When honest with yourself, you become a better person. A better leader. A better colleague. A better partner. A better mentor. A better human being.

Earlier today I wrote a post on our sister-emotions, guilt and shame. 

We have all experienced guilt and shame. And we will again, too.

GUILT is what we feel when we do something wrong. And, yes, sometimes unknowingly at the moment. If you’re like me, you are really good at beating yourself up when you feel guilt. We may accept responsibility, yet our focus moves external—outward, if you will—when we feel guilt. We may try to fix what happened in order to make this guilt go away.

SHAME, on the other hand, conjures when we violate our own social norms, or what we believe in. We may feel small. We want to sink into the earth and disappear. We direct our focus inward and feel negative toward self. The underlying source of many addictions can be shame.

Guilt and shame can destroy you. OR.. you can make Bold Moves and learn from these two sister-emotions.

I experienced guilt and shame this weekend as a parent. Here’s the story:

My son is the starting point guard on his varsity basketball team. He’s been training hard for three years for this position.

Last week, during a game, he was taken out by a kid, fell wrong, and fractured his wrist. With the season approaching and a game against LeBron James’s son coming up in November, we sought a well-known doctor in the area to help get him up and running, fast.

Of course, this required a cast. 

We got home that night, and my son asked, “Can I get my cast wet?” The doctor didn’t say anything about this. And this was his first cast. I’ve had a cast, but it was waterproof. It never dawned on me that his cast wasn’t waterproof as well.

So of course, I send him into the shower and he gets it wet. (Yes, stupid move).

This weekend, he sent me a text while I was on a hike. “Bruh, mom. I’m not supposed to get my cast wet. It felt weird so I Googled it.”

And then it hit me.

Oh, no.

The guilt that I didn’t double-check with the doctor.

The shame that I failed my son.

I messaged him back and told him that I would call the doctor first thing Monday morning.

Here’s what we need to remember, and how to work through this:


Life is our classroom. To think that we aren’t going to screw up is ridiculous. Most importantly, it is important to show others that it is ok to admit fault and learn.

We put a new cast on yesterday, and the first thing that I did was apologize to the doctor.

I didn’t know the type of cast they put on him.

Lesson learned: Don’t assume someone knows what you know. Reminders are good. Every little instruction may be needed.

When it comes to feeling guilt and shame, self-reflection is key. I felt awful the moment that I received that text from my kid.

“How could I be so dumb?” 

“Why didn’t I check first?” 

“You should know better! You are an adult. You are his mom.” 

And then I called a friend who talked me off the ledge. He gave me terrific advice and reminders.

This is not the end of the world.

You didn’t know, but now you do.

FORGIVE YOURSELF. And do differently the next time.

One of the greatest questions I use in self-reflection is, “What would I tell my best friend about this situation?”

I’d have told my best friend to not be so hard on themselves. Give yourself a break. Love yourself for being human. And fix it tomorrow by calling the doctor.

We should all be our own best friend, so that is what I did. And you know what? He ended up with an even better cast as a result.

So there you go.

Learn these tools for the next time you experience guilt and shame. Use them. And share them with your colleagues, friends, and family.

This is what it is to Make Bold Moves forward. 

What Bold Move are you making today?

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