We will talk about a few simple contrasts now. These are contrasts between three attractive outcomes and three repulsive outcomes.
Can you tell the difference between experience of pride and of shame? If you are not clear yet on exactly how to produce those experiences, I’m about to tell you.
when you are effective in producing a Result that fits with your motivations, you experience pride. Sometimes, you become aware of this because of something that someone says to you or something that you witness casually, like seeing your grandchild walk for the first time. This experience of pride is an internal experience that does not require anyone else’s validation. No one can talk you out of it or talk you into it. It is a spontaneous internal confirmation.
You may be aware that there can be different uses of the same word to mean different things. Although there are some very popular texts that translate some foreign words into the English word of pride, That is a mistranslation. Someone can be proud and also be modest in relation to their pride. Typically, when people repeat ancient warnings about pride that have been translated from other languages, the original warnings were clearly not about pride but about being a modest, haughty, vain, or arrogant. Those are states of instability, social insecurity, shame, and they involve a pretense of pride, rather than pride. That is the absence of pride.
imagine someone in distress shouting “you should not be so proud of yourself. You should be ashamed!”
What is their experience? Why are they upset? They are ashamed but pretending not to be ashamed. They are jealous but pretending not to be jealous. They are angry in their distress. They are frustrated. Pride is absent for them. Self-respect is absent for them.
so, if Shame is in effect, how is it that people produce that effect? When someone is effective at producing a result that does not fit with their actual motivations, then they experience shame. This definition might be surprising, so let’s explore a bit further.
There is no shame in failing to be effective in The pursuit of an outcome that inspires you. There will be some degree of disappointment and no reduction whatsoever in the original intensity of the inspiration.
shame is basically an extreme form of grief, like when grief has been suppressed for a long time and has built up and then erupts to the surface. The grief is in association with taking actions that are not in alignment with one’s inspiration. As long as one is unsuccessful in taking actions that do not fit with one’s inspiration, there is a kind of comfort in one’s ongoing failure.
however, once someone has been effective at producing the targeted result, there is no more hiding behind and effectiveness. The fact that the target has not matched ones inspiration can be internally recognized and may also be recognized by others. Someone can have a sense that they have been betraying themselves, and finally now they have no way to avoid admitting their self betrayal. They have been effective in accomplishing the task and rather then relief or elation, they may briefly celebrate socially and then, when the social distractions subside, they settle in to discontent, grief, and shame.
Their theater of deception has reached its conclusion. either they chase another distraction from their distress or they are confronted with the shame and everything underneath it. We will come back to what is underneath it later.
So, to review, pride and shame are similar in that they both are the results of being effective in some activity. When someone is effective at producing an outcome that does not fit with one’s inner motivations and inspiration, that creates the effect of shame.The fact that people my claim to have certain motivations does not change what actual motivations and inspirations they experience. Shame is the natural signal for producing a result that is contrary to one’s inner compass.
in contrast, pride is the natural signal for producing results that is in alignment with one’s inner compass. Again, whether or not someone claims a particular motivation or inspiration, pride is the definitive signal of recognition that one has it effectively produced a result that does fit with their own actual motivations.
next, there are two more sets of contrasts and I will quickly list both here. Commitment contrasts with guilt. Trust contrasts with anxiety.
when I take action that is in alignment with my other motivations and inspiration, but have not yet been effective, that I experience commitment. There is a inner confirmation or validation of moving in the direction that is right for me. Through my experience of commitment, it is easy for me to continue gathering skill and gathering resources in order to eventually be effective and then experience pride.
The fact that there will be many small experiments including some with disappointing results is relatively trivial. The intensity of my disappointment only confirms the importance of the motivation for me. The more disappointed I am by a particular result, the more motivated I am to continue to generate commitment by taking action in pursuit of my inspiration. As I experiment, the momentum of my commitment grows and propels me toward being effective. another word for the stage of experience is determination, although here I mean a spontaneous determination rather then an obsessiveness designed to attract social validation and avoid social criticism.
Commitment, how I am using the word here, does not need external validation. It is an internal spontaneous experience resulting from acting in alignment with one’s inner motivations.
note that I am not referring to the social activity of expressing a commitment or making a commitment. There may or May not be some social display of The inner experience of commitment, including that anybody who is observing a person can recognize their commitment to pursuing a particular result or a particular course of action that is in alignment with that result. What someone says or does not say about the experience of commitment is a completely distinct subject from experiencing commitment.
in contrast with the experience of commitment, when we take actions that are not in alignment with our actual motivations, the natural signal of that is guilt. Guilt is distinct from regret in that regret can develop in regard to an unintentional result. sincere regret corresponds to a good intention. In fact, regret is really just a form of sincerity.
