January 01, 2019
Taking Power Through Shame
On the path to self empowerment we meet many villains along the road who challenge our authority and try to take us down. They do it because they have not yet mastered their own true sense of personal power, so they feel threatened by those who seemingly have. One of the subtle ways they do this is through shame.
Shame is a crippling emotion that walks hand in hand with guilt. Both give us feedback about the consequences of our actions. Killing someone, for example, usually evokes a sense of shame, remorse, and guilt, so we don’t indulge in it much. Many of us will feel this about stepping on a spider as well. These emotions are hard wired within us so that we will treat each other with respect. They can, however, be exploited.
Much of what we feel shame about comes from not fitting into cultural norms. Institutions, like churches and schools, teach us to suppress our emotions and conform to an external authority from an early age. Without the full spectrum of emotions to draw from, we can no longer hear our inner voices. This opens us to letting an external authority define the lines we must color within, if we want acceptance. Anyone who does not toe the line is “too:” too easy, too loud, too forthright. The list is endless but we all know when we have crossed that line. Stereotyping is an extension of this. Anyone outside our comfort range is fair game to be made fun of.