Shame is debilitating. It cuts us off at the knees, shuts the door to any loving relationship with ourselves, and any open relationship we have with another. We cannot let someone get too close to us because they may see or feel the shame we carry below the surface. It is unspeakable, so we bury it and think we are the only ones who feel like this. From that point onwards, we are at the mercy of other people telling us how we should live our life and how we can fix all the things where we are ‘wrong’. If we listen to them, we become a marketers' dream because we will buy whatever they say is going to be our magic pill to change our perceived failure in parenting and relationships into a success.
Feeling ashamed of how we parent is so damaging and disabling, yet, how long has ‘being wrong’ been part of our lives? Could it be such a familiar feeling because it is part of life’s programming in families, education, and religion where we are told very clearly what the rules are and if we step outside those rules then we are ‘wrong’ and need to be told how to be ‘right’? We are programmed to conform and when we don’t conform, shamed for bringing something different. Yet, don’t some of the greatest ‘shake-ups’ in our lives come from those who are prepared to stand up and speak out against the ‘system’ and pay no heed to anyone’s ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ but what they feel to be true? Those people have a sense of settlement in their bodies that is not searching, they have a deep knowing that what they are doing is perhaps not just for themselves. They back themselves.
‘Right’ and ‘wrong’ in parenting feeds shame, and shame puts us at the mercy of a model that will keep us endlessly looking to others for answers.
The ‘Shame Business’ needs us to be broken to be viable. If we are not broken, we won’t buy their ‘product’, their ‘magic pill’. If we are, then will keep searching for answers and coming back for more. A perilous cycle of abuse we are told is inescapable.
Again, this business model only works if we buy into that story of ‘shame’ we are being sold, if we believe the lies.
Are we being called to copy another’s perceived ‘perfect’ parenting style, or to develop rich relationships that start with the relationship we have with ourselves first, and not how to have control and mastery over each other based on age? For example, if we base our parenting success on our child’s behaviours and someone else’s opinion then we are indeed at the mercy of the ‘shame business’ and we fall headfirst into the ‘better-parenting’ marketing machine. Each child in our care, be they blood family or not, is looking for a model of relationship, a model of how love moves. It is not our job to be liked. Therefore, that reflection can be firm, direct, absolute, and adaptable without being harsh, cold, fixed or rigid and based on a set of ideals that have been handed down through culture, religion or family. Moreover, it is a question of ‘what is needed to equip that ‘child’ to fulfil their purpose in life?’
Give no more space to the lies of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, or the scourge of shame, see the marketing ploy for what it is and give it no more.