I’ve been thinking a lot lately about trolls, about the negativity that so easily can flow on the internet, and about people who make it their life purpose to spread the pain inside of themselves by leaving salty, crispy and shaming comments on perfectly edifying conversation threads.
Pithy, nasty comments on the internet hide under the guise of “freedom of speech”, “my opinion”, and a host of other self-inflating mythologies. Yet the truth remains that all of us are capable of expressing opposing viewpoints without becoming emotionally proselytizing, without finger-pointing, blaming, and really, being outright awful. The emotional ugliness present on many comments residing on the internet is a symptom of a much larger issue –
The need to shame.
As someone who is fascinated about how all energies work together, I’ve been spending some time with shame, evaluating how prevalent this energy signature has become in our modern western societies.
What I’ve found out about shame is a touch shocking, yet not all that surprising.
I’ve noticed that the energy of shame is a cornerstone in nearly every aspect of American life – religion, workplace acumen, sexual practices, what we choose to purchase, how we view ourselves – shame is woven deeply into the fabric of who we view ourselves to be.
And that’s scary.
When I energetically dug to the bottom of what shame is truly about, I was fascinated by the simplicity of its need:
Shame is an Old World control tactic.
The shame energy signature seeks only to suppress expression. Trolls use shame as a weapon, attempting to shame others into either shutting up, or shutting down. Bullies use shame as a bludgeoning weapon. Pastors use shame to ensure that congregants remember just exactly where they fall on the spiritual food chain, as sinners. The fashion and beauty industry use shame to convince women that they aren’t desirable enough without them. Spouses use shame as a means to hold power over another for spending too much money, for watching too much football. We shame our children, we shame our loved ones, we shame those we elect – we shame, shame, shame – and worst of all, we shame ourselves, dozens of times a day.
Yet we do not see that we are part of problem, a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, becoming the abuser to befriend our abuse.
As we mistreat ourselves with shame, not granting to ourselves the grace to be human, we create ultimately unreachable goals within. These unreachable goals are then soothed with external “patches”, usually purchased items – a new car to feel more accomplished, a new pair of zillion-dollar tennis shoes to really receive what we feel is acceptance, a secret rendezvous with a prostitute to work out the inner suppression cause by an endless wall of shame, shame, blame, and inner-implosion.
The root of the shame energy comes from a deep spiritual insecurity that we are not enough, on some level. And those of us who grew up with television strobing through vacuum tubes (which we now know, through medical science, can cause a physical re-wiring of the synapses of the brain) — the objective of ridding the shame response from our emotional dictionary proves to be very challenging.
Nearly every TV commercial directed at women from 1950 until the mid-1990’s was based upon shame.
“You can’t get your house clean enough, so buy this vacuum cleaner!”
“You don’t want to let your husband down because he works hard, so lose those ten pounds so he can be proud of you at his company picnic!”
“Those lines are showing up on your face, yet you can look young again!”
“Remove that unsightly hair from your legs with [name a product].”
Let’s not forget how men were hammered with these same shaming messages:
“She’ll never love you until you buy her a diamond.”
“You’re not a man unless you smoke [name a brand].”
And the list goes on.
It is very important to the Consumerism culture in America that we remain in shame, as consumerism is based upon what we don’t have, not maintaining what we do have. This shaming messaging in commercials has subtly changed over the years, yet the principle still remains the same – this thing or that thing will fill the holes on your life, your spirit, and your soul – so buy them.
The first step in releasing shame is to acknowledge that for many, shame is the first go-to in processing a perceived failure. The goal is to give away the shame response in how we process our embarrassment.
Many confuse being shameful with being truly penitent, or in being truly “sorry” for what they’ve done. Yet there is a vast difference in the energies of owning a mistake with full acceptance, and shaming the self or others.
When we shame, we actually shut down the portion of the self who then learns from the mistake. When in shame, an individual falls captive to a cycle of self-blaming and embarrassment that really never addresses the root of why the mistake happened in the first place, or why the embarrassment is present in the first place, because the shame response sucks up all the processing power in the emotional CPU.
The shame then becomes the issue, the mistake, and the punishment, all in one package.
Shame and embarrassment is the go-to emotion in western culture when we make a mistake, as this is what we’ve been taught will be the response to our misstep. Most fear the shaming process worse than facing the ramifications of the mistake, which is why children learn to lie at such a young age.
As western culture has been built in the image of the imbalanced masculine, the false superman identity has become the baseline for comparison, for both men and women. This fear-of-shame response in large part is derived from the frailties in the imbalanced masculine, or what many choose to term as the “male ego”, whose deepest public humiliation is being shamed for being wrong, being shamed for weakness, being shamed for not being perfect – the list of expectations on the masculine over thousands of years is not accomplishable, unless the masculine individual is not human.
This again is a crowd control tactic. Keep them beaten down in their fear of being shamed, and no one rises. As no one can ever live up to this false baseline, our society continues to be obsessed with that it’s not, rather than what it’s capable of.
Our millennials did not grow up with a strobing messaging device backed by a vacuum tube off-gassing massive amounts of brain-interfering EMF energies delivering only a few consumerist ideals. They grew up with millions and millions of messages on YouTube and Vimeo and other providers that they could choose to align with, based upon their own interest rather than ‘what was on”, all handily packaged on a handheld device – a device which though containing EMF, does not have the physical power to literally re-wire brain synapses.
Our millennials show us what it looks like to be a non-programmed individual. Though many millennials group together in like cause, their generation does not fall prey to the same group-shaming that other generations have: Make money or you’re a “loser, own this or that car or you’re not “accomplished”, have this or that “look” or no one will marry you, etc.
