From recent reading, James M. Bowler Shame: A Primary Root of Resistance to Movement in Direction, “Presense” (Vol 3, # 3, Sept. 1997)
“Guilt is associated specifically with an action–something one has said or done. Shame, on the other hand, refers to the feeling one has about one’s very self… believing one has a fundamental flaw.” (p. 26) (italics mine)
We need (a sense of) guilt to correct ourselves and change our ways, but shame is damaging, and hinders progress. Guilt is about our doing. Shame is about our being.
All people struggle with shame at some point in their process of growth. Feel free to comment.