As I write my book I am really aware of how shame has become an acceptable part of our culture. As I just listen to people talk in the locker room at the gym, or in grocery lines, or out and about, I hear it continuously.
The most common way I hear it is in people putting other people down for behaving in ways they do not understand. They go on and on about how stupid some person, or group of people are.
Another common thing I hear are people who think if others would just do what they thing they “should”, then the other person would be much better off.
I also hear much gossip and making fun of others. We all know bullying has become widespread. We also know social media can be used to shame people in vicious ways.
I also have heard people be nasty and righteous about their political party and how stupid people in the other party are. With the presidential elections coming next year, this has only just begun.
It breaks my heart. We all do it.
How is this shame?
When we carry the attitude that others are wrong or stupid or worthless, it is in the very air we breathe. We worry about the big wars. We each need to worry about our own wars. Shame hurts.
I do not say this to point a finger. I have to watch myself all the time. I am most prone to this with those who are closest to me. Somehow I guess I have thought I had the right since we are close. I am wrong.
If we want a more peaceful world we need to accept and love people for how they are. We need to honor peoples’ right to be unique and have their own beliefs. We need to make peace more important than being right. This is what intervenes on shame. This is what makes our world a more loving, safe, peaceful place t be.
I feel sad tonight. I have just seen so much pain and hurt caused from shame. I work with the most amazing people who believe they are defective, unworthy, and unlovable. I want shame to stop. I want this for me and for you and for all of life.