I’m one of those “Self-Improvement Junkies” from way back. I’m constantly examining my behavior. Perhaps that’s an entirely different post, but I’ve been thinking about shame.
Shame gets a bad rap. Sure, for those of us who secretly hug it to our bosom, it damages us and eats away at our self-worth. But c’mon, folks, look for the good in shame.
It stops me from trying to score illegal diet pills and from smoking dope because I wouldn’t like reading about myself in the “arrests” section in the paper
It keeps me from having an affair because I’d have to take my clothes off in front of a stranger.
It helps me readjust my attitude and not rip the sink off the wall in order to bash my husband in the head when he leaves the toilet seat up in the middle of the night.
It stops me from ordering a second and third hot fudge sundae when I finished my first one before all my friends finish theirs.
It forces me to make my bed on the mornings that friends are coming to coffee. (I know that two of them will have to use the bathroom at the same time and someone is sure to go into my bedroom.)
It keeps me (sometimes) from yelling out my car window at the bareheaded cyclist who is riding with his helmeted child, “Hey, are you teaching your kid to be stupid when he grows up?”
It usually keeps me from cutting in line.
It forces me to wash my hands after using the restroom because everyone will notice if I come out too fast or return with dry hands. (At the very least I’ll get the bar of soap wet when I am at a friends just in case someone comes in right after I leave.
It reminds me to chew my food when I eat with other people.
If I am paying attention, it keeps me from passing gas, adjusting my underwear or scratching that little itch on the very end of the nipple of my right breast…when I’m in public.
It holds me back from forcibly detaining my children and grandchildren when they are leaving me…especially to get on airplanes.
I’ll keep working on my issues and learn to deal with the other “stuff” around it. In the meantime I must come down on the side of good healthy shame. (Oh dear, is that an oxymoron? )
May shame be upon you….oh, I mean “May peace be upon you!”
Of course, you still like me because you already knew most of my shame:)
Thanks, Ramana. Don’t you love TED talks? I can only hope that my readers, when they read about shame, think, “Me, too,” through their embarrassed snickers.
For those of you who may not have seen it, here is the original talk by Brene Brown. http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html