Guilt /ɡilt/ noun is “the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.”
Shame /SHām/ noun is “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.“
Guilt and shame often go hand in hand as the the same action (or non action) may give rise to feelings of both shame and guilt. The definitions seem very very similar, but where guilt reflects how we feel about ourselves, shame involves an awareness that our actions have injured someone else.
In other words, shame relates to self, guilt to others.
I’ve read a great deal of comments and posts online about how some people feel responsible for causing their cancer and/or others attempting to assign blame. Generally, carrying any guilt or shame or negativity towards yourself about something like cancer can truly weigh anyone down. Since there is no scientific evidence that anyone can actually change the genes within their body with any external source, I would submit that any energy spent in this space is wasted.
The people who attempt to point the finger at others for causing cancer are usually those who feel the most guilt themselves.Turning to patient shaming others is designed to help themselves feel better. I do know that some people obsess about what could have been done differently. Looking back can sometimes help, for instance, to help one avoid repeating a mistake. To look back in an effort to lay blame on anyone or anything is not productive, in my opinion.We can’t go back and change anything in the past.We are who we are today because of what happened in the past. To live in that past or to obsess about the past only takes away from the present.
Today, I rededicate myself to living in the present, to experience life with my family in the present and to light the way for others to do the same.