One of the great problems in the world is also one
of the most invisible,
because by its nature – it asks to be hidden
and saps our ability to spot its symptoms.
But , to generalise grossly,
few things so undermine human well-being
as the sickness of shame.
The guilty feel bad for something specific they have done;
the shamed feel wretched simply for being.
The affliction lacks borders.
As shamed people, we don’t connect the myriad
ways in which our behaviour and feelings are driven
by a base conviction of our own abhorrence.
We just take it as a given that we are disgusting.
We lack the capacity to imagine that our shame
也是有历史的 因此 可能也该有个终结
has a history and therefore, perhaps, a future that could be curtailed.
A first step in untangling
ourselves is to get enough distance
to spot and name the problem.
We might make use of
a little questionnaire. Out of 10, rate howtrue the following statements feel:
– I don’t deserve to exist –
– I am defective –
I am unworthy of being known and loved.
– I am a mistake –
– I deserve to be abandoned
– I should not be.
Anything over an eight starts to indicate the problem,
but if there were an option, most of us in the shamed camp
would want to award ourselves a hundred ormore.
This is the windswept barren land of shame,
where many of us have been living all our lives,
often without enough mental wellbeing
to know this is where we have been relegated.
We should probe at where our shame collects.
Take the outline of a human figure.
What are we ashamed of?
– our mind?
– facial appearance?
– genitals ?
– anus ?
We were not born ashamed.
We should summon up the voices that gave us our legacy
and which we have then internalised and blended with our own:
You’ll never amount to anything .
You’re the family idiot .
You disgust me.
Others may wonder why people around us behavedthis way.
The answer is clear enough to the shamed:
because we deserved it.
We wouldn’tbe truly shamed people if all it took was
a few simple questions to shake us from our conviction of our detestable identity.
我们该感到羞愧 因为我们长期以来 一直都是有缺陷的
We were shamed because we were and are defective.
Our caregivers weren’t mean; they were – above
anything else – perceptive, even brilliant.
They could spot things that later, kinder people cannot.
They had the true measure ofus.
Shamed children don’t blame their guardians.
We protect them for a weird but logical reason:
so as not to feel entirely alone.
We prefer to think well of our caregivers than to take
on board how badly we have been let down – with
all the convulsive rage and sadness that wouldentail.
The consequences of
shame are written across our lives.
We don’tallow other people to get too close to us;
they would only be appalled if they knew thetrue us.
We’re not so good on physical intimacy.
We get scared all the time ( bad things happen to bad people ).
We don’t like parties (why would anyone be pleased to see us?).
We have a lot of secrets,
for most of what we are
is unacceptable to other eyes.
We go in foraddictive behaviour to escape our self-hatred
– then feel even more ashamed of ourselves
for the unholy things we’ve done.
What is the way out of shame?
The sane popular answer is to tell ourselves
你很漂亮 你很好 但是我们很难说服自己
that we are beautiful and good. But that won’t easily convince.
There may be a better, more oblique strategy
to bypass the defences of the shamed.
We shouldstress not that we are wonderful, but that
every human being who has ever walked the planet is
in their own way radically imperfect
and broken when observed from close up.
We may be a bit wrong,
but so – blessedly – is
everyone else who is and has ever been.
我们可以是愚蠢的 变态的 不礼貌的
Wecan be stupid, perverted and uncouth, but
that is wholly normal.
Rather than implicitlyupholding an ideal of goodness by telling
ourselves that we do after all measure up to it,
far better to throw away ideals and
all notions of achievable purity and goodness.
This is where the problem started.
Better to accept that we are, as a group,
接受自己完全疯狂 脾气暴躁 邪恶古怪
entirely crazy and ill-tempered, wicked and odd, but
then to stress just how much this is a reason
for mercy and kindness ( rather than censure and condemnation).
Let us stop judging ourselves and others
评判自己与他人 这样做 让我们变得病态
by unreal standards, that is how we made ourselves ill;
let us laugh and comfort each other for the absurdity and horror of
existing in human form.
The primary sin of those who made us feel ashamed was not so
much that they spotted our flaws,
it’s that they forgot their own awfulness – and then
had the gall to blame us for our own.
We shouldgive up on fascistic perfectionism in order
to make a generous home for our cracked reality
in our own and in the collective imagination.
That’ll be the start of our way out of the problem of shame.
At The School of Life we believe that
confidence is a skill we can all learn.
Click now to learn more.