Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Shame On You: Distinguishing the Difference Between Shaming and Criticism

There was a time when people were legitamately shamed. Breast feeding moms would shame bottle feeding moms without knowing her lactation issues. Thin girls would shame curvy girls for not having the ideal body type. Rich kids would shame poorer kids for not having the latest and the greatest. (All of these shakers are terrible humans.)

Times aren't like that anymore. Everything is a "shame" now. Now the rich kids feel shamed because the poor kids because the poorer kids pointed out that theirs he rich kids parents rather buy gifts for them than spend time with them. The mom with the formula? She somehow shamed the breast feeding mom who might have been force feeding her kid just to prove she could do it. And that curvy girl? She shamed those thin girls because she fell in love with her curves and embraced them instead of feeling insulted by them like the thin girls. 

Now everyone is crying "shame". 
I got shamed for my short skirt at the office. 
I got shamed because I got so drunk, I fell over. 
I got shamed for smoking in a non smoking area. 
I got shamed because I got caught shoplifting. 

It's getting pretty ridiculous. 

And it's time to really think critically about "shaming" before we start accusing people of it left and right. 

First thing: We need to actually define what shame really is. Shame is defined by The Free Dictionary as "A painful emotion caused by the awareness of having done something wrong or foolish."

Therefore, you technically cannot be really shamed unless you've done something foolish or wrong. Being different isn't wrong. Standing out is not foolish. Being your own person is neither, therefore, be proud of who you are and keep it moving. 

Second thing, for those who think they were shamed: We need to distinguish the difference between mean spirited shaming and actual criticismJust because someone is critical of your behavior, doesn't mean they are shaming you. 

What if the criticism is valid? Like what if you are actually are kind of a mean person? Or what if that thing really doesn't fit you well and you need to go up or down a size? What if you shouldn't have said that?

Third thing, for those who actually have been shamed for something that was out of your control: Who cares what anyone else thinks about your body? Or your clothes? Or your style? Or your whatever? It's yours. If you love it, why care if people (who don't even matter to you) do?

All of this shaming talk is a byproduct of our inability to be resilient. 

Everyone gets a trophy for participation while actually talent gets lost in the "everybody wins" sauce. 

We don't know how to lose because we never had to do it. 

We accept everyone's behaviors and opinions, even if they are destructive or asinine, because God forbid we actually do a healthy confrontation. 

We don't know how to take a stand in a healthy way. 

We don't know how to disagree respectfully. 

We don't know how to accept criticism, constructive or otherwise, because we never had to outside of the "affirmation sandwich" (where you say two nice things that literally sandwich the actual criticism). 

And proof of all of this is how much we hear about the shaming.

Someone's criticism of you is not a shame on you. 

Someone simply discussing a good thing that happened to them is not a shame on you.

Someone telling you that something doesn't fit you is not a shame on you. 

Someone saying they disagree with you is not a shame on you.

I think the sooner we put our big kid underpants on and take the disagreement or criticism like healthy adults, the better off we will be.