This is a great talk by Brene Brown.
She describes the difference between shame and guilt very elegantly here. She has done extensive research about shame, and states that it is a cause of depression, anxiety and suicide in most cultures.
She talks about shame as an epidemic in our culture and how the media and society program us for shame. The ads that tell us how we “should be,”
and what we “should be doing.” …to the people in our lives that expect us to live up to unreasonable standards.
Shame can come from abuse and emotional trauma in our childhoods, and in our adulthood experiences. Shame is programmed into us by others. You can re-wire the brain with thought patterns that are more supportive for you. Shame is a destroyer.
I believe that many mental disorders are based in shame. I work with abuse survivors that carry loads of shame from their past. Even when people come to the realization that they were abused, the shame does not just go away. In fact sometimes it becomes worse, during the healing process because old wounds are being opened up.
Walking through the programs that are in your brain is important, to be able to find the truth about yourself. You are a special, unique person.
You do not have to carry toxic shame with you.
You cannot change the past, but you can change the meaning of the memories that you carry of it.
The people that planted those seeds were just trying to meet their own agenda by keeping you down, and unsure of your value and place in the world.
Brene Brown makes the point that creativity, inventiveness, and change come from a place of vulnerability. Doing things that are different, and uniquely you means you have to be somewhat vulnerable.
The greatest minds of the world came up with original ideas and creations and discoveries. They were not always met with acceptance.
You do not have to follow the crowd. You have your own voice…you just have to find it and differentiate that authentic voice from the programs that were implanted into your brain. Shame is one of those programs that is no longer serving you.
As the years pass
we begin to feel the subtle gnawing
at our souls
and in our weary hearts
that tells us
not to underestimate
Of any particular moment…
Realizing that it could be
Captured in time
And exist in the mind
For many years to come..
It is not for us to know
of any given moment
Or its ultimate effect on our souls…
The power of a single moment
Is in its very ability
To live beyond itself
And what it appears to be…
Merely a fleeting insignificant piece
Of a much greater picture…
But perhaps smallest perceptions
Are also the greatest
The wisest and most powerful…
For the smallest moments
Can wield power over our hearts
Keep replaying in our heads
Influence major life decisions
Make us take the left fork in the road
And wish we had taken the right…
It is the tiniest moments
That live longer in our minds
Have more influence over our hearts
Have the power to uplift us
Or destroy us
Give us hope when there seems to be none
Or shame us into darkness and despair..
It is not for us to underestimate
The power of a single moment
And it’s grand ability
To suspend time itself
There is no price which can be assigned
To one single tear
Or passion’s kiss
A split second reflex of a blinded mind
A swift passion swept motion
A careless lie
A stolen glance
A seemingly fleeting second
Something that seems forgetable
That can reveal it’s significance
Years down the line
There are no insignificant moments
Only those we choose to ignore
Refusing to give them attention
even those moments
Can gain fuel over the years
Etch and evoke emotion
Carve into our souls
Like a blade
Spiced with flavors we never tasted
At the time
when we were less thoughtful,
And had more time ahead of us
Than behind us
I am thinking about the issue of “Shaming” and “Shame” today, because I had a horrible incident of being shamed yesterday.
The things I was accused of were misconstrued behaviors and one error in judgement on my part. I made a decision in an emergency situation which turned out to be a social error. The decision I made still seems logical to me in retrospect, but apparently the social rules are over everything else, even in urgent situations.
I missed the social etiquette in the situation. It got people very angry and I was scolded and shamed in a severe way. I was thinking about the effect that the shaming and threatening of my job , had on my self esteem .
I think shaming is an issue that all people with mental illness have experienced. In many cases , shaming may have caused the beginning of a person’s mental illness in the first place.
Particularly, being shamed as a child, would cause damage to self esteem. It can interfere with healthy emotional development.
I spell development wrong every time and get that red squiggly line telling me to get rid of the e after the p. I don’t know why it looks better to me spelled developement. There they are again LOL the red squiggles, Thank goodness for the squiggles LOL
Some children are shamed by their parents and other adults. There are a variety of issues that children are shamed for and made to feel as if there is something wrong with them. Some issues children are shamed about are being overweight, being less smart or doing worse in school, being oversensitive and crying.
Personally, I try to address the issue itself with my children. The particular incident is addressed as being inappropriate or a mistake but they are not “Bad” children.
I tell them I love them but the thing that happened needs to be addressed. Children should never be shamed as a person. Correct the behavior, do not crush the child as a person.
Many people with mental illness were made to feel that there was something wrong with them. They may have been yelled at by parents who went on rages. Some children are deliberately embarrassed and shamed in front of others as a punishment , particularly by teachers at school.
Children of sexual abuse carry huge amounts of shame with them, that was inflicted upon them as others. This is very hard to overcome and often carries into adult relationships.
There are also incidents of shaming as an adult that can cause the brain to disfunction. People that lives in domestic abuse situations which consisted of shaming , can end up with crushed self esteem and feelings of shame that do not go away.
When other people shame you in such a way that they make you feel like a freak, an inadequate person, a useless person or a hopeless misfit, they did something wrong.
It was wrong of the person to punish you or wield power over you in this way.
Some people wield control of others by shaming them into a position of submission. This is typical in domestic abuse.
Shaming keeps you in your place out of fear. There is a threat of continued shaming if you do not submit and comply.
If they can make you fear them then they have the control. Some people value control, over relationship. Rather than boosting the self esteem of others (which is what I like to do ) , they crush others down.
The point of my writing this post is to help those who have low self esteem and feel like misfits due to incidents of shaming in their lives. I would like for you to realize and put the responsibility in the proper place.
If others chose to shame you out of their own control issues , it does not make you a bad person or an inadequate person. In fact it is likely that you could have demonstrated the same behavior that was scolded and pointed out, to a different person, and they would have responded completely differently.
No one deserves to be embarrassed and shamed by a mistake or a personality difference. No one should be shamed about their body type or their weight. People should not be shamed for their sexual orientation or religious beliefs.
Different people are different. Some people are more different than the “normals” than others.
Shaming occurs in various situations when differences are not tolerated.
If you are different then that is okay. Be yourself as best as you can. Try to put the incidents of shaming in perspective in your head for the benefit of your own mental state.
Peace and Harmony,