Sundays With Omar: Guilt, Shame & the Importance of Forgiveness…



Although no one looks forward to feeling the effects of guilt and shame, there are important aspects about feeling “guilt” and “shame” that influence our ability to be empathetic and to be contributing members of our communities.


At Sanford House, we believe in a recovery free of shame and guilt…


Guilt, Shame and Forgiveness

Shame: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

Guilt: a feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation. 


In contrast to these uncomfortable emotions, it is the concept of “forgiveness” that often becomes the greatest challenge. And the greatest healing force. We all have reasons for feeling guilty and ashamed. Last week’s Halloween decorations aren’t the only skeletons in our closets. But, forgiveness is of vital importance to our personal stability.


Beating ourselves up is difficult, but forgiving ourselves is healthy.


At Sanford House, and in our own homes, good health should be our goal. And in the case of self-defeating emotions, forgiveness of others and of ourselves is the healthy thing to do. There can be amends to pay, there can be consequences to endure and there are good days and bad days. But, we do our best work when we are free from the burden of hate, anger and fear. Oftentimes these harmful emotions are the result of the loathing that comes with guilt and shame.

Reasons to Forgive…

So my encouragement is not to get caught in the trap of deciding if others deserve to be forgiven, or if we ourselves have earned the right to be forgiven by ourselves or others. Rather, the fact that there is breath in our lungs and blood in our veins is all the reason we need to forgive and to prosper…
Omar H. Flores, LMSW, CAADC









Omar Flores, LMSW, CAADC

Omar Flores, Sanford House Clinical Director, is tasked with developing dynamic, proven and personal treatment plans for Sanford House clients and staff members. He says, "The freedom to look at all options for substance abuse treatment and choose the approach that will most benefit every individual in the organization is unique to many treatment environments. I am excited to be a part of this dynamic team!" His bi-monthly column, "Sundays with Omar", gives his unique take on current events and media in the Behavioral Health field.