Why healthy shame is important in business

We are living in an interesting world right now. We are coming out of an era where we were being shamed, judged and rejected for who we were at the core unless it was the definition of a societal ideal. This is pretty amazing.

But at the very same time, we are doing that thing that us humans do, which is to see a problem and swing to the other end of the pendulum to fix it. This also isn't working (in my opinion). 

Yes, shaming people for who they are is a huge forking problem. I'm not suggesting we try to tell people what they should or shouldn't like, who they should or shouldn't love, or what is acceptable in terms of earning a living or not. 

Doing this kind of shaming would be considered toxic shame. This is not the kind of shame I am going to be referring to here. 

My viewpoint on doing what you want is: as long as it's working for you, you're good to go. This means, as long as you aren't harming anyone else's free will, you're not forcing other people to take care of your lack of responsibility for yourself as a person, and you consider other people's wellbeing before acting on your impulses... great! In this case, I think you're allowed to do whatever you want and no one should judge, reject or abandon you for it. 

Our avoidance of shame becomes a problem when we are so scared of shaming each other, and making other people feel bad, that we let everything and anything be okay. This prevents us from being fully formed adults who take responsibility for their actions and act with integrity. 

It is especially hard for us people who aren't used to placing healthy boundaries due to adverse childhoods to proactively face with the anti-shame movement. It makes it more difficult to have hard conversations about what you need respected for your wellbeing because you feel like it's wrong to make another person feel healthy shame. Any kind of shame has now become bad and out of line.

In my eyes and how I'm currently relating to this is that it's a part of the much larger problem of spiritual bypassing. 

If you act badly and then blame the person calling you out on it for not accepting you, flaws and all... this is part of spiritually bypassing. Bottom line: If your behavior is impactful in a negative way on other people, it needs to be addressed even if it hurts your feelings and you have to sit with being wrong. 

I want to start a conversation around this - we aren't bad human beings. But at times, we may be acting badly, and if we're hurting people by doing so, we need to be made aware of it to have the chance to course correct. We can't use the anti-shame movement to our advantage by not truly feeling what we're doing wrong and avoiding the course correct. 

The problem with the anti-shame campaign is that there is no accountability for acting poorly because we don't want to insult anyone.  Some of us are using it as a way to avoid taking responsibility for our actions.

The truth is healthy shame is GOOD for us. I learnt this from my nervous system health teacher and somatic experiencing practitioner Irene Lyon. 

We need to feel healthy shame to change something.

If I am acting in a hurtful way, I need to feel healthy shame to course correct it. If I don't feel bad about it, meaning I've not truly realized how it is impactful negatively, I'm most likely going to do it again. 

Of course, there are nuances to this. For example, if you're dealing with a narcissistic person telling you that all your actions are hurtful, then this concept has little merit, and you need to seek counsel with a professional to navigate this issue.

But generally speaking, if a person is a regulated, safe, and healthy human being and they're telling you something you are doing isn't okay, you've got to feel healthy shame about it to resolve the issue if it means something to you to be in integrity. 

I'll use one an example in my business to illustrate my point further.

When I first started my coaching practice, I often acted from a place of entitlement, especially with my connection with Spirit. I felt like I had the answers, and people who didn't agree with me were assholes trying to dim my light. Sound familiar? We gotta be careful with that one.

I am glad I was able to see that using blanket statements such as 'everything happens for a reason' or 'we always have a choice' without taking into consideration how this isn't always the case, was a poor way of using my authority in the world. I felt healthy shame about how entitled and privileged I was acting as a white woman who was a life coach. I don't act or talk as though I know everything without considering other viewpoints anymore. 

And that is why healthy shame is important, folks. It makes us better people. 

If I hadn't been brought to notice how entitled I was acting, I could of potentially done more harm than good through my business in the past several years, influencing people from uneducated place. 

Let's not be scared of realizing we aren't always right. This way, we can run better businesses that actually impact others positively. We won't die from feeling shame. We aren't bad. We just sometimes act poorly and we can course correct it when we are made aware of it and we feel its implications through healthy shame. 

So, if you've ever done something you aren't proud of in your business, feel it. Know it wasn't the best thing to do and understand that your actions have consequences... then actually do better.

That's being in integrity. 

WorkEmily Aube