You should be ashamed of yourself, you're a bad person!
With guilt, the focus is on one’s behavior (“I did a bad thing”), whereas, with shame, the focus is on one’s self (“I’m a bad person”). According to this view, guilt arises when one makes internal, unstable, specific attributions about one’s actions, which lead to negative feelings about specific behaviors that one has committed (Tracy & Robins, 2004). Shame, on the other hand, arises when one makes internal, stable, global attributions about one’s self, which lead to negative feelings about the global self (Tracy & Robins, 2004).
Guilt: "I did a bad thing"
A second school of thought proposes that guilt and shame can be differentiated via a public–private distinction. According to this distinction, which has its roots in anthropology (Benedict, 1946), transgressions or failures that have not been publically exposed (i.e., private misdeeds) are likely to elicit feelings of guilt, whereas transgressions or failures that have been publically exposed are likely to elicit feelings of shame (Ausubel, 1955; Combs, Camp- bell, Jackson, & Smith, 2010; Smith et al., 2002). From this perspective, guilt is associated with a private sense of having done something wrong or having behaved in a way that violates one’s conscience. Shame, on the other hand, is the negative feeling that arises when one’s failures and shortcomings are put on public display. To illustrate the public–private perspective, Smith et al. (2002) pointed to classic literary examples from The Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne, 1850/1962). In this novel, Hester Prynne and Rever- end Dimmesdale commit adultery, and Prynne becomes pregnant. Prynne is forced to wear a scarlet letter A on her gown and is publically castigated for the transgression. The ensuing emotion is an intense feeling of shame. Dimmesdale’s role in the transgres- sion, however, is not exposed—he keeps his paternity concealed. Consequently, throughout the novel, Dimmesdale suffers from an intense private feeling of guilt that damages his physical and mental health.
SHAMe and guilt based self criticism
You did a bad thing; you're a bad person!
DISSECTING SELF CRITICISM
SHAME: "I'm a bad person"
- Is this the first time you felt you're a bad person?
- If not the first time, where did the notion originated from? By whose standard?
- Are you a bad person all the time?
- What is your global self-perception?
- How do significant others perceive you?
- What are the good things you did that made you say I'm a good person?
- Do we have to like/ dislike or accept/ reject our self worth based on whether we do the right thing?
GUILT: "I did something wrong"
You should've done it differently!
- Constant thought that you "Should've done or acted differently."
- Do you strive for perfection? Do you have a very high/ "unrealistic" standard for yourself in terms of getting things right?
- As a child, what was expected of you?
- Is there a time where the consequences of getting things wrong were severe?
CONSRTUCTIVE VERSUS DAMAGING SELF CRITICISM
Constructive criticism is not about blame, guilt or shame. It is not about belittling, or about something that forces you to feel guilty, ashamed, and not be able to move in any direction.