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delirium happy

Just keep on trying till you run out of cake

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Such a shame
delirium happy
She was completely shameless!

Have you no shame?

As far as perjoratives that are deplorable and ultimately harmful to society, "shameless" has to rank right up there with the likes of the use of "gay" to mean "silly and undesirable". Why on earth is it that people think that a lack of shame is in any way a bad thing?

Shame is a nasty and unpleasant emotion that ultimately does nobody any good at all. Shame is all about sackcloth and ashes and hiding one's face. Shame is about self denial and self hatred. Shame is, ultimately, about self-repression. Shame is almost entirely removed from regret, remorse and sorrow. These all have positive aspects to them. Shame doesn't.

I decided a while ago that I was done with shame. I was just going to get on with living my life as best I could, and if I fall short of standards set by either myself or others from time to time then that's just too bad. If I make an almighty cock-up at some point then I'll use my energy in figuring out how to stop myself repeating the error in the future, rather than beating myself up over it and letting it eat me from the inside.

At the risk of sounding like a slightly dodgy self-help book, let me tell you this: there is huge power in this approach. Without shame, it's much more difficult to succumb to other negative emotions, such as fear or anxiety. It's easy to discuss things openly; easy to take risks; easy to do things without excessive deliberation.

The entire concept of pride movements is to combat shame. Pride movements aren't trying to say that being gay or black (for instance) are better than being straight or white. They're just trying to say that these things are in no way things to be ashamed of; that nobody should feel compelled to hide in the shadows; thatnobody should have to change themselves to fit into society; that diversity is something which strengthens us all, and that we should be proud of.

In our culture, we are given constant reminders of the power of following one's heart. Be it Frank Sinatra crooning that he did things his way, William Shakspeare urging us, "this above all: to thine own self be true" or any of the thousands of others in between, we are left in no doubt that the truly great are able to lift themselve out of mediocrity merely by believing in themselves.

And yet, the powerful meme of shamefulness persists, as strongly as ever. This is hardly surprising, given that it is a fantastic, tried and tested method of keeping the downtrodden masses as downtrodden as possible. The more insignificant people feel, the easier it is to influence them. I've no time for buying into that one.

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I think shame can be a good thing or a bad thing. Feeling ashamed needlessly is bad. Feeling ashamed for things that are not your fault or things that you cannot change or things like misspelling the word "cow" on a spelling test when you were five because you were sure the teacher said "how" (yes, i'm still self-hateful when i think of that)? that's bad. but the kind of shame where you do something shitty to somebody, and you feel ashamed, and that feeling motivates you to make it up to them and talk it out? that's good shame.

i think shame, like most feelings, is very poisonous if you hang onto it. but if it's a thing that comes up and then you deal with it appropriately when it does and let go of it, letting go being the key thing, then it can be good.

just like feeling sad or feeling angry. angry is a wonderful tool. it can motivate people to get shit done and change the world and make things a better place. but if you let it eat you away and just sit on it, it turns into poison.

just my two pence.

You make a good point, with regards to two sides to every coin (or feeling in this case)!

"but the kind of shame where you do something shitty to somebody"

See, I'd call that guilt. But there's the beauty of language.. past pointing and grunting at a specific object (there's no question what a person means when you say 'book'), words have different meanings based on one's knowledge and experiences and even current mood.

mm, I think guilt and shame are too very similar things though.

For me, shame has connotations of secrecy and concealment, embarassment and humiliation. For instance, consider the following sentences:

"I was too ashamed to go into a shop and buy nipple clamps, so I bought them on the Internet instead."

"During the discusion of South Africa, I concealed most of my knowledge, because I was too ashamed to admit my grandfather's involvement with the apartheid regime."

In that sort of example, replacing "shame" with "guilt" just wouldn't work. To me, guilt is about regret, recognition and what not. Guilt is the bit that says "this was bad; I must make sure it doesn't happen again" whereas shame is the bit that says "this was bad; I must make sure nobody else finds out about it".

I don't think shame and guilt always mean the same thing, just that in some cases they are closely related enough that you can't separate the two (and that shame, in those cases, is not harmful in the way you describe in your entry).

Being ashamed of something that you can't control or something that you think is good but are ashamed solely because "society" thinks it's bad is certainly negative (although in the latter case, it might be a good idea to put some serious thought into why society thinks it's bad). Being ashamed of something that you can and did control and that you personally consider bad is, in my opinion, very positive. It gives you a motivation to not repeat that behavior, as the more you repeat it the more likely others are to find out.

We're Here, We're Queer, Get Used to It! :)

Very well said! (I have to give props to bridgetester for reccing you, I am enjoying reading your entries very much).

I would expound at length, but it's nearly 3 am and that essay about Napoleon is not writing itself.

You definitely weren't raised Catholic.

Was too! I went to a Catholic primary school (4-11) and everything. I just never paid any attention to it.

I know. People don't consider me the Catholic type for some reason, though, and I can't possibly figure out why. I managed to score a total of three out of a possible seven in the sacraments lists though, and while I was never confirmed, as far as I'm aware I've never been excommunicated either, which I think means I'm probably something like half-Catholic. And besides, my policy is actually perfectly inline with Catholic doctrine. That states that absolutely everything imaginable is a sin, so you may as well not worry about any of it and justdo whatever you want anyway. Or something.

other people have already pointed this out, but... i think you need to differentiate shame for what you are from shame for what you do. as far as the former goes, i completely agree with you. of course people should not be ashamed of being gay, or black, or anything else.

once you have no shame for anything you've done, though, you're very close to hubris. how can one be a "good" person (however that's defined) with no shame for what they've done wrong? there are things i've said in the past that i'm ashamed of. not just "oh, i shouldn't have said that", but really nasty, disgusting things. i would be angry at anyone else for saying them. i don't talk about that to other people, and i don't just want 'regret' or 'remorse' about that, because that just leads to forgetfulness. so yes, i'm ashamed of it. i don't think this is a bad thing, it's just a part of remembering that you aren't perfect.

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