Shame Can Be A Good Thing

It is quiet in this house. Three boys sleep peacefully upstairs, still dreaming about their adventures in Minecraft and Roblox, unaware of the turbulence growing within the sea. Two have just entered their teens and one is but eleven. Children still.

The girl-child, the smallest at only six, is asleep on the pullout couch just across from me. She is surrounded by an army of her stuffed animals, unaware of the turbulence growing deep down within the sea.

I look around me, try not to look around me, so as to remain blissful, ignorant, blissfully ignorant, and for the most part I am successful.

But every once in a while I stumble, fall, and open my eyes to look around. This morning I stumbled onto a blog. It was about shame and not feeling shame. I believe a quote from Anais Nin led the post. So as you can imagine, the post was in favor of not feeling shame.

On certain accounts I also protest the devastating effects of shame. Victim shaming is despicable. Body shaming is another harmful form of shame. Once, in sixth grade, I was humiliated and deeply shamed when I had a moment while doing sit-ups in gym. I came up and something came out (in the form of a loud noxious gas). Suffice it to say, I still don’t do sit ups.

I suppose any emotion can be manipulated but I think in its truest and purest form, shame is a good thing. It is the firm look, a reproachful look, of a wise and loving mother.

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.  ~ C. S. Lewis

It is a soft nudge, a gentle poke, that whispers to you, “This is not ok. What you are doing is not ok. Perhaps you should reconsider.”

There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’ ~ C. S. Lewis

It is the teacher, the guide, the guardian holding you accountable, not only for the choices you make that affect you, but the choices you make which affects others.

There are very few people who are going to look into the mirror and say, ‘That person I see is a savage monster; instead, they make up some construction that justifies what they do ~ Noam Chomsky

The social construction that causes me worry, that agitates my mind, is the one in which people, specifically women, justify having affairs with married men. I speak specifically of women because I am one. It means a lot to me. I feel a shared sense of solidarity with other women. I care for them. Deeply.

I also speak specifically of women because I think that we hold incredible power and influence. When that power and influence is focused on destroying marital vows, eroding the meaning of marriage, and in the process harming other women and children, it is disheartening to say the least.

The blog I stumbled upon was written by a woman who is in the midst of another affair with a married man. The post was justifying the decision to ignore that healthy feeling of shame and instead feel pride for the decisions she has made.

Sigh…

Life is an incredible adventure, but it is not an adventure we take alone. It is exciting to think that each decision we make is weaving a story, each decision we make is creating a future. But it is not our story alone; it is not our future alone.

I think about the boys asleep upstairs playing with dreams and I think about the small girl-child who is beginning to stir. I strive, battle, fight to create a world in which they can trust, in which love abounds, and commitments are real, a world in which people still do the right thing.

But one day they will leave the world I have made for them and they will step out into the world that is being co-created by all of you: people who do not cheat, lie, and steal and by people who do cheat, lie, and steal. A world created by people seeking the good for themselves and a world created by people seeking good for all.

And that knowledge right there, well…it scares the hell out of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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