How shame keeps us in line

I have been researching the topic of shame and am fascinated at how often our culture uses shame as a way to keep us in line.

What I have concluded is that no matter what form in comes in and no matter how well intentioned, it is always very destructive to the person receiving it.

Just last night I was at an event that was about world view and teaching. (Both fascinating subjects). Someone made a comment that if the students were unhappy, it was always the teacher’s fault. Wow – did I have a reaction!

That comment sent me off into all the times I have taught a class and someone in the class didn’t like what I was saying and how I should consider myself at fault and ultimately, a bad teacher, for making someone upset. Now if that doesn’t effectively muzzle me as a teacher, I am not sure what would. I even hesitated about saying anything last night because I didn’t want to be seen as a trouble maker.

“Trouble makers” are often not welcomed in organizations or groups. Women in particular, are not to make waves. “Be a nice girl and get along with everyone”. I am happy to say – I spoke up. I am working on becoming resilient in the face of shame. It is an ongoing process.

What is your experience with shame? How does it effect your life?