Shame On You!

“I told you not to do that!”
“What’s wrong with you?”

As I move through my day I hear parents talking to their children in this manner. Sometimes my son, Kingston, and I will simply observe but a few days ago my he paused and asked why do they act like that. I asked him if I had ever spoken to him that way, in that tone, and he said, “Yes, once.”

What’s astonishing is that he remembers the incident very clearly and carefully, as do I. As he retold it I wanted to tear up because it was on that very day years ago I realized I had brought shame on him. He already knew he made a mistake but I was determined to remind him of it in a big way, forgetting he was just 3 years old. He’s almost nine now and he remembers it like it was yesterday and it only happened once. So just imagine what we may be doing to our children, loved ones and most importantly, ourselves, when we shame them, over and over and over.

In the same way our children want us to forgive them in that moment and “discipline” from a place of compassion and non-violence we too should forgive our parents for shaming us growing up, of if you’re Jewish, your whole life (yes that’s just a joke).

You may also want to forgive yourself for carrying that shame, which may have led to you shaming others or performing behaviors that keep you in a shameful mindset because you’re so used to being there… we do what we know. These behaviors range from infidelity to constantly judging, not only others, but yourself. We don’t have to constantly remind ourselves of the mistakes we have made. We can stop shaming each other by not shaming ourselves, first.