January 18, 2009

investigating the shame

what's the deal with random shame? it seems like a point of interest i return to. there are these moments of our lives that we have unconsciously agreed are shameful. shitting, for example, and clogging up the toilet. masturbation. pretty much anything that reflects our bodies having needs beyond the control of our minds (which seem to be part of our bodies, hello... or ARE they? the argument over the self continues). so... bodily needs are shameful because bodies are shameful? or is it the need that's shameful? i'm curious to follow the thought back through its evolution so i can see where the faulty premise lies.

maybe shame's natural purpose is to provide the mechanism of feedback on our behaviour. as humans, we experiment with all sorts of ways of being. we're social animals, so we experiment with and on each other. when one of us harms another, we need to be able to give feedback to help the behaviour evolve into a generally positive one. shame could help us stop, briefly, and motivate us to move beyond it into grief, change and betterment. maybe we're designed to stop there only briefly. but when shame gets mis-assigned to a regular part of being alive (having a body with needs), we end up visiting and re-visiting the feeling. far too often. it is no longer helpful.

so why is having needs shameful? for me, i think, it might be that they require energy to deal with. for a perfectionist, needs might be an equivalent to deficiencies or gaps. in reality, feeling need is part of how i know it's the correct time for a certain behaviour. hungry? eat. not hungry? don't eat. how do i know unless my body tells me? i can take the time to honour the need.

No comments:

Post a Comment