Shame can be a cold-blooded killer. It keeps coming and coming and coming determined to finish the job.
I was introduced to shame when I was a little kid. I went away to this program they have back east in New York called ‘Fresh Air Fun’– Where inner city kids from low income communities get to go to spend summers in the suburbs, small towns, and rural areas surrounding New York City. I was eight years old and went to go stay with this family in New Jersey and had been assigned to this family in New Jersey who had just picked me up. Introductions had not been completed when the daughter of the host family yelled across the platform of the train station to her friend announcing:We Have Our Welfare Baby!
That trip was filled with shame for me of not being adequate, not having my own, and being cared for by people who kept letting me know how privileged I was to be staying with them.
I learned very early on about the paralyzing and debilitating effects of shame. The last time someone tried to shame me was when I went to go purchase a car with bad credit. And the salesman looking at my credit history turned to me and said: Your credit score is horrible and I looked him in the eye and responded: “So?! Everybody has had bad credit at one time or another! I have cash in my hands, ready to make a deal. Either you sell me the car or I will get it somewhere else. But, I am getting a car today! The question is: will you get the commission?”
And that was the first day I came back at shame with a vengeance.
I learned that shame was not the boss of me. It comes aggressively and callously. But, when you confront it, it retreats like a coward and runs away like a little bitch! So today, give yourself permission to give shame an eviction notice. If it comes at you aggressively with: you did this, you’re this, then you stand there an say: yeah, and?! That in itself will start to take it down. The more you stand in your center and your confidence, the smaller it gets and eventually disappear.
Shame is kind of like and old, toothless lion that only has a roar. The only power that old lion has is getting you fearful of the roar, making you turn around in the other direction where the young lion is ready to eat you. Your job is to walk through shame like you’re walking past the old lion in victory.
That’s all the common sense I have for you today. Until next time, #KeepItCommon.