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The Positive Side of Shame

Shaming used sparingly

Shaming should be directed where possible benefits are greatest. We all have a limited amount of interest in shaming. It should be used only for the most severe transgressions; otherwise, people will become desensitized, and shaming will lose its effectiveness.

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Shame Affects Our Mental Health
Shame Affects Our Mental Health

Shame is that uncomfortable sensation we feel in our stomach when we realize our irrationality and cannot run away from the judging eye of other people. It usually happens when we ...

Women And Children Feel Shame More Intensely
  • Women and adolescents are quick to feel the negative effects of shame, and dive into low self-esteem and depression at a much faster rate than men.
  • Young people have a stronger ‘pull’ towards any kind of emotion, including shame, which is the reason for them being susceptible to severe depression.
  • The propensity of shame decreases as we grow older, but elders again start to feel ashamed just as a young person, as they get self-conscious of their actions, appearance and bodily decline.
Shame And Guilt
  • Guilt is related to shame but is easier to rectify, as we focus our attention on the other person and apologize, accepting responsibility.
  • Shame is an inward emotion that makes us view our entire self in a bad light, with us getting punished by our conscience.
  • Guilt is actually a positive emotion, showing our empathy and encouraging us to reverse the harm that we may have done.
The positive impact of forgiveness
The positive impact of forgiveness

Forgiving someone can reduce our stress levels, risk of heart disease and mental illness. It can prevent cognitive decline in later life, help you earn more money, and be happier.

Forgiveness should be culturally appropriate

Individualists use forgiveness to relieve a burden and clear their conscience while collectivists use forgiveness to preserve social harmony, even if the individual still feels resentment towards their transgressor.

Western countries like the US or the UK tend to have more individualistic cultures, meaning personal gain is put before helping the wider group. In collectivistic cultures like Asia and Africa, the group is put first.

Two separate types of forgiveness
  • Decisional forgiveness is colder, cognitive, and analytical. The collectivist is concerned with what is the best thing for everyone else.
  • Emotional forgiveness is offered to satisfy an emotional need and is more common in individualistic people.

The separate types of forgiveness are sometimes used to explain the difference between collectivistic and individualistic approaches.

Our reasons for lying

Where lying is concerned, we just can't seem to help ourselves. 

We lie for two reasons: behavioral conditioning and cognitive evolutionary biology.

Behavioral conditioning

Lying keeps us hooked because we enjoy the reward. The outcomes are unpredictable.
Lying is reinforced every time we get away with it. 

Cognitive evolutionary biology

Lying is a valuable tool in our survival kit. We can spare someone's feelings or build social standing. Lying can keep us out of trouble or even save our lives.

Practicing deception starts as early as six months of age such as fake crying or laughter. But people only start to get good at it after another four years where they learn to let go of the unbelievable lies and settle for what kind of lies work.