SHAME (From The Voice)
Shame is an emotion that stops people from living. As an emotion, it is a feeling that is created internally. The common phrase “shame on me” sums up the emotion. It is something that you do to yourself. People also say “shame on you”, but usually that is said to let the other person know that they have done something harmful. Far to often, the offending party ignores the comment. Shame comes from within and impacts an individual internally.
Despite no physical harm resulting from shame; nor any external assault being a byproduct of shame. It is absolutely crippling! Shame will keep vibrant people inside the house in fear of potential ridicule. Not even, real ridicule. Just, the possibility of ridicule. Shame will keep accomplished executives in their offices, quaking in fear. Shame will cause functional individuals to cower in their locked bedrooms. How does this emotion create such havoc? Why do people surrender control to shame?
Shameful acts can initiate some of the counter-productive behavior. An individual does something that they don’t want others to know. In hiding the activity or behavior, they turn to hiding themselves. Unfortunately, the external world often is unaware of the shameful act. Or worse yet, the cold, cruel outside world frankly doesn’t care. The shame of a promiscuous one-night stand wrecks a young woman. But, there is no scarlet letter on her chest. The shame that she seeks to hide is not visible in the first place.
However, the damage surfaces from shame. The guilt associated from a bad decision keeps a manager from interacting with her staff. A bad review keeps a writer from meeting his next deadline. Shame is different than guilt. Guilt is recognized by external forces and is worthy of punishment. Shame is internally generated and externally debilitating. The crime associated with shame is that the benefits that a person contributes to her community, his peer group, her staff, his audience is swallowed by the internal vacuum of shame. Shame is selfish. Yet, shame hurts others. When someone experiences shame they are so selfishly and inwardly focused that they do not realize the damage they cause. Keeping their contribution from others is a real problem.
Overcoming shame is like overcoming any other problem. You first have to admit that you have a problem. Because of the inward nature of shame, it is not like admitting a drinking problem. When someone is truly ready to give up drinking, they admit that they need to stop and remove the alcohol from their presence. “My name is X and I am an alcoholic.” However, when shame is involved with the drinking, a new problem emerges. More psychic energy is used covering the shame than removing the alcohol.
After admitting the problem, take proactive steps toward removing it. In the case of shame, attack the internal burden that is the root cause. Realize that shame involves unseen actions or behaviors. Stop doing the offending behavior. Start doing the positive behaviors that challenge the secret pain. If you are ashamed of your weight, go for a walk. Go far another one tomorrow. If you are ashamed of you lack of education, enroll in a class. The shame does not have to be reversed in one grand action. The shame can be overcome with positive activity and personal affirmation. Contribute to the community from whom you were hiding. Bring attention to your positive traits. Allow the light to shine on your attributes. Shame stops you from shining. You are hiding and others suffer because of your selfishness. Give and then gladly receive. Find your worth and squash your shame. Your community wants to welcome you back. They missed you!
Thank you BD & VM