I feel like I’m in a Brene Brown era of life. Just gobbling up the content. Shame comes with a negative connotation, deservingly so. It’s a. hard emotion to master because it’s an emotion that tells us that we are not enough. That enough is so diverse. We are not good enough, cute enough, or we don’t try hard enough. We limit our value as people when we believe that we don’t matter and our lives as a whole is incompetent.
Let’s not confuse shame with guilt. Guilt is a temporary feeling after something bad was done. Guilt is “I did something bad.” Shame is “I am a bad person.” Shame tolerance comes from the need to be vulnerable. Vulnerable actions is something we just don’t see, especially at work. We’d like to think that a majority of our shame hits us when in our childhood. Most of us treat school as a competition, and it make get worse if you join a sport. We feel shame when we go on our first date, or our first night sleeping together. It doesn’t end when we become full fledged adults.
Shame in the Workplace
If school is a competition and sports is a competition, why wouldn’t you treat work the exact same way? For some people, work is finally the place where they can “win.” Whatever win means. We use work to shut up the doubters like the teacher who said you wouldn’t succeed. It’s also a way to silence any self doubt that you may have.
Working and becoming a leader has not been an easy task for me. Most of it is due to the fact that I’ve had the wrong definition of what success means. Success traditionally meant that the final day where I can finally put the stake in the ground as a competent person. No one, absolutely no one can tell me anything. I’m successful! Success is achieving the things that I’ve achieved, getting recognition for those achievements, and getting added power.
Success like this comes with a price. If not checked, you could e working excessive hours, failing in relationships, conducting unethical activities, and neglecting your own health. We pay the price for the success because it quiets shame. It doesn’t matter where you work. I’d love to work for a nonprofit, but even there you can find employees who think they’re cause or mission is better than that of a sleazy salesman, or banker. It’s all shame. What if I told you that this type of devotion to quieting your shame has made work into the worst parts of a religion. Welcome to the church of success where if you don’t work hard, or make too many mistakes, you are unworthy under the eyes of the higher powers. Doesn’t sound too farfetched.