Today, I was going to write about not being a jerk, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Because today I’m going to write about shame. Today, shame is my adversary. I’m not a violent person; but today, I want to get out a baseball bat and beat shame straight to hell.
Shame is insidious, incestuous and relentless. Shame has no shame!
My compassionate and brilliant son was in tears this morning because his hand writing isn’t good enough. He can’t remember the “right” way to make a cursive p. “Where does the tail go, above or below the line?” And, he can’t remember how to do long division. It had been a long summer, and we didn’t practice much math. He “knows” he can’t write. He “knows” he’s not good at math. He wonders why they have to keep telling him. He doesn’t need reminding. Why do they have to keep pointing it out? He tells me he got the message loud and clear the first time, and he knows he is no good. He “knows” he “should” know how to do these things. He knows he is not good enough — He knows shame. He and shame have an intimate relationship, and it breaks my heart to witness this inherently destructive union.
Brene Brown, Ph,d., LMSW, tells us this about shame: “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable. That’s why it loves perfectionists–it’s so easy to keep us quiet. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees. Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it begins to wither. Just the way exposure to light was deadly for gremlins, language and story bring light to shame and destroy it. ” From Brene Brown’s bestselling book, Daring Greatly.
So, I think I’ll trade in my baseball bat for a flash light and shine it right on that darn shame until it withers into dust, and then I’ll blow it away in a single puff.