Getting Rid of Shame

In both of the of the readings the issue of shame and poverty is brought up. Bambara mentions feeling it when told to enter the toy shop and Barbie talks about it when discussing her past. Specifically she speaks about finding shame in asking for help, telling secrets, as she calls it. Which prompts the question HOW do we get rid of that shame? One way is to continue to do nothing, pretend like it isn’t a contributing factor to the cycle of poverty. What about taking the Ms. Moore approach, in teaching the children about the world around them and how life and society in general isn’t fair and balanced. This might help, but what about those who haven’t been educated, who have been stuck for a long time? Perhaps taking away the stigma, that help doesn’t mean being weak or that you’re a failure. Although there is a small potential for those dishonest people to consider this an open invitation to abuse the system. Personally I think it’s a mix of all of these, educating, allowing those afflicted to be as self-sufficient as possible, and erasing the stigma that getting help means giving up. What do you think is there a way to eradicate shame?

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1 Response to Getting Rid of Shame

  1. I believe that it is true that many times poverty comes with the feeling of being inadequate, not self-sufficient, and feeling as if you don’t belong or don’t fit into the consumer system that is so deeply engrained in our culture. All of these feelings in turn lead to the feeling of shame, humiliation, distress and sorrow, feelings that entrap and hold you down. The internal struggle with shame is one that is a large challenge to try to overcome, but I believe that it is an important struggle that needs to be given attention because shame will only hold a person down making them unable to strive to raise above their struggles or see hope in their situation. Shame hides the silver lining, making the person feel that there is nothing they can do to better their situation in life, it make them feel hopeless and helpless.
    I agree with joycemichelle that in order to get rid of shame there must be education of the injustices of the world because through wisdom comes understanding and the drive to make change for what is just. I agree that it is imperative to erase the stigma of weakness and embarrassment when needing to ask for help, it needs to be expressed that it is ok, and even healthy sometimes, to ask for help. But along the same idea, I strongly agree that those afflicted must also be empowered to act self-sufficiently. There is something powerful about being able to accomplish something on your own or at least contribute something yourself. By giving those suffering with shame, guilt, embarrassment and distress something to take ownership of, responsibility for and pride in, they are also being given a new sense of purpose. I strongly believe that when a person is given a purpose and motivation they become more confident in themselves and develop a greater ambition to better their lives. They also become more comfortable asking others for help because they feel like they have something to offer. I feel that a common thread that comes along with shame is the feeling of helplessness and being trapped; hopelessness. I believe that the most important step in pulling away someones shame is to give them an opportunity to feel useful, needed, and trusted. By giving their life even the smallest sense of hope and purpose, the shame can begin to fade away and they will gain the confidence to reach out to others and seek the help they need.

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