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Shame VS Guilt

Do you have anyone in your life that has been making what you think are poor choices for themselves? Im talking about someone you love.

It can be tough to separate ourselves from the people we love to let them live their own lives. What’s more, is when that person is behaving and doing things they never would have before. There is a definite change in their behaviour. And you think you know why!

Whether it is your adult child, a friend, your siblings, you can’t tell them how to live their life. Because it is there’s to live! Im mean, you could tell them what to do and how they should live their lives, but the chances are, it won’t go over very well.

People don’t like unsolicited advice. It is always easy to see other peoples’ missed takes or we think we know better. It’s often easy looking in the window from the outside. It is because we have a different perspective and often are not emotionally involved in the situation other than caring about someone inside the situation.

Even when we can clearly see that our friend, sibling, or child has behavioural changes, that really don’t seem beneficial to the person we care about, to maintain the integrity of the relationship we have with them, it is suggested to sustain from freely giving advice.

I think it would be helpful to tell the person how you feel. If what you have to say may cause the person to feel guilty, according to Brené Brown, this is a good thing. For example, if you are telling your friend how you feel about not being available to attend your event that she previously said she would and now can’t, it may make her feel guilty for missing your event. Guilt is good when a person has done something that goes against their morals and values in life.

What I caution is how we express ourselves to our friend to avoid shaming the person. Shame is the gremlin that results in many very unhealthy behaviours. So, If you say to your friend, “I am really hurt that you missed my party. You know how much it means to me that you be there and you weren't.” If that statement elicits guilt in your friend, this is a good thing. Guilt is about a behaviour that was made.

Behaviours can be changed. Conversely, if you say to your friend, ‘You’re such a disappointment. I should’ve known you wouldn’t show up. I can never count on you for anything!” This statement is shaming the other person and I know it can be enticing when our own feelings are hurt. The issue with shaming is that it results in the person feeling even worse about themselves. And not in the way a person feels when they feel guilty about something they did. Guilt is when a person does something bad, whereas shame, the person looks at as “I am bad.” There is recovery from guilt because people can change their behaviours. It is much harder to change when a person feels as though they themselves are bad.

The language we use is so important and can make such a difference in how a person perceives themselves. If you are ever disappointed in someone close to you. Think about how you would want to be treated. Avoid name calling, consider how you are feeling about the situation before you have a conversation with your loved one. Taking the time to acknowledge your own feelings and consider how and what you want to say to the other person, can make a big difference in your relationship with that person and how you respond to your other relationships. We always have the choice to respond or react to any given situation. Events will always happen. How we choose to respond to them, makes all the difference in the world.


I’m Coach Jackie Thomas.

I also happen to be a Nurse in the Healthcare field. I’ve been a PSW as well.

I’m a wife and mom who loves her family. But, sometimes, after a “bad day” or dealing with some intense trauma, I was triggered and brought it home to my kids and spouse. It wasn’t working.

At the height of my burnout, I went looking for solutions. Anything to make me feel better again. To love my career again. To reignite my passion again.

I found evolved NLP. The combination of science meets spiritual resonated with me. The work is founded in practices of forgiveness and healing on a cellular level for lasting true change.

To rebound, rebuild, and repair from days of trauma, disease, and stress.

To reclaim our passion to serve.

To love our career and our lives - at the same time.

These tools gave me my life back.

They can do the same for you.

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