The Power (or Lack-of) Shame

This week I heard a quote by the incomparable Brené Brown that has kept me thinking:

“You cannot shame or belittle people into lasting change.” 

This was first spoken to her by a professor when she was an undergrad. At the time, it didn’t make sense. She thought, but that’s how our society operates. That’s how my parents operate.

It’s true, isn’t it? Has shame ever left a lasting (and positive) impact in your life? It can work for a short while, perhaps—but it doesn’t have the strength to make sustained, productive change.

James Corden addresses this in a heartfelt way this week when Bill Maher goes after obese people and ‘fat shames’ them.

For myself, the only lasting results of people shaming me has been depreciated self-wroth. That’s all. No positive, uplifting change. Shame has eaten away at my confidence, my belief in my inherent worthiness, and right to be seen. And I’ve had tp claw to get it back.

Instead of shaming people, let’s celebrate their good qualities. Instead of tearing others down for what they’re doing wrong, let’s lift them up for where they’re succeeding.

And as Corden says, Maybe if I didn’t feel so bad for myself, I wouldn’t have to go to the kitchen and reach for that pint of ice-cream.

Right on, James! …but don’t let anyone make you feel bad about that extra scoop. 

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