Shame is a loaded word for Westerners. Like most things, it can be seen in a positive or negative light. Negative shame is accompanied by guilt and self-denigration. It is pointless and doesn’t help us even slightly. Positive shame, on the other hand, is recognizing when we’ve harmed ourselves or anyone else and feeling sorry for having done so. It allows us to grow wiser from our mistakes. Eventually it dawns on us that we can regret causing harm without becoming weighed down by negative shame. Just seeing the hurt and heartbreak clearly motivates us to move on. By acknowledging what we did, cleanly and compassionately, we go forward.
from the book Becoming Bodhisattvas: A Guidebook for Compassionate Action
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