The first is the antidote to the former.
Meg Hartley via my newsletter, Halcyon Tidings
* See end for source of subject/title quote! 🎶🎼 *
Isn’t shame the worst? Knowing that you behaved in a way that hurt someone else, or yourself, or a project’s success, etc.—it sucks, it can make you feel worthless. And since it’s such a bad feeling, it often winds up being repressed by denying responsibility for one’s fuck-up, leading to more bad behavior (like blaming someone else), which just creates more of that shame.
The antidote to shame is kindness, exhibiting compassion and consideration, something that applies to oneself as well as others. Firstly there’s self-compassion, looking at your mistakes without damning yourself, recognizing that messing up is just a part of life…while also taking responsibility and learning the lesson. (Though it’s important to note shame isn’t always earned.) As for kindness to others, it feels good to help and it’s empowering to have a positive effect, which leads to more do-gooding, which means doing fewer things to feel shitty about. Don’t underestimate the power of acts of kindness.
As the song from the subject suggests, it’s natural for kindness to know no shame (as “the seasons know exactly when to change”).
Hope May’s doing you many kindnesses. ❤️
See ya (-ish) in a couple weeks,
Preview image created by Chanelle Nibbelink for Scientific American.
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* SUBJECT/TITLE QUOTE: The subject’s quote, “Kindness knows no shame,” is a lyric from a 1976 song ‘As,’ by the great Stevie Wonder. *