Daily Meditation

An Atmosphere of Shame-Daily Meditation August 2, 2023

Today’s quotation:

We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.-George Bernard Shaw.

Today’s Meditation:

It’s such a shame that we’re trained to feel so much shame in our lives.  Any way that we’re different or unique is a possible source of shame in our society–are you messy?  Do you not feel patriotic?  Did you show up at a formal party in jeans?  Is your sexuality somewhat unique?  Did you have sex with someone you’re not married to?  Did you miss an important meeting?  Other people can find many sources to try to make us feel shame because they know that if we feel it, we’re likely to be more “controllable.” After all, we want to make up for our “shameful” act.

Shame is an artificial concept humans have adopted to control other people, and it’s been incredibly dominant in religions.  Many of the things that we grow up being ashamed of are quite normal human qualities and traits, and there’s no reason for us to feel shame for them.  Many things we do are simply mistakes, and once we’ve apologized and made amends, there’s no real reason to carry shame for the action with us for any time.

There are legitimate sources of shame, but they’re relatively rare.  And a bit of shame here and there can help us to strengthen our character when we realize that we don’t want to do that kind of thing anymore.  But when we live in shame and focus on that shame, we rob ourselves of the power to become the people we were meant to be, and we don’t allow ourselves to function with the freedom we need to make our lives unique.

There are very few things that you should be ashamed of.  Making mistakes and moving on with our lives is perfectly normal, as not being ashamed of the errors.  When we learn to reject the attempts of other people to make us feel awful for something that we are or that we’ve done or said, then we learn to create our own lives on our terms, following our instincts and ideals.  Life isn’t a free-for-all, of course–we can’t go around doing whatever seems okay at the moment–but when we know that we’ve done nothing really wrong or that what we are is our business and no one else’s, then we can leave shame behind and move on to do the great things that we were meant to do.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many church leaders try to make members of their churches feel ashamed?  Why do so many parents use shame as a disciplinary tool with their kids?

What things do others seem to think you should be ashamed of?  Are you ashamed of them?  Why or why not?

What is the true source of shame?  How does it affect us in legitimate ways?

For further thought:

Your shame hides in many places- anger, blame, denial, workaholism, perfectionism, drinking, and anything else you compulsively engage in to make yourself feel better.  But if you could learn to be vulnerable for one second and open up to the pain, you would find no place left for your shame to hide.-Adam Appleson.

If you missed our last Daily Meditation, it is here.

An Atmosphere of Shame


BeckyWillis is a "glass is half full" type of person, so she decided that she would share that with others. After going on 15 years in the blogosphere she decided it was time to make a change and in doing so help uplift others. Her husband is her biggest cheerleader; you can visit his site at https://lifeasrog.com.

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