Shame on you. Have I ever thought what this actually means? After finishing Brené Brown’s I thought it was just me, a book about shame I felt like someone would have hit me with a glass of ice cold water. I knew that this book would probably be a good read, what I was not expecting was how concept of shame was presented in the book. Do you know that feeling of being wired wrong? Like there would be something broken within you which can’t be fixed? That is a shame, right there making its special delivery of greetings just for you. What I didn’t realise before was the distinction of shame and guilt. I’ve been fairly keen on mapping them into same category, like they would be equal, same. But what it is then that separates these two? Well, it is the way of viewing of situations, if you wear shame glasses it looks like you, as a person and human being are alone in this world and only one wired wrong. You would always be an ounce less human than the others. Guilt on the other hand would cover feeling that one of your actions are wrong. Your action is the problem, not what or who you are. Guilt makes us apology and change our behaviour. Shame on the other hand is harder feeling to deal with, most of the time we would run away from it like a Usain Bolt runs 100m or try to avoid it with any cause; blaming others or hindering it with addiction just to name a few. What all of this then means in our lives?
At least for me it gave a name for this feeling of falling from a cliff and not knowing when I will hit the bottom. I’ve been struggling with that sense of nothingness in me, something that would hit me with no reason (or more likely with no rational reason) at all, something that left me always feel like ‘I’m the only person who feels like this or I’m just a terrible human being’. I got a tool to look at this feeling with different gadget than before, not thorough shame but through glasses of understanding. Could I be capable to show myself the same compassion and empathy I can show to others? This would be the hot key or potato to deal with (and certainly not the first or last time I’m exploring roots of this idea). It is not so much the concept of being emphatic, loving and compassionate person towards yourself it is the action itself that seems to be the tough part. It is like learning a new skill; first you will make a lot of mistakes but more your practice, better you become but still even though you’ve mastered the skill there would be mistakes every here now and then, because we are humans and as capable we are, we make mistakes, it is part of our nature.
Why it is so much easier to remember the human factor when dealing with others? But for oneself it is so hard? It is like writing a script for ‘robot me’ and then pressing ‘play’ just to find out that there is always things happening when the show starts that you can’t anticipate beforehand, making the play look more like a human trying to act like a robot. That sounds more of a sitcom rather than a perfectly executed drama to me. It is that idea of perfectionism that haunts me, I know that life is a sitcom, perfectly executed drama just can’t touch that feeling of leaving office on a Friday and by the time you are on a way to metro station you spot an interesting news article on a social media and decide to read it on a go. Of course you get so into it that you would not notice the crack on a pavement and boom you find yourself lying on a street happy about the fact that nothing is broken (and by this I mean also the phone) and you’re still alive and kicking. Robot would have just avoid the crack and this incident would have never happened, not a sitcom material.
Why do we then keep telling ourselves and others to feel ashamed of ourselves? If we know that these feelings are not going to help us anywhere. Should we take another perspective into this whole matter and try to learn ways to prevent this approach. Should we first take a glance at ourselves, learn to understand ourselves better. Look back at that feeling, maybe even afterwards, why did I react this way? But looking back with curiosity of knowing not with punishment of being less human than the others. Maybe then we understand what went wrong and instead of punishing our whole existence, we might make the change that we need rather than taking the nearest exit to avoid the feeling.
Pics are from lovely Copenhagen ❤