Shame, Fear and Beliefs

There are some aspects of yours which you never reveal in a blog post. The guilty pleasures or the thirst traps you watch ( something I “learned” after watching Koffee with Karan which is one of my guilty pleasures indeed!) or weird habits etc. Or that you have been going to therapy or IVF or visited a doctor to cure that and this.

The major reason for not sharing any of these is the shame we experience around these matters. As if these actions are shameful and that they needed to done discreetly. This is the reason many kids start doing “many things” discreetly hiding from their parents, be it satisfying their curiosity regarding body parts and their workings (the M and P words!) or hiding about crushes or loving someone. We sense we will face embarrassment which we tried to avoid though it should not be an embarrassment. Like we know bra is a common innerwear but there used to be (or still is) so much hullabaloo about the bra straps(or rope?!!) peeking out. Similar hurdles for wearing sleeveless dresses or mini skirts. Why is it a matter of shame that we expose our legs and arms. When did they became “our private parts”?

I have been wanting to write about the shame feeling forever. I feel it’s there in everyone in some form or other. Anger seems to be one of the common blanket wrap for this feeling. Behind every action of anger it seems fear is the root cause. And fear could also be of “fear of being shamed”. Fear of being made fun of. Fear of taunts. Fear of failing in the comparison competition which we start ourselves. Some get stuck in a job which they don’t like because there is a shame in being jobless, some are stuck in relationships because divorce is a shame, and this extends to all the cliches like not marrying or not having kids after age etc.

The first thing we fear when we reveal about therapy is that others won’t understand. Then there is the fear of explaining your whole mental situation and then there is the fear of being judged and then fear of being brainwashed. It’s like a can of fears which gets opened up. Irregular periods? “Get married asap”. Feeling depressed? Go to bhajan gathering or tie a thread.

It’s hard to shake off these fears as society doesn’t allow or accept fearless people. They perceive such people as threat to the society. And very few therefore get out from these shackles and try to be their real selves all their life.

There seems to be two ways for being fearless like the solution for every other problem. Either you can change the beliefs and thinking on your own and jump into the ring on your own. Or you can find a herd of odd sheep to blend into. The existence of such groups are rare because standing out is an easy kill. Yet there are groups and individuals who has made their own way to break free from the society shackles and rules. Still you need to muster up the courage to meet and talk to them. You still need the courage to open your mind. That seems to be the hardest part. To recognise the beliefs and influences in our day to day life and open up our mind to allow the fresh ideas to make us aware of other methodologies and make that choice of whether we want to be drowned in shame or fly away from the chains of fear.

The innumerous articles and videos regarding shame and fear(Brene brown) reveals that our inner beliefs is the root cause of all this shame. What if you believed from your childhood that eating eggs and chicken is not a crime. Or that being naked is okay. Or that wearing shorts and “provocative”(!!) dresses are not provocative instead just casual wear. Or that being gay or lesbian is completely normal. Or that being childless or adopting is neither sin nor virtue. Or that being a painting artist can be compared to being an engineer as it’s an equally respectful job which needs different set of skills. Etc etc. Imagine the drastic change in the resulting events. What a beautiful set of adults we would grow to be who knows to respect each other. Yes there would be still money issues to be resolved but one step at a time, maybe? Or are they related? Food for thought.

A few years ago, on Ganesh Chaturthi holiday weekend, we had moved into the current apartment society. I remember being so eager to visit the pandal and take part in the visarjan Pooja etc, considering that I have been raised on the pomp and show by tv shows based out of Mumbai, playing songs by Shankar Mahadevan and marble idol of Ganesha in Siddhivinayak temple and the Bappa! Maybe I was trying to be religious or trying to fit in, you never know the difference between them either. On this festival weekend, I am reflecting on the changes that has come over me in past few years, the beliefs, retrospection, and questioning. It’s a wonder I am just floating right now. Grateful for having the other necessities of life, I can slowly find my own shore in my own time.

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