Shame is an affective experience and self-conscious emotion tied to one’s identity. It is usually defined as a negative emotion that stems from judgement by others or oneself to be flawed in some crucial way, or when some part of one’s self is perceived to be inadequate, inappropriate or immoral. Those judgements can be real or imagined.
Feelings of shame range in intensity from a mild flush-faced feeling of embarrassment to full-on humiliation. The intensity of the experience is influenced by one’s culture, background, family experiences, personality and the immediate context from which it stems. They can also include feelings of not enough, low self-worth and of having a defect in some way. Shame is not guilt. Guilt is focused on an act and shame is about the person.