I used to avoid shame at all costs. There’s a difference between avoiding shame by doing nothing and transcending shame by learning the courage to fight for what you want and fully own who you are and the mistakes you make.

I think my critical weakness that I’ve been trying to improve for most of my life is avoiding disappointing others because of the shame that I fear comes from it. This means that small things that I think about resolving early on by apologizing drag on and actually worsen because I’m afraid of the consequences of taking the hit now. I procrastinate the issue, which prolongs the root problem that is the source of my worries and frustrations.

I had a nice conversation with Austin recently about my journey towards being more authentically myself and how publishing my thoughts freely was a core step in that process. Every time you consider sharing something online it’s a moment of tension between affirming who you are without shame or scaring yourself into inaction. We’re all afraid of being rejected, especially when the thing being rejected is our very being, and that shame keeps us from opening up and becoming vulnerable.

I’ve written a lot about shame in my private notes from coming across ava’s writing on the topic as well as Brene Brown’s talks., but ironically haven’t managed to consolidate something on the topic and get it out.

Why is it that calling someone “shameless” is used as an insult? What about being shameless do people react negatively to? People use this term to indicate that some person deserves to be shameful of what they’ve done and also deserve the public shaming that we are now heaping onto them.

We’ve seen this in pithys like: “shameless self-plug” “how can they be so shameless?”

  • what does it mean to be shameless, why do so many people not feel this way?
    • what is core to being shameless?
  • people react negatively because they are trained to conform. being shameless means to reject the given rules and live by your own accord. It’s something scary and shaming others for doing it is a defense mechanism.

people who are shameless are often also called weirdos — because they do things that aren’t normal and don’t have any remorse about it. Weirdos are the best kinds of people because they are clear in their principles and their passions. Their passion is infectious because of how obsessed they are, and that’s the level of enthusiasm i aspire for with anything.

people who are low-key feel awkward about promoting themselves because it’s something that feels “wrong” but promoting yourself is actually what you owe to yourself if you think you’re doing great things.

shame is different from guilt. Guilt is being remorseful for what you did. Shame is being remorseful for who you are. We should never be remorseful for who we are. Who are are is a scientific miracle, and it’s our duty to cherish that.

people don’t want to ebe shameless because it means they are weird and non-normal. They are different from the average. The societal pressure to conform is overwhelming, which is why peer pressure is such a big problem early on in school settings. But the people who manage to stick their gut despite all the pressures against them are able to explore the world with their own thoughts, instead of viewing it through society’s lenses.

society is structured so that people doing new or unusual things are punished by the majority who don’t understand. they’re punished through shaming. society is designed to maintain the status quo and keep out the weirdos, so the weirdos are shamed until they get with the program or exiled if they don’t.

Paradoxically, weirdos are actually what drive society forward with the big step changes for how society operates. Weirdos constantly have to tie their crazy visions back to something practically relevant, almost as a camouflage for what they really are aiming for, to get their foot into society, and then a slow conversion process takes place, a shifting of the overton window until their crazy vision doesn’t sound too crazy anymore.

Being shameless is actually a good thing a lot of the time. It means you know what you like and what you don’t and freely share it into the world for people to criticize and attack and shame. That sounds scary, but identifying what you stand for and developing your taste is crucial to developing your identity. Your identity is literally what you believe, so it’s the most essential thing for us to understand and evolve.

Being willing to champion your tastes and opinions in the real world is the only way to champion an idea that you have. If you’re not sick and tired of championing your vision, you haven’t said it enough because it hasn’t diffused to critical mass. The only way to enact an idea is to spread it and implant it in people’s minds, so you have to get used to repeating yourself until your throat is hoarse or your fingers are sore.

This is the 85th installment in my experiment of publishing raw, lightly edited mini-essays every day towards achieving 100 public pieces. Check out the rationale and the full list here.


#writing/mini-essays 2021-11-16