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"Nobody puts Baby in the corner"


Shame is peculiar. I’ve been in some spaces recently where I have been shamed. Shamed for promoting collective compassion and kindness of all things. The more I reflect on the expereince the more I recognize the absurdity of it all. I am not ashamed I know that my intent and my words where chosen carefully and delivered with respect and kindness.

It’s an unfortunate tactic that is often used in social justice spaces, organizational culture, and interpersonal relationships. It creates a less than plesant relational dynamic and when used in access has deblitating consequences.


I actually decided today through a process of deep discernment to practice self-compassion and so I blocked the woman who was bullying me in this way.

I think this women is smart and brave. I am also left wondering what happened in her life to make her how she is today? Why does she communicate in such a hurtful fashion? But really those are questions for her to chew on, not me.

The dissapointing thing is how easily people witness psychological bullying and do nothing about it. People often join in, but that is to be expected as with live in a society that is rewarded for conformity and it is safer to follow the crowd than engage the misfit. I get it - I’ve dealt with it my whole life - but it doesn’t really get any easier, it still hurts. I just find healthier ways to cope with my extreme sensitivities these days. Boundaries are my key take away in this last encounter.


And I still advocate, I can’t stop, it’s like every punch to the gut restores a vigor in me to keep moving forward. It’s like I’m a glutton for punishment which transforms into a tool of motivation that shapes how I choose to influence change.

But shame nah, this is not a tool for a systems transformation enabler.

shame

noun

  1. a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

past tense: shamed; past participle: shamed

  1. (of a person, action, or situation) make (someone) feel ashamed."I tried to shame him into giving some away"


Shame is a complex and nuanced emotion that can have both positive and negative effects on individuals and systems. While it can be used as a tool to hold individuals accountable for their actions and motivate them to make positive changes, it can also be a detrimental force that undermines progress and well-being.

On one hand, shame can be a powerful motivator for change. It can help individuals recognize their actions and take responsibility for them. It can also be used as a form of self-regulation, helping individuals to conform to social norms and values. When used in conjunction with self-compassion, shame can be a positive force that helps individuals improve their behavior and relationships.


However, on the other hand, shame can also be a detrimental force that prevents individuals from making positive changes and undermines progress and well-being. When shame is excessive or not paired with a sense of agency and support, it can lead to feelings of worthlessness, self-doubt, and hopelessness. This can make it difficult for individuals to envision a positive future, access resources, or seek help.

Furthermore, shame can also perpetuate harmful stereotypes, discrimination, and power dynamics that marginalize individuals and communities.

An example of how shame can be used as a negative force can be seen in the way it is often used to marginalize individuals with neurodivergent conditions, such as autism and ADHD. When individuals with neurodivergent conditions are shamed for their behavior or way of thinking, it can make them more likely to internalize negative stereotypes and believe that they are inherently flawed or inferior.


For instance, a child with ADHD may be shamed in school for not being able to sit still or pay attention, without understanding the underlying condition causing this behavior. This can lead to feelings of shame, self-doubt, and low self-esteem, which can make it harder for the child to succeed in school and in life. Furthermore, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and anger, which can make it difficult for the child to envision a positive future or to take actions to change their circumstances.


Additionally, shame can also be used as a tool for social control, by those in power to maintain their dominance over marginalized communities. The tactic is often used by bullies who use shame as a weapon to control, demean and marginalize their victims. They may use words or actions to make their victims feel worthless, inferior or undesirable. For instance, a bully may make fun of their victim's appearance, intelligence, or interests in order to make them feel ashamed.

Bullies often use exclusion as a tactic to control and marginalize their victims as well. Exclusion is the act of deliberately leaving someone out, or preventing them from participating in a group or activity.

Bullies may use exclusion as a way to make their victims feel unwanted or unimportant. For example, a bully may exclude a victim from social activities or deliberately ignore them in class or at work. By isolating their victim, the bully can make it difficult for the victim to form healthy relationships and feel like they belong. It's important to recognize this behavior and to intervene in a supportive and effective way, for instance, by creating an inclusive environment where everyone is respected and valued.


It's important to note that the effects of shame are not only limited to individuals, but also to systems. For example, shame can be used as a tool to silence marginalized communities and maintain the status quo, rather than promoting change and progress.


In conclusion, shame is a complex and nuanced emotion that can have both positive and negative effects on individuals and systems. It is crucial to understand the potential harm that shame can cause and to use it in a way that is responsible and supportive.

Instead of relying on shame, it is important to create a culture that supports positive change by fostering self-compassion, self-care, and mutual support. Additionally, it is crucial to create systems that promote equity, justice, and belonging. System's that can tolerate difference, rather than perpetuating harmful stereotypes and discrimination.
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