Sometimes, it’s hard to know which feelings propel us forward and which ones hold us back. Especially when we can’t quite distinguish what it is that we’re feeling in the first place. Here’s a guide that might help you figure things out.
Imagine a mouse and a rat – they’re easily confused but one is a whole lot more dangerous and destructive than the other. Those animals are guilt and shame.
These feelings can have different causes. Guilt is more likely when we’ve fallen short of other people’s standards (and sometimes those are standards that exist for a good reason – like don’t drive when you’re drunk). Shame often arises when we’ve transgressed standards that we’ve set for ourselves (often unrealistic standards!).