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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Monthly dose of S.H.A.M.E. - August

Marc Chagall Creation of the World First Four Days
 Don't worry, I don't think that we need more shame in our world.  And we definitely don't need me giving it to you!

I jokingly told a friend that I'm trying to get a degree in psychology by reading books and listening to podcasts.  But seriously, there are some good resources out there and if you are selective in what you read and listen to, they can be very helpful.

Beware of the ever-present risk of getting overwhelmed by the sheer volume of self-help available on the internet though.

Something that comes up frequently in what I'm reading and listening to is shame.

Shame keeps us from moving forward, keeps us trying to hide our thoughts, emotions and actions and serves to heighten the already loud voices in our heads telling us that we aren't good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, kind enough, etc.

The other consistent thing that I'm reading is that shame can't survive being spoken.

Marc Chagall Creation of the
World Days 5 and 6


Words are powerful.  We know that.  We've felt it in others' words toward us.  We've wielded our words in ways that we regret.  Sometimes the simplest words of kindness will carry us through a difficult time.  A word can evoke memories that we haven't thought of in years.

Christians talk about creation happening with God speaking the world into existence, we speak of Jesus being the Word which was flesh.

So is it really that shocking that speaking shame could be a powerful tool in destroying it?

Marc Chagall
Creation of the
World Day 7
I plan on using this monthly dose of S.H.A.M.E. to do just that - speak shame.  To encourage myself and others to recognize that there is a different way of living than that of letting shame do it's dirty work and keep me from being all that I can be.

So often, when I'm brave enough and vulnerable enough to tell someone else something I'm ashamed of, I find that I'm not alone.  That there are other people who've felt like I feel.  I receive compassion and kindness.  And that shame is way less scary.

This doesn't mean that we should go around telling everyone what we're ashamed of and when we feel shame.  We gotta use discernment, people!

A good start is just to identify when you feel shame. 

I wanted to reclaim shame and make it work for me.  So I created this acrostic to remind me to challenge and question the shame that I'm feeling and give me quick and ready tools to do so.

Here's what I came up with:

S - sharing and speaking
H - helping, not hiding
A - asking why, asking for help
M - motivating, not mocking
E - evoking hope, not fear

Consider this your taster, and stay tuned for more thoughts and ideas next month!

In case you haven't already seen one of the present-day experts talking about shame, I recommend that you all take about 20 minutes and see what Brene Brown has to say about it.

My husband and I visited the Marc Chagall museum in Nice, France this summer
and I couldn't resist adding the pictures of his take on the creation of the world.


  1. Jojo! Thank you for your words. You hit the nail on the head with your discussion of shame. It's unfortunate that we allow it to control so much of what we do, it seems to be the undercurrent in many subcultures we belong to. There is so much to be gained by sharing, especially because what was once holding you in a vice loses its power.

    1. Thanks Maddie, I agree with you that it is definitely an undercurrent and I'm excited to do more work to uncover where it is active in my own life and relationships so that I can hopefully live more fully and freely.