We are all actors and our greatest performances sometimes last a life time because of what shame says hide.
Emotional Fitness Training Thoughts and Tips
Acting is work, it means putting on make-up, dressing for the role, learning lines, being directed by others, and adhering to script. Useful for entertaining others, but not always useful for our souls.
Reality check: In living life there are definitely times to play the part others proscribe. Want to keep your job? You need to dress as expected. Want to appease a police officer accusing you of a wrong doing when you are innocent? You need to keep your anger under cover, apologize and take your compliant to court if you do not escape a ticket or worse an arrest. In caring relationships there is a time and a place to criticize and many times to act accepting.
Tip one: When acting keeps you alive or pays the rent, act on. You’ve been given life, you are responsible for doing what you can to stay alive.
Tip two: Decide to act and know you are acting. That helps you control the play and your life.
Tip three: Be honest about the things that matter. Don’t act as if you don’t care when you do or when you should. Seeing someone being attacked, you need not put your life in danger to help; you do need to call for help anyway you can. Cell phones can you safe. No cell phone. Some say shouting fire works best. Others say to shout “The Police have been called.” Studies show that one person doing the right thing pulls others toward the side of right.
Tip four: In close relationships don’t fake it, but be your kindest self. As Yehudis Damet noted in the Other Side of the Story, “Everyone has two eyes, one stronger, one weaker. The stronger is for introspection into our own imperfections; the weaker one for viewing others.”
Tip five: What you hide speaks often of how shame rules. Shame wants to keep us from doing the unthinkable and being shunned by others. Shame as a powerful emotion tells us to sink out of sight when we have done wrong. Not good when we have done no evil; not good if we are hiding the evil we do.
Now looking a bit out of my weaker eye, many struggle not to do evil, but trying to keep their evil inclinations from taking over. These often turn to religion to help, some become priests, rabbis, or ministers. From most, evil inclinations remain only inclinations.; but for some even the most fanatical religious observance cannot hold back an evil act.
I am not proposing forgiveness of the act. I am proposing that the main purpose of shame is to keep us from acting on evil inclinations, which we all have, and the purpose of punishments should be to keep someone from once again acting on an evil inclination. Some people need to be confined for life and in some cases – as in a just war killed. Fewer than fear would lead us to believe, but enough to suggest caution is prudent.
Tip six: Bringing shame out into the open is often the best step to defeating the power of un-needed shame. This is where acting can help. Ashamed of speaking up in meetings or when in a group. Acting as if you are the best public orator in the world might work. Think if each time you act as a dress rehearsal until you no longer need to act.
A personal experience. I have an over bit from thumb-sucking. My oldest brother once pointed out a person with a very bad over bite hoping it would shame me into giving up my thumb. That worked, but made me ashamed to smile.
In time a remark from some friends encouraged me to smile more. I had to act at first, but in time smiling even with my less than perfect teeth became natural and drove shame away.
Tip seven: Talking about shame weakens it. That is why some 12 Step programs help, and why confession of sins eases both the shame and the inclination to behavior badly.
Tip eight: When you cannot keep from acting on an evil inclination, you must get help from professionals. Maybe the inclination is not evil, but defined as such by your parents, teachers, or preachers. then guilt and shame are the problem, not the deed.
Tip nine: Be careful when criticizing others. Be gentle for we all have within us a shamed child that all too often takes criticism as a wound to the heart.
Tip ten: Whether you or another are the victim of shame practice the five in one rule. Five affirmations for one nasty negative.
Not sure you can do the above or that defeating useless shame is possible. Understood. Defeating deep-seated but useless shame means fighting a hard battle. Building a strong self-soothing program will help. Moreover, such a program defeats not only shame, but all useless negative feelings that try to boss you.
Thank you for all you do including liking, commenting, or sharing. Kindness blesses the giver and the receiver.
Links of interest
- All About Shame (en.wikipedia.org)
- Emotional Intelligence (en.wikipedia.org)
- 12 Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (Amazon.com
September 4, 2014: Cast Change: You’ve just been named the casting director of your favorite television show (or movie franchise). The catch: you must replace the entire cast — with your friends and family. Who gets which role?
All get roles, but my favorite show is life and as director, I want all to feel able to be who they are authentically.