It grows in the dark. We all have moments of shame in our lives. Whether it is the shame of not being good, beautiful or strong enough. We all have fears that push us towards shame and so capture our mind with the darkness of nothing but pain, dislike, negativity and even more fear. I experienced shame as well. Like most of you may know, my culture embraces the word “ Shame” as the guideline towards life. Your life and every step of it has to be measured by this word. This word colors your vision on life and your experience on self worth. Shame is the biggest fear for every parent in my community. Shame is equal to social death.
Shame is the word of our community. They decide what the requirements are for this label. Their requirements stand against several rights given to you by birth. Still as a component of this community you fear shame like the scary ghost underneath your bed when you were five. The sad observation is the fact that as an adult you still believe in that ghost. You will feel relieved if I tell you that your not the only one who is stuck at that age, your parents and grandparents are as well. Stating this I ask myself the question: “ Did we grow up? Or are we still that five year old boy or girl who is afraid of the dark and the ghost hidden in it?
As I questioned the meaning of Shame and where it comes from I read a book written by a researcher called Brene Brown. She is specialized on the matter of shame. She does research in search of an answer on how to break the chain of shame. Her results are a cure for the darkness hidden within every shameful experience. Her cure states: “ talking about it”. Her research showed her that shame hates to be put in to words and that if once one talks about it, it will die a quick death. According to Brene Brown are shame and secrets connected like we are with oxygen. So whenever you feel shame you need to cut its oxygen by talking about it. After having read her book and research, suddenly everything made sense why shame killed more souls then the cold war. It all fell at its place. We have used shame as a restriction in the upbringing of our children and we made sure that they understood that whenever experiencing this hells feeling they did not talk about it. So shame grew bigger than personalities, relations, feelings and self-respect. Because of that we got lost in the web of lies, darkness, self-pity, punishment, hatred, decreasing self-worth, guilt and failure. We nurtured the root of negativity by telling our children to hide their face so that the ghost would not see them. We forgot that the fear would not die by doing so. What we had to teach our children was the courage to accept the fear and face this ghost by putting on the lights and having a look under the bed. Once we would have done that we would understand that the ghost only existed in our head.
So like Brene Brown advocates, have the courage to face imperfections and to accept shame and fear as if it is a part of you and suddenly the dark night will shine in the light of the moon.
Inspired by the book of Brene Brown: “ The Courage of Imperfection”
By Sodaba Abibzay