Yesterday’s Foolsletter illustrated how shame is contextual. It is a relational experience. That means that shame arises when we encounter the other. The people we are with and the context we are in defines whether or not something we do is shameful.
I’ve been getting a lot of feedback about shame. This recently came in as a message.
Say some more about this:
“Developing a sensitivity to the experience of shame in yourself and compassionate towards that in others is a kind of super power. * It’s a way to give people permission to be themselves and to recognize and honour the boundaries that can both be supportive and restrictive.*
When you understand and are sensitive to how you experience shame, it becomes easier to recognize the physical signs, stories and behaviours in others. Once you can recognize someone who is experiencing shame, it becomes easier to help support them as they sort through their shame.
Is the shame experience information from a boundary, directing you back to integrated values or goals. Or, is the shame experience one that feels restrictive? What expectation or rule comes with this shame? Is this something that you’ve integrated into how you are in the world? Is this a perceived rule that conspires unaware and indirectly as a tool for self coercion?
Then, it doesn’t matter if you’re watching yourself in shame or someone else going through the swings and spirals, you’ll know how it works and how you get sucked in. You’ll be less likely to get hooked into the shame of someone else. You’ll be able to identify if the shame is helpful or harmful. This is great information when it comes to supporting yourself or another through shame.
I realize that I’ve been writing a fair bit lately about shame. I went through my notes. I have a lot to say about this stuff - especially where it intersects with creativity and the creative process.
As a teaser for where this is going, I’ll leave you with this:
Embarrassment is shame with a sense of humour.
That’s where we’re going.
And there’s a lot in that little sentence.
So chew on that for a while.
There’s more to come.