I was listening to a podcast of Tim Ferriss this morning on my run. He was talking about Cato, one of the stoics. Cato took the position that we must learn to be ashamed of the things that are truly shameful and ignore the millions of other things that people would otherwise have low opinions of.
I would say that this kind of living invites a larger sense of freedom and compassion than anything money can buy.
Shame has its uses. As humans in general being ashamed of our past and present colonial attitude is a good thing. Being ashamed of our ill treatment of others…be they LBGT, women, men, people with different skin tones, people with different abilities…this is a good thing.
Being ashamed of our carelessness towards the Earth, that we see everything as a utility to be exploited…this is a good thing.
Not considering the consequences of our deeds and actions on others, or on the planet…this is a good thing.
Too many of our businesses have become immune to any form of shame about these things. And for that…shame on them. And shame on us for allowing that to happen…on our watch.
But shame for speaking up, for not fitting in, for being of a different skin tone or lineage, for holding different beliefs, for liking sex, for not liking sex…for seeking success, for not seeking success, for having a lot of money, for having little money…these things are signposts of our own lack of self.
I have found in my own life that my greatest path towards my own wholeness has been to follow the shame trail. For example…if I have shame around my financial situation…to the point where I would be embarrassed to show my financial history to anyone, then this is the place for healing. I know when I am healed of this because I can speak of this to anyone at any time, absent of any shame.
When I have nothing to hide…when I can be fully present in my own skin, present with all of my past, my lineage, my BS, my stories, my fears, my skills and absence of skills…and not have any ounce of shame…I am free from bullying, attack, ridicule.
Our society spends so much time of late pointing fingers at bullies. But a bully needs a victim. I am more invested in freedom from being a victim, freedom from shame…knowing that I have authority over my ultimate choice… how I respond in this moment.