Shame - the punishment of society

Miniseries about negative feelings - Part 4: Shame

Shame, embarrassment or exposure are often the results of an injured personal privacy. What interests me more in this context, however, is that shame is felt when one's own actions are interpreted as indecent or unsuccessful against the background of social norms. In other words, if you don't live up to the usual expectations of your social environment, shame is often the consequence. Similar to feelings of guilt, there are not only psychological symptoms but also physical ones, such as blushing or anxiety.

Violation of social norms as the cause of shame

Shame has an external accuser - often even several of them. Shame is a social phenomenon that many cultures know, even though their characteristics are very different. As a simple example, you could mention the natural nudity of indigenous tribes, which does not trigger any sense of shame there, but in western countries it does. So shame is also sanctioned in society. If you can't understand this, I recommend walking naked through a shopping mall.

Possible sanctions of the social environment can be isolation, contempt, aggression or demarcation. However, this does not mean that shame cannot lead to self-destructive behavior. A popular example is the harakiri, the suicide of Japanese samurai after the so-called face loss as a result of socially accused shame. Shame is thus something like the manifestation of one's own acceptance of social constraints.

The desire to swim against the current

The dilemma is now that it will be difficult for us to change social norms in order to avoid feeling ashamed. What does help me personally is the belief that individual success is sometimes only possible if you consciously act against established norms. It's not about being old-headed or just being against anything. It is often enough to consciously choose to swim against the current to avoid feeling ashamed and maybe even feel like being different.

What do you think? Let me know!

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