Opinion: Are we shaming each other? It needs to stop

It started from the moment I arrived to unnamed class. I happened to take a moment before the bell rang to place the Bible I had in my hands out onto my desk. Not even a minute had passed before one of my peers told me condescendingly that I must need Jesus. 

I simply told them that I do indeed have Jesus and I told them some of my favorite Bible verses. –And at that moment, I could feel the side glances and I could hear the comments. –And at that moment I felt shame for something that I am passionate about. I thought of how common this response is for us to feel the instant need to express judgement. This need to shame is a common trend between teens and adults.

What is public shaming?

Public shaming is defined as making someone feel disgraced or feel shame for whatever reasons 

Examples of public shaming include- 

  • Trolling comments on social media 
  • Mocking comments by peers directed at someone else  
  • Scrutinizing others or being openly critical 
  • Judgmental comments to encourage a change in behavior (such as comments about wearing/ not wearing a mask during the pandemic.) 

According to CNN public shaming has become peoples common past time. Shaming others or making mocking comments has become our natural response. Because of this, people are becoming ashamed of being verbal on topics they are passionate about.

According to Scientific American women are statistically more likely to feel more ashamed then men and are more susceptible to the negative effects of shame.

The St. Catherine University provided more information in regards to the effects of shame on women.

“Shame is a self-conscious emotion that affects self-esteem, self-concept and evaluation of the
self. Shame is seen more often in women than men; in part due to societal and cultural standards
placed upon women that create negative self-evaluations in women when those standards are not
met. Shame is seen in mental health diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, substance use
disorders and eating disorders,” said Miller-Prieve in a study for the School of Social Work.

Although woman may feel they are publically shamed more, it is an issue felt by all.

“We’re creating a culture where people feel constantly surveilled, where people are afraid to be themselves,” said Russell Blackford, Conjoint Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Newcastle.

What are we going to do about this? For starters let’s educate ourselves on a topic before we judge or make mocking comments. Consider and be mindful of empathy–showing understanding of where others are coming from and whether or not our own comments are constructive. It is not our job to punish and make others feel bad about something they enjoy. Also we can show support instead of hate.

And lastly always remember words hurt and we need to show love and support to those around us.

In the words of Earl Nightingale: “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.”

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