Why self-analysis will always work better than blame and shame


Published: 25 Sep 2017

2017 Communication Human Behaviour


Isn’t it obvious?

Not to some people.

They beat themselves up emotionally. They beat other people up emotionally. It leads to stress, blame, shame….less than ideal with everything else you have going on in your life right?

So why does shame raise its ugly head?

Shame occurs as a result of you feeling that you’ve failed in some way.

The concept of failure is deeply entrenched in us, to the extent that in over 1,000 women (including one that I’ve just come out of in South Island), over 75% of the women who participated in the workshop in answer to the question “What’s your biggest fear as a woman?” said the word Failure!

But can so many women actually be failures?

It would be unlikely wouldn’t it? These are confident, competent, successful women in a wide variety of ways, or ALL ways. They are business owners, exceptional employees, mothers, lovers, partners, aunties, sisters, colleagues, friends, advocates.

So can shame ever be good?

Well, here’s where it gets a bit tricky. Shame, or fear of shame to be more precise can actually be a driver to make you succeed. It makes you try hard, do a good job, complete things, be kinder.  However the bad far out-ways the good with shame, and the bitter after taste that comes with a good dose of shame includes: alienating yourself from people because you don’t want to face them, and distinct alterations of your body language which looks a lot like submission, weakness and defeat – things that can alienate people from you! Worse still it can leave you wide open to manipulation and exploitation as someone sees advantage in the shame you feel, which can lead you into inappropriate or dangerous choices, resentment and being ‘played’.

Back to the title – why self analysis will always work better than blame and shame.

Blame – has a victim ALWAYS.

That may be you. It may be someone else. But blame always has an ugly undercurrent – time to process and get over it! Psychologists make a pretty good living out of people that have been caught up in a cycle of incoming blame and shame, from their husband or wife, boss, child, friend, colleague or commonly nowadays – strangers (in the form of trolls).

Shame, provides near instant negative gratification.

The odd time it is productive, such as when it spurs you to on to do the right thing, check your moral compass, or make something right that was your fault, sometimes feels like someone has your arm up your back coercing you to do it.

So, self-analysis. Why is it a better choice?

A) It’s productive. Looking at the what, how, where, why, when of a situation is much more productive than “my bad”!  Self-analysis is such a quick efficient way to improve your life exponentially, I can’t for the life of me figure out why more people don’t do it. Imagine how quickly your life would improve if every time something didn’t go exactly as you wanted it to you self-analysed why instead of merely choosing passive, aggressive, assertive, or passive-aggressive behaviour which there may or may not be an outcome from.

B) There’s a learning opportunity – instead of going straight to blame and shame, creating a victim you and/or them, you analyse where it went wrong. This gives you an incredible opportunity to resolve something, re-design something, apologise for something, and hopefully ensure that it never happens again. You’ve heard the saying “once is a mistake, twice is a choice?”

C) It corrects poor behaviour. You’ve heard my mantra before? “The distance between where you are and where you want to be lies in the communication you choose, use, and enable.” In ALL communication, if you’ve got it incoming and you don’t like it, you enabled that! You didn’t “see it, say it”, you allowed it, so you set the precedent that it was acceptable behaviour to you. You invited it in to your emotional house and it’s likely that only you can tell it to go.

Try this simple activity as you go into another week. Every single time you don’t like what just happened to you in any human interaction. Self-analyse it.

Why did it happen?

Why did it make me feel like that?

How can I put it right/correct the behaviour (yours, or theirs)?

Even if it wasn’t my fault/completely out of my control, could I have handled it better in my tone, body language, words, volume, behaviour?

This process will lead you to a more compassionate frame of mind, help you to look at the big picture from a place of equanimity, stop you jumping to conclusions or making things worse, help you feel more in control of your life, less stressed, and less dumped on.

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