Shame serves a useful purpose, but like many emotions all too often takes over when it is useless. When is shame useless? Jerome Kagan, Harvard researcher, notes that shame is designed to keep us from doing the unthinkable. It develops when an older sibling gets strong enough to kill a meddling, annoying younger sibling. So shame is useful only when it prevents murder or other vicious behaviors; think rape, torture, or slavery.
Shame has become a useful tool for those who wish to control others. Religions use it to control what the founders define as sins. The “Seven Deadly Sins” are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and laziness. Think about how these “sins” work for the powerful to control others.
Need some examples? Shame is used in many groups to control women. Immodest dressing, appearing to sexy create shame in many woman and can be used by men as an excuse for rape. Shame then serves to get women to go along with being be covered up and hidden.
Shame is created by the idea that material success depends on how hard you work, so being lazy is seen as shameful. That shame serves bosses well.
Shame is also created by making envy and greed sins for it keeps those who have little from growing wrathful towards the haves.
Finally, shame has been extended by powerful groups to extend to thoughts and not actions.
Emotional Fitness Tips
Tip one: Get clear about what really matter. Replace the Seven Deadly Sins with the Four Shameful Actions: murder, torture, rape and enslaving others.
Tip two: When shame visits see it as a signal to not act without careful thought. Ask yourself: who are you hurting, which ones of the Shameful Acts are you thinking about committing?
Tip three: When it clear your shame is not appropriate, use self-soothing skills, particularly self-talk, to banish shame. That will take time, but can be done.
Thank You for All You Do
Thank me by remembering sharing is caring; so is liking, or commenting. Your caring keeps me going.
Thank you Word Press for today’s Daily Post Prompt “Embarrassed” for letting me pontificate. I use the Daily Prompts not just to spark my blog ideas, but to improve my critical thinking skills. You can do the same.
Not sure about how to use a Daily Post Prompt as a writer? Here are the steps to get started. Then improve your thinking skills by seeing where the prompt has led others and how other thoughts fuel your thoughts. Whether you write or not your thinking skills are improved by reading other people’s thoughts.
LINKS OF INTEREST
These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.
Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
The five components of Emotional Intelligence (www.sonoma.edu)
Emotional Fitness Tips for Parents (parentsarepeopletoo.com)
An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents(amazon.com)