Sunday, April 08, 2012


I just finished reading a couple of books on shame - what it is, what causes it, and how it affects us.  It's a subject I used to give a good deal of thought but haven't in a long time.  But it occurs to me after reading these books that shame is a plague on our individual lives, our culture, our country and our world.  Secrets become our middle names.  We are terrified that someone will find out about all the ways we are not perfect and perfection is defined totally arbitrarily by our culture - what we weigh, what we wear, what we do all day, how we look, how our children behave, how much money we have, what we think about. 

Women are ashamed because their husbands cheat (how is that possible since she's not the one that's cheating.  I guess it's because if she were better, he wouldn't want someone else.  The thing is all those gorgeous, perfect movie star women are being cheated on all the time.)  People are ashamed because they are getting older.  We're ashamed because we don't know how to do some stuff.  We're ashamed that our houses and cars aren't fancy enough.  We're ashamed because our parents aren't the way we think they should be.  Our kids needs to be beautiful, smart and successful and never make mistakes or we are ashamed.  People are especially ashamed if they have someone in their family with addiction.  (People don't really believe addiction is a disease because addicts behave so badly.  Then people believe the disease idea is an excuse.)

We are especially ashamed if we make mistakes of any kind; big or small - which, of course, we do every single day.  So we are ashamed all the time.  The only way to make us feel better is for us to shame someone else.  Which we do a lot.  Good grief!  I don't believe in this crap any more.  Being ashamed is not helpful.

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