#shame #ConstantShame #HealthyDosesOfShame #feelings #LackOfFeelings
Shame may be a terrible thing to feel.
But having no shame may be worse.
Michaela B. Swee and Susan Murray wrote an article for Psyche advising “How To Cope With Shame.”
“Do you feel perpetually bad, broken or unlovable?” the article begins.
Then, it proceeds to provide psychological “tools” with how to combat this feeling of shame.
Certainly, shame as a constant feeling may certainly be unhealthy.
But, healthy doses of shame, every so often, can be very healthy.
Otherwise, if you have no ability to feel shame, you will likely do evil things.
It’s easier to commit evil when there is no interference from your conscience.
The point is that shame, as a constant, is bad for the psyche. But one must find the happy medium so that he or she can feel shame when appropriate. That could prevent him or her from hurting others.
Some countries, or systems of belief, incorporate shame into their teachings. They want your feeling of shame to punish you if you do something wrong. In these cultures, the feeling of shame is the worst punishment imaginable – worse than a beating or imprisonment.
That indoctrination into feeling shame is a great deterrent to the commission of evil.
But to those who feel no shame, doing evil may be painless to them, perhaps even bring them joy. In many cases, the evil they commit on others enriches them. To them, ill-gotten gains are still gains. How they got them is of no matter to them.
We’ve undoubtedly, at some point in our lives, come across an evil doer, the commission of whose deeds would never cross your mind.
That probably means you would feel a healthy dose of shame should you do those things.
Healthy doses of shame – or the possibility of it — make people good, in many ways.
Shameless individuals, on the other hand, are probably not good people. They are untrustworthy, unreliable and, yes, potentially dangerous.
Those who feel constant shame – the folks the authors are addressing – could be potentially dangerous to themselves. The authors suggest things like knowing the cause of your constant shame, even writing a letter to yourself, showing yourself compassion.
It’s unclear whether people who feel constant shame would be a danger to others.
It’s very clear that those who feel no shame are a potential danger.
The authors also suggest that people who feel constant shame find “safe relationships,” meaning hanging with those who understand you.
For those with no shame, relationships are likely a means to an end.
In summary, healthy doses of shame are good. Constant shame is not. Having no shame may be the worst of all.