This is one of the many reasons that I love the Millennials so much; they recognize that we are what changes the world, not that the world is here to change us.
Millennials are rarely, if ever, shamed into doing anything, which can be a sore point for parents whose claims that their children will not get off the couch and get a job often fill the ethers. What parents miss is that this generation is wildly energized by purpose. Yet shame and purpose cannot be in the same place at the same time, much like light and darkness.
Millennials can carry a sense of guilt for not being better stewards of the earth, and each other. Even then, their shame response is learned from we Gen Xers and above. IN their innate design, they shake off their missteps and talk it out in a way that other generations would simply bury the mistake in shame, and never look at it again.
Though I’m a proud John Hughes Gen Xer, I completely relate with the millennial view of the world – that everything is possible if we only step up for the right reasons; that the needs of the many being fulfilled will ultimately bring a relaxed peace to the earth; that Avarice has had its day.
And if you recall, Gen X – we were once this generation in outlook, that anything was possible if we came together – that the jocks and freaks and weirdos in a John Hughes movie could all get along at the end of detention if we just talked with one another and saw one another as human. Yet many of our generation fell to the “preppy” ideals of Consumerism, and between coming out of college to a completely collapsed downsizing economy that would no longer honor the value of our degrees, and somewhere between Desert Storm and 9/11 – many of us lost hope.
As Gen X has worn on into middle age, half of us became bitter – and have since become some of the worst scathing talk show hosts, politicians, and internet trolls the world has ever witnessed.
Much of Gen X struggles beneath the bitterness that the world never became what we worked so hard to achieve; what we gave up of ourselves by starting our own businesses, by anchoring activism while fearlessly speaking out in a still-cookie-cutter world, by simply trying to be as cool as Molly Ringwald, that all of our hard work — never paid off.
Or did it? Because we’re the ones birthing the millennials, Gen X.
Think about that. Just – think about that a minute.
It’s time we understand the flow of all things; that every generation builds upon it the cornerstones of evolution, for the next. And in this evolution, it is our time to give away shame.
Shame is an outmoded energy signature in this very interconnected world. We are given the opportunity every day to move out of shame, into acknowledgement and ownership, or to be pulled into the same shame hole again and again, never moving forward in our lessons.
We can acknowledge and own a mistake, and truly admit our sorry. It’s up to the people around us to not step into the role of the blaming, shaming bully that continues to hold the mistake over our heads, as a means of control. If others cannot make that leap in evolutionary consciousness by becoming vulnerable enough to release the pain we have initiated in them, in order to accept our apology – that’s on them.
Our job is to work to not own the mirrored shame being continually reflected back from those whose wounds inhibit their ability to make peace with a world that irritates those wounds.
Certainly, it may take others, and ourselves, a few minutes (so to speak) to overcome a large emotional grievance or misstep from one another. Yet stepping into a place of true sadness while processing our feelings, rather than band-aiding that sadness with the protectionary layer of anger (another bi-product of the imbalanced masculine time frame) will aid in the releasing of shame and the implementing of vulnerability. This action will lead to the acceptance of an apology. And mostly, ultimately lead to our ability to forgive ourselves, which is truly the key to peace on earth.
Though it may be a difficult task, let us change our lens in dealing with shamers. Bless the trolls and the internet bullies, for they bring to us the lesson of what really matters – giving away the shame impulse with being publicly ridiculed. They ask us: Is this really a statement on me? Or is this a statement on the rage and sadness and anger within this individual and I have become a catalyst for their expression? This action of changing our lens is not condoning or approving of verbal abuse. It is readjusting the way in which we evaluate the words presented to us by another individual. It disarms your emotional energy in the situation, disrupting a pain cycle churning in another individual.
Changing your lens is all about you. Not them.
Bless the trolls, as they embody all of the hatred necessary to be a polarizing teacher. The act of holding so much negative energy literally eats the body. This is a rough road for anyone to choose, yet there are those who contain so much bitterness, so much anger that their pain is not acknowledged, so much resentment at feeling invisible, so much fear that they truly don’t matter, that their literal physical body has become the host for this parasite of fear. The trolls believe their negativity to be their truth, their ministry in the world, and they do not see the unbelievable damage it does to their energy, their life, or their physical body.
Fear is a ruthless master. It’s not your path in which to engage. Send love instead.
No one knows the pain of another. Compassion is an incredible tool which enables us to build a staircase to the high road. Shame seeks to deconstruct this staircase.
Give away shame. We’re all human. We will fail. We’ll be wrong. We’ll lead out with a great idea that falls on its face, bringing others with it. We’ll cave in under shame and make excuses. We’ll accidently, or sometimes in our weak moments, purposefully hurt another, or toss someone under the bus in our own emotional laziness. It’s embarrassing for us in those times that we make those choices, yet we do, because we’ve been taught that being shamed hurts more than anything.
Yet when we stumble upon our own frailties, when the scars of our own wounds trip us, in spite of our best efforts – have grace with yourself. When someone calls attention to a true grievance you’ve presented to them, a wound in them that you have injured – instead of caving into shame, simply sink into accountability. Tell the truth. Own your remorse. In that moment. Let the words fall out of your mouth detailing your actions, and why, and how your own inner weakness just caved in. And then present your love to that person, the best you can, with a true remorse, and a thankfulness for the lesson you’ve just learned about yourself.
And whether they “accept” your apology, or not — shame will no longer have hold over you.
We are all each other’s teachers and each other’s students.
Give away shame. And let us disarm the Old World.
#LeadWithLove #TeamLove #nomoreshame