Understanding the very real differences between shame and empowerment is an important first step in beginning the process of overcoming your shame and moving beyond being a shame-based and unhappy person. A shame-based lifestyle involves old and automatic habits, despair, cynicism, hopelessness, powerlessness, and stagnation. An empowerment-based lifestyle involves conscious choices, accountability, responsibility, optimism, and growth. The following material lists the significant aspects of shame and empowerment and highlights how they differ from each other. As you read through these definitions, try to begin to understand how shame affects the way you look at yourself and the way you live your life.