The Dragonfly Forest

They have been given names such as devil’s darning needle, ear sewer, horse stinger, skeeter hawk, and the snake’s servant. Actually, Dragonflies are beneficial, peaceful, and stunning. You are a Dragonfly if you are: ADD/ADHD, dyslexic, dysgraphic, Asperger’s, NLVD, autistic…

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shame and why it needs to stop

Stop the shaming – part 2! 

I frequently speak about the importance of moving away from shame and toward empathy but often people do not understand this concept.  For one, they do not understand what shame is and how they contribute to causing shame.  Even the person with the best intentions maybe causing shame.  Secondly, shaming can and should be stopped in homes, schools, sports fields… 

So what is shame?  According to Gershen Kaufman, "Shame is the most disturbing experience individuals ever have about themselves; no other emotion feels more deeply disturbing because in the moment of shame the self feels wounded from within.” 

Shame researcher, Dr. Brené Brown, describes shame as, “The intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.”  

Here is a video that explains how "Shame is Lethal" by Dr. Brené Brown~~

We need to understand how events are perceived (remember one of my favorite sayings: “A person’s perception IS their reality”).   When events occur a person develops an internal cognitive script about this event.  Let me use an example from a recent posting I did on graduations and ceremonies:Stop the Shaming.  If a students must sit for a period of time watching “academic high achieving” and “socially popular” students honored with awards yet not receive any accolades themselves they may have negative scripts running through their heads – “I’m not smart enough; I stupid; No one likes me; I’ll never achieve; I try so hard but no one sees so maybe I’ll just stop trying…”  This is shame. No one came out and said these things to these students but due to their own experiences and frames of references these were the scripts they said to themselves thus this was their reality.

Some of you think we should put students who fit society standards on a pedestal so those who do not fit these standards can look up to them and strive to be just like them.  I say this is the wrong approach.  It not only shames students who do not fit these standards; it perpetuates the culture of shame.  Here’s a quote from a recent post on Facebook by “Dyslexics Rights” in response to a new article about graduation rates:  “Dropout rates so high! How can high schools seriously celebrate on graduation day when they have left so many behind? Really? How can you pretend like you didn't know those kids who tried but didn't make it?”

Watch here to see another reason why we need to shop shaming: "Why Shame is so prevalent in classrooms." " 

**note: the video above was removed because some teachers felt that it was negative toward teachers- here's Dr. Brené Brown explaining

As I have preached over and over we need to teach EMPATHY!  Not only do we need to teach empathy to all children but also to adults.  We are a society that condones and encourages shame.  There are still teachers and coaches that believe that shame makes a child become more successful and motivated.  Research has proven this to be wrong, yet it is still an acceptable classroom management tool and our schools are set up to reward some students while shaming others. 

We need to teach self-acceptance and honor self-expression over conformity.  Did you know that conformist societies have higher suicide rates?  So have empathy for yourself on a daily basis.  

We need to help students (and ourselves) embrace who we are and accept all of our emotions.  Here is a great blog post  that provides insight into the writer’s experience with overcoming shame.  Aspergers and Me Blog:  “Shame does not make me better.  Rejecting shame does.”  

Finally, remember my Dragonfly Friends you are great just the way you are.  When times get tough and you have this negative script of shame know that I believe in you and will accept you for who you are.  Repeat these phrase to yourself: “I am a valuable person who has great things to offer the world,”  “My mistakes do not define me they only make me wiser and stronger,” and “I make this world a better place because I am an important and unique individual.”