"We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins."
"We feel properly embarrassed when we are caught doing something that makes us look inept, knuckleheaded, or inappropriate. Maybe the difference is this: we feel embarrassed because we look bad, and we feel shame because we think we are bad. When we are embarrassed, we feel socially foolish. When we are shamed, we feel morally unworthy."
"The difference between guilt and shame is very clear--in theory. We feel guilty for what we do. We feel shame for what we are. A person feels guilt because he did something wrong. A person feels shame because he is something wrong. We may feel guilty because we lied to our mother. We may feel shame because we are not the person our mother wanted us to be."
"They who have considered our nature, affirm that shame and disgrace are two of the most insupportable evils of human life: the courage and spirits of many have master'd other misfortunes and borne themselves up against them; but the wisest and best of souls have not been a match for these."
"We are ashamed to seem evasive in the presence of a straightforward man, cowardly in the presence of a brave one, gross in the eyes of a refined one, and so on. We always imagine, and in imagining share, the judgments of the other mind."
"Shame is closely related to guilt, but there is a key qualitative difference. No audience is needed for feelings of guilt, no one else need know, for the guilty person is his own judge. Not so for shame. The humiliation of shame requires disapproval or ridicule by others. If no one ever learns of a misdeed there will be no shame, but there still might be guilt. Of course, there may be both. The distinction between shame and guilt is very important, since these two emotions may tear a person in opposite directions. The wish to relieve guilt may motivate a confession, but the wish to avoid the humiliation of shame may prevent it."
"Some fluctuating notions concerning repentance, virtue, honor, morality ... hovered around Lady Dellwyn's thoughts but were too wavering to bring her to any fixed determination. She became a constant attendant from one public place to another, where she met with many mortifications. But yet even these were not quite so dreadful to her as to retire and be subjected to her own company alone."