Can we tell our own story?
So many people want to tell our story for us. