Shame. A tough subject I know. I’ve been sitting on this topic for awhile and waiting for the right time to chat about it more. I’ve been noticing it a lot lately – from kids, to Mom’s, to business owners.
Let’s explore what shame really is, how to spot it amongst others and how to catch ourselves from doing it too.
So what is shame?
Brene Brown defines shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.
If you haven’t read her book, “I thought it was just me, but it wasn’t”, I highly recommend it. It is a great way to identify when someone else is shaming you and where shame comes from.
I like to think of it as being anytime someone judges you (either accurately or not), and tries to make you wrong for something and feel bad about it.
I see this with other Mom’s when they condemn another Mom for not knowing something is taking place at school.
I witnessed it the other day at an orientation that I arrived to late for. The gal shamed me for arriving late and indicated the presentation had already started. It was the best I could do that day with our schedules. What she could have said was, “You made it, awesome. Everyone is in the atrium”.
There’s shame from the detail hygienist when we haven’t flossed. The wrath of the dental hygienist right??!!
There is shame in business groups, when one person judges an idea or something else someone is doing as wrong.
There is shaming in organizations when people judge someone else’s decisions as wrong. It’s none of our business why someone makes a decision for themselves! Let. It. Go.
There is shaming amongst clients when they will not take responsibility for their own actions and put the blame on others. Take responsibility!
There’s shaming around dietary beliefs – I’ve heard things like, “You should stop eating meat”! “Should’s should never enter a sentence with another human being 😉
There’s shaming our kids when they make a mistake. Yep, that one cuts deep.
This is just to name a few.
So why do we do this? And we have all done it – either consciously or unconsciously.
This is usually because we don’t feel good about ourselves, on some deep core level. We’re trying to be perfect and have it all together. And this is friggin’ exhausting! So when someone else comes along that threatens us, our own stuff gets triggered and we lash out. We try to bring people down to our level – to how we’re really feeling about ourselves – so that we can feel better.
The good news is that it often isn’t conscious – meaning we’re not intentionally doing it.
So – let’s stop it already. Together. Let’s shine a big light on it. Notice your responses and more importantly what is going on INSIDE that might cause you to react by way of shaming another. What fear-based story have you bought into? Likely one around perfection, unworthiness, comparing, etc. It all comes from fear on some level.
Let’s take a vow to support one another instead. Can we joke around? Sure. But once we slip into judging someone, and making them wrong, we’ve slipped right into shaming, and right into fear.
Don’t take the bait.