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So What Do You Do With Shame?

I would like to know what Buddhist people do with their shame. Is there a recognized approach suggested that everyone follows?

Comments

  • When you give into shame, you allow people who have no authority, authority over you. It's always been a way to herd people into doing what others want; but only when those who seek acceptance at any cost.
    .
    anatamanAllbuddhaBoundpoptart
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    There is nothing more that I can provide - a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour - I am neither foolishly behaving right now, and I am not distressed,

    Baa Moo neigh
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2013
    The human condition, is an innate sense of separation from existence.
    and
    shame neatly mirrors it.

    I try to treat it meditatively like any phenomena by simply accepting it's own arising, life and passing to unfold on it's own, free from my conditioned impulses to control it.

    It's a work in progress, like all practice is.
    VastmindAllbuddhaBound
  • Every time the feeling of shame (or embarrassment) rises up like a powerful ocean wave. Take many deep breaths and tell yourself to let it go let it go. I forgive myself. Let it go let it go.
    MaryAnneAllbuddhaBound
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    The less "self" there is, the less shame has anything to hang on to.

    Gassho :)
    LG
    MaryAnneEvenThird
  • I must digress a bit, I recommend that you study the psychology of Shame; and then make a determination of how it places in your life, before dealing with it.
    EvenThird
  • I think of the story of Angulimala and how he was able to quickly attain enlightenment despite the terrible things he'd done, which my own failures will never come close to. I'm also friends with a devout and very accomplished Buddhist who's in prison for terrible crimes, and I think of him in similar terms.
    HamsakaAllbuddhaBound
  • Why do you feel shame?
    Is it bcos of something you did?

    Just stop doing the darn thing.

    I would like to know what Buddhist people do with their shame. Is there a recognized approach suggested that everyone follows?

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    I would like to know what Buddhist people do with their shame. Is there a recognized approach suggested that everyone follows?

    Just curious.....are you a 'Buddhist person' ?

  • Vastmind said:

    I would like to know what Buddhist people do with their shame. Is there a recognized approach suggested that everyone follows?

    Just curious.....are you a 'Buddhist person' ?

    I am learning, but where I live, there is no Sangha so no teachers.

  • hermitwin said:

    Why do you feel shame?
    Is it bcos of something you did?

    Just stop doing the darn thing.


    Well, shame can be for a number of reasons. Like when a person is brought up in poverty but in a richer community, they can feel shame just for who they are. When a person has a big belly, when a person is shorter than others, when a person is uglier than others, when a person is dumber than others. All kinds of reasons to feel shame.

  • MaryAnneMaryAnne Veteran
    edited November 2013

    hermitwin said:

    Why do you feel shame?
    Is it bcos of something you did?

    Just stop doing the darn thing.


    Well, shame can be for a number of reasons. Like when a person is brought up in poverty but in a richer community, they can feel shame just for who they are. When a person has a big belly, when a person is shorter than others, when a person is uglier than others, when a person is dumber than others. All kinds of reasons to feel shame.

    I find it interesting how all your examples of potential 'shame' are about the person's looks or attributes... none about what a person has done - through action.
    The examples that always pop into my head have to do with what someone's done, not what they look like....

    I'm not saying anything more about that one way or the other, just making an 'interesting' observation.
    Vastmind
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    Reminds me of a Zen story I once heard about keeping the glass clean. Because of dust and smudges we leave by cleaning, the only way to keep it clean is by constantly cleaning it.

    Forgiveness is a big deal, apparently. And it's great to forgive others their trespasses but we also have to forgive ourselves. If we feel shame in something we have done then it seems a bit of growth is already implied.

    Make amends and if it's something done to somebody we can no longer reach then move on and add positivity to anothers day.



  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    MaryAnne said:

    hermitwin said:

    Why do you feel shame?
    Is it bcos of something you did?

    Just stop doing the darn thing.


    Well, shame can be for a number of reasons. Like when a person is brought up in poverty but in a richer community, they can feel shame just for who they are. When a person has a big belly, when a person is shorter than others, when a person is uglier than others, when a person is dumber than others. All kinds of reasons to feel shame.

    I find it interesting how all your examples of potential 'shame' are about the person's looks or attributes... none about what a person has done - through action.
    The examples that always pop into my head have to do with what someone's done, not what they look like....

    I'm not saying anything more about that one way or the other, just making an 'interesting' observation.
    This kind of shame is unhealthy because it stems from a feeling of unworthiness. It suggests that we are at fault for things realistically beyond our control.

  • GlowGlow Veteran
    edited November 2013
    I think it's important to separate shame from guilt. Guilt says, "I made a mistake." Shame says, "I am a mistake."

    Guilt can be a useful emotion because it is dynamic -- it motivates us to make amends with those whom we have hurt or violated (including ourselves). Shame, on the other hand, can be quite stagnant. Instead of motivating us, shame can tend to simply fester and ferment and turn into what the Buddha called the asavas or "fermentations." (Another translation of asava might be "obsession.")