Guilt results from taking actions that one has been intimidated in to taking and that are contrary to one’s actual motivations. We may claim sincerity or inspiration in regard to some activity, however guilt is the natural signal of repulsion. When someone is pressured or intimidated into doing something which they are not ready to do or which they would never have any spontaneous attraction to doing, they will experience anxiety and if they act in accord with the social pressure, they will experience guilt.
What they say about the entire process at anytime is entirely distinct from their spontaneous experience. Since guilt arises in the context of social pressure or intimidation, it is extremely likely for there to be some social displays claiming sincerity or loyalty. However, being loyal to someone else’s stated Preferences or interests is entirely distinct from being loyal to one’s own inspiration and motivation.
when someone experiences shame, it is not unusual for them to exert social pressure on others so that others also conform to the same activity and produce the same circumstantial outcome. Typically, if someone submits to the pressure and is eventually effective at producing the outcome that someone else pushed on them, then there will be shame. The one who did the pushing already experienced shame and will once again experience another layer of shame. The one who was compliant and obedient to the social pressure will also experienced shame.
that mirroring of shame between the two people can bring them together in grieving or they can experience an intense repulsion from each other and a sense of resentment and betrayal. Rather than pride, there can be a distressed resentment because the other person (the one who was pressured) “did not properly appreciate my good intentions.” For the one who has been targeted with pressure, they may ask “why didn’t anyone protect me?”
to review, when I act in alignment with my motivations, that produces the experience of commitment and it gives me access eventually to pride. When I have been socially pressured or influenced to act contrary to my motivations, that produces the experience of guilt. if I am effective in doing whatever I have been intimidated into doing, then the natural signal that would be shame. Noticed that people will often claim to experience guilt in relation to failing to succeed at some task. In contrast, consider that the reality is that the experience of guilt is not produced by the failure but by the attempt itself. When there is an outcome of failure, then someone may take the opportunity to justify a display of guilt by saying that they are guilty because of the failure. Generally speaking, in a context of social pressure in which assertiveness is not welcome, pretenses and apologies are common. We are terrified of disappointing the person who is pressuring us. We may even presume that anyone who is interacting with us is pressuring us in an effort to avoid their own guilt and shame. We are so accustomed to that dynamic that we habitually presume it to be present by default.
as for trust and anxiety, what are the sources of those two contrasting effects? When we intuitively perceive that someone is encouraging us in alignment with our innate motivations, we spontaneously experience a physical response which we can label trust. In contrast, when we intuitively perceive that someone is pressuring us contrary to our innate motivations, we spontaneously experience a physical response which we can label anxiety or discomfort.
to summarize, when we act on trust, that produces commitment and eventually leads to pride. In contrast, when we act in response to anxiety (and usually with a desire to hide or deny our experience of anxiety), then we experience guilt and that can eventually lead to shame.
in the case that the repulsive experiences of anxiety, guilt, and shame reach a certain level of intensity, that can produce an experience called humility. When humility spontaneously arises, one sense of appreciation for trust, commitment, and pride can suddenly come into focus. Innate motivations are no longer scrambled (intimidated in to disorder and confusion).
If I have been hiding from what inspires me, I may suddenly realize that my old methods of hiding are no longer effective. When inspiration is clear, relevant actions follow and an unmistakable focus on effectiveness.
There will be respectful interest in disappointment rather than an avoidance of disappointment. Disappointment will be a signal that someone is pursuing the right goal but has not yet effectively produced that goal. When disappointment arises, there will be absolutely no lapse in commitment, in motivation, in inspiration.
trust is ultimately not about someone else. Trust is about recognizing what inspires me. As I act in alignment with trust, I experience commitment. Until I act in alignment with trust, my experience will be pervaded by anxiety, guilt, and shame.
The spontaneous experiences are signals which allow me to recognize what inspires me. The signals are my inner compass which do not need any extra no validation and which have no paranoia about External criticism.
social anxiety is about social pressure and social criticism. There is no guilt in having been targeted with social pressure (as in guilt trips).
when I respect my experiences of anxiety, guilt, and shame, they are valuable signals. They are my allies in repulsing me away from what is contrary to my inspiration. They are part of my inner guidance system. I trust them just as I trust The experiences of commitment and pride.
I notice my inner signals. I notice what I trust. I notice when I experience commitment. I noticed when I experience pride. I noticed when I experience inspiration and motivation. I also notice when I experience humility.