Shame on you, Shame

Shame on you, Shame. You rob us of peace, vulnerability, and courage. You lie to us, whispering that if I tell my sad tale, someone will judge me, condemn me, or worse yet–talk about me to someone else. People will share my hurtful secrets when my name comes up in conversation. “Did you know–?”

For shame. Our stories are meant to encourage one another. Encourage is “to give courage.” How can we give courage through a hypothetical situation? We can only give courage when we tell the truth, speak the truth, and live the truth. Anything else will lead us to living a sham. Ironically, sham and shame are both derivatives of the Old English root scamu. They are bedfellowsShame means “a painful feeling of having lost the respect of others.” Sham is “an imitation meant to deceive; counterfeit.” Shame will propel you into living a sham.IMG_2024

Fear of losing respect is the birthplace for a counterfeit life, a life that resembles the one we envisioned, but isn’t authentic. When we feel ashamed, we accept the shackles of fear and shame to impress others whose own issues have forced them into counterfeit living. Truth doesn’t costume itself as perfection. Shame does.

Brent Brown writes and speaks authoritatively on the topic of shame. She said this today on NBC: “If you put shame in a petrie dish and you douse it with secrecy, silence, and judgment, it grows exponentially. You put shame in a petrie dish and you douse it with a little empathy, it can’t survive.” Listen to her TED talk on shame here: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame/transcript?language=en

Shame is powerful. It keeps us alone, frightened, and victimized. It prevents us from reaching out to friends and family who, while busy, are not too busy to help. Good people–healthy people–want to help. Helping you will give others courage to ask for help when shame comes knocking on their door. Let’s respect each other for all those little lessons and the grand victories that can follow. Let’s radiate grace.

Psalm 34:5–“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”