At this ripe stage of life, I now know that shame is natural, even positive sometimes. Actions have consequences. When actions illicit feelings—in us—that encourage the soul, or heart, or mind to feel the pull toward self-correction, that in my opinion, is a productive kind of shame. The emphatic kind for ourselves and others.
But, when that correction comes from a large unyielding collective of people who don’t know us, value our individual experiences, and who may consciously or unconsciously harbor ill-will because “they’ve seen our type before” or “we should have known better”—that’s judgment.
But it’s not. Shame isn’t owned by a political party or gender or decade—it’s everywhere, all the time and we’re all complicit in keeping the game of hot potato going.