shame off you

this is another rant. something i've done quite a bit lately.  just thought i'd warn you before you begin reading, maybe expecting something else... because i have some stuff to get off of my chest and the only way i know how to do it is to get all the way up on my self-appointed internet soap box and scream what comes. so. here it goes... don't say that you weren't warned.

                                     image: seinfeld

                                    image: seinfeld

i'm sick of shame. of shaming people. of believing that a particular person should feel ashamed. just feeling burdened by this sick culture we live in that seems to have a sick obsession with shaming others. a perpetual make another person feel bad for what they've done forever type of ish.

which is crazy because life has revealed that shame doesn't really do much to deter any perceived offending behavior. in fact, people who are shamed tend to fall into a cycle of unworthiness and thus into more behaviors that bring more shame. (this may or may not be true. there's no study that i'm citing to support this fact. i am only speaking from personal experience. and you must admit, it sounds rather factual, no?)

i will be the first to admit that there are some things that might warrant a touch of perpetual shame. like murder, for instance. and even then, there's that whole thing of forgiveness and moving on. but that time you stole a pack of gum from dart drug when you were six years old* - come the fuck on!  let that shit go. it is not serving you at your highest good. and you know it.

honestly, i feel like much of this shame shit is wrapped in the cloak of the idea of original sin. the whole biblical story of adam and eve feeling ashamed for being naked. well, that and the whole disobedience thing. but... (serious side note: seriously? naked? like how we are when we come into this world? shame?! attention people: belief in this is what's wrong with the world! i digress...) and because of the shame we're taught, many of us believe that we should be punished. for even the slightest infraction. forever.

                       angry mob. courtesy of: the simpsons

                      angry mob. courtesy of: the simpsons

i mean! every single day, the media is rife with stories of folks who should be ashamed for something or other. for making a misstep. for using a word deemed socially inappropriate. for falling off some bullshit pedestal that we've placed them on... and because we haven't dealt with our own personal shame, we as a society immediately join the herd, brandishing pitchforks and torches to let the shaming begin! all social media sites burn with comments like, "they should have known better!" "i would never do something like that!" and my favorite, "off with their heads!" i know. it's what we do. like every damned day.

and it all goes back to our own shame. the stuff that exists within. the missteps, the inappropriate words, the falls from pedestals that we've all experienced, but haven't dealt with. and so the second we see someone else on display for the same shit that we've done, we chastise ourselves through that other poor soul... all the while, our personal shame festers internally, destroying any and all hope for a healthy self-image.

i was one of those people who loved to shame. maybe because my very life began in the societal idea of shame - as i was born to an unwed mother... i know! from the playground, to my present day, i truly believed that because of all the times I'd screwed up in my past and made really poor decisions throughout this life, that i deserved poor treatment. for bad things to happen to me. physical body pain. felt that i wasn't worthy of good. yeah. that's the shit that shame will do to you. and because of these beliefs, i acted out in ways that brought more shame. both internally and externally.

as it turns out, i don't deserve that shit. i am making peace with the mistakes i've made and am decidedly choosing acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness with myself, rather than beating myself up for the life i live. because these are the things that a person who's done a so-called wrong needs in order to make better choices in the future. and as i give this gift to myself, i am learning to do the same for others. that's what we deserve.

*we are way past the statute of limitations. still. i do not admit nor deny that this is a true story. nor that it is my own.