The Shame of Our Own Weakness
Today I want to discuss an attribute that I believe is one of mankind’s biggest struggles – and what we can do about it, because none of us are exempt from it.
This is a hard truth for most to hear, and I acknowledge that I need to focus here as much as anyone.
It is important because if we want freedom in our personal lives, understanding this concept is necessary, powerful, and even liberating.
I saw this quote on twitter and it nicely paraphrased a belief I have had for quite some time.
Here is the thought:
Nothing makes individuals meaner than the shame of their own weakness.
We can also expand weakness in this quote to include inaction, idle potential, regrets, lack of progress, low self-esteem, sins, indiscretions, etc.
What Does This Quote Mean?
I believe progress is happiness. When we are moving forward in the important areas of our lives we feel peace, contentment, and happiness.
Those feelings exhibit themselves in our actions.
The opposite is also very true. When we are stagnant or losing progress; we are surrounded by despair, darkness, and unhappiness.
This quote comes into play when we are experiencing the latter. When we feel darkness of shame, it also manifests itself in the way we treat others.
Why does this happen?
Progress is a principle of truth. It cannot be beaten or ignored. There is no hack or way around it.
We are either benefiting from its power through proper implementation or being destroyed by the lack thereof.
When we are not following true principles, the impact it has on us internally is significant and cannot be ignored – for better or worse.
It inevitably impacts the way we treat others because it’s a reflection of how we feel about ourselves.
Successful People Don’t Do This
Being a parent with young kids, I am shocked by how mean children can be – either it has gotten worse over the years, or I have forgotten this from my youth.
There are two principles I try to teach my kids to help with this issue – but it works for any age.
First, these poorly behaved kids either have a tough home environment or have something personal that they are going through that is being displayed in their actions.
They feel unhappy and are unsure of what to do. They falsely believe that hurting others will somehow help their pain.
They may also feel jealous because of the achievements of others and feel shame in their lack of personal progress – in sports, education, musical talents, making friends, etc.
The natural tendency is to tear someone down to help themselves cope with their struggle. This is what we mean by the meanness of their own shame.
Secondly, I teach them that true confidence in oneself is the best antidote to the ugliness of others.
If we feel good about who and what we are, then the actions of others won’t have a negative impact on us.
You can’t eliminate what others will say and do, but you can fortify yourself so you are unfazed by what others will throw at you.
The hope is that this example of confidence will help inspire others – especially those who are struggling.
As an adult I have seen this exact same behavior. There is an important difference those who act this way and those who do not.
Here is the difference: it doesn’t come from those who are happy with their progress.
I have noticed for myself, when I am making significant strides, I am less concerned with what others are doing. I am less critical. I am more prone to helping and lifting others.
When you are progressing, you feel light inside of yourself – opposed to darkness.
This light exhibits itself in understanding, kindness, perspective. We are less inclined to tear others down because we are happy with who and what we are.
Successful people know that ugliness is a deterrent to progress, and they are unwilling to let that destroy their momentum. They want nothing to do with it.
If you see “successful” people acting this way, it is a clear indication that they have a neglected area(s) in their lives that they are unhappy with – they are lacking progress somewhere.
By success I don’t mean just professionally and financially – that is only a small part of who we are.
It heavily relates to fitness, spirituality, emotionally, mentally, relationships, talents, goals and dreams, being free from addictions, hobbies, etc.
Our progress is heavily tied to ALL of these areas and finding balance and progress in each is what success looks like to me.
We also see this principle in action when it comes to figures of authority. Authority will greatly magnify – for better or worse – how someone feels about themselves.
If this shame is present, it will manifest itself in tyrannical behavior over whom they preside.
This is present - or at least a risk - anywhere authority is bestowed.
Parents who lack confidence or progress are at risk of taking that shame or regret out on their children in the form of punishment or unreasonable expectations.
Employers or bosses who lack competency often rule as tyrants over those whom they manage. This often stems from their own inabilities professionally or lack of personal progress in their personal life.
There are also many examples of this inside of law enforcement, politicians, religion, HOA boards, etc.
It doesn’t mean these positions are bad or unnecessary, it just means that whenever authority is granted, if it is in the hands of someone that is unhappy because of their lack of progress or weakness, that meanness will manifest itself.
As a dad I am very aware of this principle and its tendency to manifest itself. It is really difficulty for me to have a strong impact if I am not a force of good in my own life first.
Shame must be replaced with a desire to progress(more on this in next week's email).
This truth can be a powerful gauge for how we are doing personally.
Are we tearing down those who are financially successful because of our own money mismanagement?
Are we critical of those who work out because of our fitness?
Do we destroy the spiritual beliefs of others because of our own sins and indiscretions?
Are we critical of other’s success because we feel shame that we are not willing to put in the work in our own lives?
If we read these questions and are already thinking about how it applies to others and not ourselves, chances are, our progress is lacking.
When we feel discontent, we know something is off. The problem is that we often misunderstand it for shame, and this is when the ugliness comes out.
Instead, we need to use it as an internal gauge that notifies us that our progress is off – and then use it for improvement instead of destruction(shame).
We didn’t get this reaction of shame from God, rather it is an attribute we most overcome to become like Him.
The first step to overcoming our struggle(s) is to understand the principle of truth behind it.
I believe that much of our darkness comes from how we feel about our lack of progress.
The encouraging thing is that an expectation of perfection is not necessary – or even possible – if we want to benefit from this principle. Even the simple act of recognizing it can change everything.
Once we feel the light that accompanies change, we have a significant increase of power to be who and what we desire.
If you don’t currently see or feel this inside of yourself, don’t despair. Focus on the good that is inside of you. Look deeply at what needs to improve and get started today.
If we desire freedom, it’s important that we understand these emotions and learn how to use it for progress and good.
Thanks for reading,
Darron Rowley - Founder of Freedom Elements