    The main approach the Buddha takes to any unskillful mind-state is to recall its causes and conditions. In the case of shame, much of the blame lies in our social conditioning: the whole network of language that we internalize through our acculturation. Built into the social landscape through which we move (and thus manifest in our thoughts) are implicit associations and pre-formulated judgments: we internalize assumptions about who is worthy and who isn't, what is valuable and what isn't, what people ought to do and what they oughtn't, etc.

    The trick is to see the arbitrariness of it all: most of these assumptions are just the intersection of a social agenda and an object. All words are agendas. For example, the idea that we should value one person over another based on their physical attractiveness is simply a manifestation of our animal instinct to procreate: the object of our affection becomes elevated, and everyone else who falls short becomes an inconvenience... or a mistake. It was a mistake to have been born so unattractive. You shouldn't have been born that way. How dare you look the way you look? (Do you see how insane this mode of thinking is? And yet that's how many people approach the world. Nothing is a mistake. It just is.)

    When we forget the ultimate reality -- the bigger picture beyond our evaluations of things as limited by our incarnations as human apes -- we see that such evaluations are unnecessary most of the time and, in fact, oftentimes quite harmful. Buying too strongly into concepts of attractiveness, for example -- holding too strongly to it as the lens through which we evaluate those we come in contact with -- sets us up for immense insecurity, suffering, and the potential for cruelty.

    Query the causes and conditions that underly your shame, and you will find it has much less power over you.
    anatamanAllbuddhaBoundKundo
  • Being poor in a rich area or being fat amongst thin people is not shame.
    It is inferiority complex.
    Shame is good according to Buddha.
    It stops you from doing unskillful actions.
    You have poor self-esteem.
    You dont feel that you are good enough when
    You compare yourself with others.
    I used to have inferiority complex.
    It is due to looking at the world unrealistically.
    Get the facts. Get real.
    It all depends on who you compare with.
    There will always be some one poorer and fatter than you .
    Get some counselling, you need help.







    Why do you feel shame?
    Is it bcos of something you did?

    Just stop doing the darn thing.

    I would like to know what Buddhist people do with their shame. Is there a recognized approach suggested that everyone follows?

    hermitwin said:

    Why do you feel shame?
    Is it bcos of something you did?

    Just stop doing the darn thing.


    Well, shame can be for a number of reasons. Like when a person is brought up in poverty but in a richer community, they can feel shame just for who they are. When a person has a big belly, when a person is shorter than others, when a person is uglier than others, when a person is dumber than others. All kinds of reasons to feel shame.

    MaryAnne
  • btw, most people are not attractive, take a walk in the park and look at the people. Attractive people accounts for less than 10% of the population. Unless you go to Hollywood or Korea, where the percentage is higher.
    The latest figures show that 70% of Korean women had cosmetic surgery.
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    Actually I am attracted to >95% of people, even if they hide out in a park...85% of my friends will back me up on this, although 15% will say I have 45% attraction to caucasian women; 1% might even allude that I am gay. Recently I learnt that only 1% of North Korean women have access to a cosmetic surgeon, which implies that >> 70% of S. Korean women have had cosmetic surgery.

    If we put that into some kind of perspective, the truth is that 100% of us have no idea of what we are talking about and should feel guilty about what we say or post or blog about and an undisclosed percentage feel shame for what we post after the event, but really should be counselled on their attachment to this emotion as they are really beautiful inside. Really, there is beauty inside - even in you!
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited November 2013
    I'm not into shame. It's not constructive. Don't buy into it. It's a trap.
    VastmindMaryAnne
  • I have some shame because I am not working and am on SSI. What I do is just ride the emotions. Let them be there and the space of my Buddhist practice is more important. Focus on something you can do. And know that you are doing your best. If you can do something material to make you feel better then think about doing it. For example if you are fat you can get a gastric bypass or if you are uneducated you can read or if like me you have no job then you can do volunteer work. Some practice such as renunciation or meditation also can ground you in a deeper framework than the shame 'triggers'.
    AllbuddhaBound
  • MaryAnne said:

    hermitwin said:

    Why do you feel shame?
    Is it bcos of something you did?

    Just stop doing the darn thing.


    Well, shame can be for a number of reasons. Like when a person is brought up in poverty but in a richer community, they can feel shame just for who they are. When a person has a big belly, when a person is shorter than others, when a person is uglier than others, when a person is dumber than others. All kinds of reasons to feel shame.

    I find it interesting how all your examples of potential 'shame' are about the person's looks or attributes... none about what a person has done - through action.
    The examples that always pop into my head have to do with what someone's done, not what they look like....

    I'm not saying anything more about that one way or the other, just making an 'interesting' observation.
    What you are referring to is remorse - feeling remorse for what you have done. You feel shame in matters the op has described.
  • jlljll Veteran
    I struggle with low self –esteem for many years. I was too fat, too short and had bugs bunny teeth. People used to make fun of me. I was in misery.
    It took me many years to overcome it. Eventually I was able to accept my self . nobody is perfect. We are all different . Learn to accept your self .
    AllbuddhaBound
  • MaryAnneMaryAnne Veteran
    edited November 2013
    Shame, remorse, regret, and guilt are all synonyms for each other according to most English dictionaries. To say one means this and the other means that, is splitting hairs over 'preference' of usage, not 'correct' usage...

