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Discussion on: Shame vs Guilt

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Scott Simontis

It's good to see you on DEV, Joe! I have been subscribed to your newsletter for quite a while and I always enjoy your take on the human side of things.

I was raised with repeated conditioning that I was not good enough, that a single failure discounts the 19 things I did right, and that there was always something I needed to improve on. That I was not inherently worthy of praise and love, so I needed to prove myself and go above and beyond everyone else. That it was vain to feel good for succeeding. I never learned how to love myself, or even realized that I could do so.

It is still pretty crippling to this day. I know logically I can be proud of myself, and I can tell myself that I am worthy of love, but I can't believe it at all. Shame is that voice in the back of my head that is constantly pointing out every failure or mistake I make, and bringing up the past constantly. I also struggle with personality disorders and mental illness which lead to feelings of isolation and alienation.

Programming is one of the few escapes that I have. It lets me get out of my head, but I cannot always be programming. I know I need to find a way to make peace with my thoughts, but I have no idea how.