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#60: What To Do When We Feel Shame and Guilt

What is the difference between feeling guilty and spiraling into shame? On today's podcast, we dive deeper into these two very poignant emotions. Shame is when the focus is on self, it's not really on a behavior. You actually label yourself as bad or negative or not good enough. Which then makes you feel unworthy of love, belonging, or connection. So it's really not a positive change driver because you really don't feel like enough. Guilt is also a feeling and it's more or less like I did something bad. So it's focused more on a behavior. It's a thought that you made a bad choice and then you get that uncomfortable feeling. Like you made the decision in a way that was against something that we value or we believe or some sort of moral standard that we have for ourselves. And so it actually can be a driver of positive change. During medical school and residency training, the constant perfectionism bred shame and it led to unhealthy coping mechanisms.  We were taught that we do not make mistakes and if you did, you should feel shame.  We shame each other as colleagues when we bring cases in front of peer review or M&M conference. Knowing that we all have been there and the goal is actually to learn and move on, sheds light on the dark places we go when we feel shame.  Empathy is the antidote to shame and guilt.  To build resiliency, we must understand that self-compassion, common humanity and mindfulness are the recipe for healing and overcoming the thoughts that breed these feelings.


Atlas of the Heart


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