    My observation above was not about which word was used, but when any of those words are used/applied to the situation of "what a person looks like" as opposed to what a person has done (an action).

    People aren't born naturally feeling shame about themselves (for personal appearance and other things they can't help) -- they are taught to feel shame for those things; and that really sucks....
  • MaryAnne said:

    Shame, remorse, regret, and guilt are all synonyms for each other according to most English dictionaries. To say one means this and the other means that, is splitting hairs over 'preference' of usage, not 'correct' usage...

    My observation above was not about which word was used, but when any of those words are used/applied to the situation of "what a person looks like" as opposed to what a person has done (an action).

    People aren't born naturally feeling shame about themselves (for personal appearance and other things they can't help) -- they are taught to feel shame for those things; and that really sucks....

    I am not sure they are the same though. To my way of thinking, as stated before, shame is much more permanent and very personal. It means you have the qualities of a person who is simply not good enough. I view guilt as the manifestation of something I have done, but it does not color me permanently.

    I also think a person can feel shame if they have done something they feel makes them a shameful person. The guilt to me, would have come and gone, shame would be what lingers if we hold onto our guilt.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    MaryAnne said:

    Shame, remorse, regret, and guilt are all synonyms for each other according to most English dictionaries. To say one means this and the other means that, is splitting hairs over 'preference' of usage, not 'correct' usage...

    My observation above was not about which word was used, but when any of those words are used/applied to the situation of "what a person looks like" as opposed to what a person has done (an action).

    People aren't born naturally feeling shame about themselves (for personal appearance and other things they can't help) -- they are taught to feel shame for those things; and that really sucks....

    A very good lesson from Mary Anne that applies to a lot of discussions here on the forum. Sometimes there is a significant difference between a couple of words that people are using in discussions, but other times there is far too much splitting of hairs over mere nuances.

  • GlowGlow Veteran
    edited November 2013
    vinlyn said:

    MaryAnne said:

    Shame, remorse, regret, and guilt are all synonyms for each other according to most English dictionaries. To say one means this and the other means that, is splitting hairs over 'preference' of usage, not 'correct' usage...

    My observation above was not about which word was used, but when any of those words are used/applied to the situation of "what a person looks like" as opposed to what a person has done (an action).

    People aren't born naturally feeling shame about themselves (for personal appearance and other things they can't help) -- they are taught to feel shame for those things; and that really sucks....

    A very good lesson from Mary Anne that applies to a lot of discussions here on the forum. Sometimes there is a significant difference between a couple of words that people are using in discussions, but other times there is far too much splitting of hairs over mere nuances.

    Well, in my case, I made a distinction between "guilt" and "shame" -- not as words in the English language (in common parlance, they are often interchangeable) -- but as distinct emotional responses. The words are just signifiers/symbols that are stand-ins for actual phenomena.

    Also, it may be the poetry student in me (a common saying in poetry circles is "there's no such thing as a synonym"), but I'm not sure "remorse" and "shame"/"guilt" are synonyms. "Remorse" and "regret", perhaps, but not "remorse" and "shame." Splitting hairs, it may well be, but there's something to be said for linguistic economy and precision, especially on the internet where we lose a lot of the back-channel feedback and intonation from spoken discourse.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    edited November 2013
    That's why I never hang out with poets...they deny reality.

    TREES

    I think that I shall never see,
    A poet who didn't kill a tree.
    The bard inscribes his many verses,
    While loggers ship trees in twelve axle herses.

    The power of the pen flows from your lines,
    While power saws dismember knotty pines.
    You write your sonnets full of mush,
    While pulp mills pound oaks to formless smush.

    The maples of my youth are gone,
    Just so you can ramble on and on.
    Your consciences you need to vent,
    On reams of paper and parchment.

    Of course, that doesn't tell the tale,
    There are all those quills pulled from peacock's tails.
    And then there's me whose brain is tired,
    As in your writings my mind gets mired.

    And so I protest this English class,
    Destroyers of nature -- you I'll bash.
    Now maybe you think that I'm a ham,
    But I think you're cruel, Yes, you am.
    GlowMaryAnneZero
  • GlowGlow Veteran
    edited November 2013
    If poets' propensity for splitting linguist hairs annoys you, keep well away from theoretical physicists. Those people drive everyone around them insane. :P Also, lawyers... but then, you generally want to keep away from lawyers in general.
    MaryAnne
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Reread my previous post.
  • Hah! Very nice... but then, paper is a dying medium. We can now blame poets for exploiting sweatshop workers in China and coltan extractors in Africa for taking up space on computers, e-readers and tablets. Them bastids!
  • As I said; Study the psychology of shame, and shaming before accepting it's yoke.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Ah yes, shame...the yoke's on you.
    howMaryAnne
  • hiri-ottappa:moral shameand moral dread areassociated with all kamically wholesome consciousness. From The Buddhist Dictionary by Nyantiloka Thera. For a different view.
  • vinlyn said:

    Ah yes, shame...the yoke's on you.

    ACK!!!!! I'm on a low yoke diet!

    :wow:
    vinlynMaryAnne
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