something you did that was wrong? Maybe you blame yourself for your last binge or for not living up to your values or goals for the future. Or you blame a younger part of yourself for something that happened to you in the past?
Is it possible to overcome the shame, and feelings of failure
If I feel I’ve lost a little weight I sabotaged it and will eat more which adds more to my already existing guilt
Shame and guilt are different.
Guilt is a normal feeling and can happen when we do something we shouldn’t have or think we’ve done something wrong and didn’t do something we should have. Guilt is a powerful emotion that can help motivate us to make amends and make different choices in the future.
Shame comes when we measure ourselves against our values or moral standards and come up short.
Guilt is saying: “I did a bad thing.” Shame is saying: “I am a bad person.
Shame and guilt can go hand and hand. For example, you can feel guilty about your last binge and also feel shame that despite being successful in most areas of your life, you feel like a failure when it comes to your eating and body image issues.
These twin emotions can make you feel like you’re in a vicious cycle of always feeling bad about yourself. Common beliefs that can keep you stuck in guilt or shame include:
“I should have known better.”
“I’m a bad person.”
“I’m a failure.”
“If my boss / family / friends knew what I have done, they wouldn’t want to be around me.”
“I don’t deserve to feel better.”
HERE ARE SOME OF THE REASONS WE HOLD ON TO GUILT AND SHAME.
- If I continue to feel guilty/shame, I can keep myself from doing the same thing again.
- Holding on to guilt/shame about the loss of a loved one helps me honor their memory.
- Guilt/shame give me a reason to explain why this happened to me, it gives me a sense of control (if I do something different, this won’t happen again).
- Other (put in your own reasons
Self-compassion is the antidote to guilt and shame.
By recognizing that we all make mistakes, that everyone does things they are not proud of, that these errors don’t make us a bad person, we can begin to heal from shame and guilt. Healthy guilt can motivate us to make important changes in our lives. But unhealthy guilt comes from unrealistically high expectations that we can never perfectly meet. Childhood trauma or abuse can lead us to have beliefs as those listed above that we are inherently flawed. But self-compassion can help us heal from these beliefs.
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