“We don’t wanna be lowsy, or shameless” ~ Rizzlekicks
Or, as defined by my dictionary
Shameless (adj): having no sense of shame.
Shame (n): a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of having done something wrong or foolish, loss of respect of disgrace
‘Shameless’ used to be a word that was bandied about in tones of disapproval. Sniffy comments of people being “no better than they ought to be”. It came with an implication of standards and that some people did not have them or were falling beneath accepted societal standards. The stocks worked on a principle of shame; locked up in public, mouldy stuff thrown at you, everyone able to point & laugh, was supposedly a deterrent from future misdemeanours. Then, recently, we had the television programme ‘Shameless’ which made comedy out of many perceived notions. Personally, I’m still not sure quite who the joke is on there.
Shame, of course, is actually subjective. What may one can feel humiliated by may easily be shrugged off by another. You can feel embarrassed by making a mistake but not ashamed. Or, conversely, the smallest error could have you awake for nights after, crimson with mortifcation. The balance does come down personal opinion, standards, experience. Some women won’t leave the house with doing their make-up, some will go to the shops in their pyjamas. Some men will wear the same t-shirt 2 or 3 days running, some feel they are letting the side down if they don’t wear a tie. In these areas, I say it’s a matter for you.
But to feel ashamed of something is a small, dark place to be in oneself. It is hard to talk about something one feels ashamed of, and that leads to amplification of the feelings and a person suffering. It is hard to admit things aren’t ok, that your life isn’t the perfect ideal that others think it is, or that you always hoped it would be. And that can be deeply shaming.
If your partner has hit you, if a stranger has put their hand (or worse) in a place it had no right going, if you are being bullied or humiliated in your work place; you are the people (and I am one of you) who should be shameless. Not, perhaps in the sense of not knowing what shame is, but in knowing that you did not, do not, deserve such treatment. What has happened is an horrific act, but as a victim you did not invite it and are not responsible for it. The shame should be firmly put on the shoulders of such perpetrators. And it should stay there.
Having standards, being ashamed of falling short of your own, is one thing. But no-one should ever have to suffer feelings of shame because of the actions inflicted on them by another.
This is an emotive issue but I am interested in your comment-box shaped postcard thoughts, as always.
Some links that include information and contact numbers that may help if you are concerned about any of the above:
For any of the above there is also The Samaritans and if you really need to then call 999.