When we grow up in a culture where fear of shame and blame is used to control us…. And we use it to control others…
What can we do? It’s so deeply ingrained in us. The fear, the anxiety. We resort to shaming and blaming in order to make sense, to place responsibility and to protect ourselves.
We know no other way; the shame and blame game is being played all around us. In media, in politics, in business, in the legal system and in the educational system. We get rewarded for playing the game. It keeps the hierarchies in place everywhere. Shaming and blaming is seen as the norm but does it have to be?
Are there not other ways of organising our systems?
How much energy do we spend on shaming and blaming every day? Energy that could be spent on other things…
How can we stop blaming each other and stop make choices based on avoiding being blamed ourselves?
How can we share responsibility for the hurt we inevitably cause each other?
How can we allow each other to fail without shaming and then learn from our failures together?
Shaming and blaming is divisive, we demonise each other and in the process our selves.
Try going through a day and notice how many times you’ve done something in order to protect yourself from shame and blame. Just putting on clothes in the morning – to what degree do you choose your clothes out of fear of judgement and shame? How many times have you automatically put the blame on someone or something? Just opening a newspaper or watching tv, how many times do you get drawn in to thoughts about who the villain is, who the enemy is, who you should fear, who you should blame… How often do we end up in conflicts unwilling to take responsibility for what is happening? It’s so easy to say “Well they started it, I’ll stop if they stop”.
How can we remember we are all human and interdependent?
We are all human, fallible and vulnerable and mortal.
We are all scared.
But if we stop shaming and blaming we might get a little less scared and maybe with less fear we can begin to use our differences to our advantage and save the beautiful planet. We need all of us.
Interesting article on anxiety:
I wonder how we might develop social systems so that everyone has the right to feel safe all the time?
Societies would need to learn what “everyone” means, because it’s too easy to find exceptions.
Societies would need to learn what feeling safe felt like, as many people have never felt safe and our culture does not help us tune in on our body’s messages.
Societies would need to learn what “all the time” was, as we need somehow to live safely in an unsafe world.
That’s a lot of learning. I’m not sure how any one of us does this sort of learning.
I think it starts in every day interactions – in how we are with each other one to one. Then we find like minded people and organise ourselves in smaller groups if friends, networks and communities. Then maybe one day wider society will be made up from little communities were people feel safer… It will take a long time and it is not something I think we can organise or march towards in a massive scale. It will probably happen organically and it starts with us in your daily lives…
As you say the world is unsafe – and I think we cannot make a completely safe world free of pain and dissappointment. I try to keep nurturing those containers of safety I have in my life; relationships, places and bodywork.
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I tend to think organisationally; there are definately trends towards seeing interpersonal connectedness as an essential part of better wellbeing outcomes for communities e.g. Protective Behaviours (training for children to prevent abuse); Tuning into Kids (parenting programme); the KiVa (anti-bullying programme); emotion coaching (as a behaviour management strategy) and these are sometimes supported across whole areas or whole counties. We might be moving away from a behaviourist view of the world to a connectedness view of the world. I think that might be a shift that is happening that we are in the middle of- if I am having a good day!
It a balance isn’t it. Daring to look at and feel the pain and chaos of the world and find that drive to keep going but also seek out spaces where you see change happening so that you can feel supported. If we look into one of those two places for too long we either get overwhelmed and pessimistic or we get deluded about how wonderful it all is.
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but I like your take on it too- indeed it is the only way it could possibly work 🙂 I just keep on irrationally trying to change the world.
Lol thank you for that 😀 I don’t think that’s irrational at all 😄
Compassionate Communities of genuine contact, connection and communication respect the uniqueness of each individual, celebrating dignity and encouraging listening and safe talk resolution.
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