How to Stop the Culture of Shaming

** Published in The Good Men Project on September 23, 2014 in a post titled “How America’s Culture of Shame is a Killer for Boys” by Mark Greene.**

Shame thrives on confusion and misunderstanding. When you illuminate shame by talking about it, its power diminishes. When we talk about shame, as shame, we can share how we intend to be heard, because so often, others can hear statements as shaming that are not intended that way.

Shame is also deeply personal. We can not know what others might view as shaming unless we talk with them about it. And this includes our friends, wives, husbands, parents and children.

“Shame thrives on confusion and misunderstanding. When you illuminate shame by talking about it, its power diminishes.”

When we talk openly about the culture of shame, the activity of talking shifts the culture. In the moment we speak, we change our path forward. Change our lives. We have the power to replace the culture of shame with something new that is getting created. What I choose to create is called the culture of permission. You may want to choose something different. Perhaps, for you, it is a culture of compassion. Or a culture of discovery.

As couples and families, we can create these conversational spaces in which we talk with curiosity about what shame is for us as individuals. We can create spaces for listening. Create spaces for difference.

These are meant to be ongoing conversations. That weave in and out of our daily talk. As part of this, we can help ourselves and the children in our lives identify moments of shaming. We can learn to spot shame when it appears. Once we see shame for what it is, we can identify it throughout our lives and guard against letting it have a hold on us.

 

Leave a Reply