Monday, August 21, 2017

Less Shame

‘Wow, my father an astronaut, I feel so full of …. what’s the opposite of shame?’ – Bart Simpson
‘Pride?’ – Marge Simpson
‘No, not that far from shame.’ – Bart Simpson
‘Less shame?’ – Homer Simpson
‘Yeah.’ – Bart Simpson

The above episode of the comic strip of the ‘Simpsons’ makes a pertinent point. We wrongly believe that the opposite of shame would be to have pride. In fact pride and its allied indignation and irrationality rise often from the feeling of shame.

Shame is the sentiment that there is something basically wrong with me. The emotion of guilt is about doing something wrong, whereas shame is about being wrong at the fundamentals. The feeling of shame rises from the belief of being basically flawed, inadequate, unimportant, undeserving or not good enough.

We become addicted to our core shame belief. It gives us a feeling of control over other people’s feelings and behaviour. It makes us believe that others are rejecting us, or behaving in unloving ways, because of our inadequacy. Secondly it shields us from other feelings that we are afraid to feel, and gives us a sense of control over our own feelings.

We find it difficult to move beyond shame because we are addicted to the feeling of control that our shame-based beliefs give us: control over others’ feelings and behaviour, and control over our own genuine feelings. We can heal our shame when we accept that others feelings and behaviour have nothing to do with us.

We camouflage our shame by anger towards self or others or we tend to raise the pride flag. For instance, if I have a sense of shame of being part of a community that discriminates against others, I may flaunt my pride of belonging to it. However, if I feel ‘less shame’ I will be less prone to irrational indignation. Eventually, ‘less shame’ comes from the realisation that we are not responsible for the harsh reality.

Change the script by moving to ‘less shame’
False beliefs lead to angry pride that’s lame!

~ Pravin Sabnis

No comments: