Shame = killer of creativity
Let's make new relationships with a necessary, yet painful experience of our humanity
A few thoughts about shame
I knew that this would happen eventually. I would sit down to write and something that happened in my private life would have an impact on my creative process. Today, I’m stuck. I Am stuck because of my experience of shame. This shame I’m experiencing is earned and deserving.
I’m not going to go into the ‘what made me’ part of being ashamed. Instead, in this post, and a few more, I’m going to explore some aspects of shame, how it impacts us all differently and some clues as to how we can have a more healthy relationship with it.
Fun with shame!
I typically do a first draft of the newsletter either as a voice to text dictation or as a note scratched out on my reMarkable2 tablet. Here’s what I started with today.
Overwhelmed by shame is not the most grounded place to start a creative endeavour. These newsletters are a daily test of my creativity. As of writing this, I feel completely worthless. I have nothing to offer anyone. Ever. What the hell was I thinking making this promise to people - a daily newsletter, how absurd. Even Kareem Abdual-Jabbar is only publishing three times a week. Who the hell do I think I am?
Do they know what I’ve done? At this point in my life I’m only worthy of vomiting out a confession which details the events that prove what a terrible piece of shit human I am….
Ugly right? Shame disrupts our ability to find creative solutions and adaptations. Shame is a moment of certainty and pain. I’ve never created something I’ve been proud of from a place of feeling ashamed.
And, as soon as I started paying attention to all of the different aspects of my experience of shame, shame goes away.
Ashamed of shame
In our culture, there are few things as terrible to experience as shame. Starvation, war, and violence all are horrific experiences. And many come away from them with something worse - a sense that this was somehow their fault. They come away with a sense of shame.
Shame and trauma are a whole big kettle of fish. Shame in general is an ocean of fish.
Now. I know well enough not to make direct promises about ‘the next few foolsletters’ any more. And? I’m likely going to use a few of the upcoming ones to explore how to transform your experience of shame.
Shame in our culture is a sneaky thing to detect, let alone disrupt. It’s so shameful, so taboo to have been shamed or experience shame that people are ashamed of the fact that they experience shame. And then? We get ashamed of our shame around shame and the shit slide of a shame spiral has begun!
Shame, for many of us is a shadowy aspect of our experience of being alive. Naw. It’s a shadow, under a blanket, in a closet, at night time, in the winter, during a power outage, with no candles, matches, flashlights, batteries, cell phones, at the bottom of a well, in a cave, at the base of a mountain, somewhere deep in the woods.
So. With that in mind, the first step in negotiating a new experience with shame, we first need to be aware of our experience with shame.
Take a moment and think about a time when you experienced shame. Who was involved?
What did you do?
How did it happen?
Is the shame because of you or does it belong to someone else?
Check back for moron shame in future foolsletters.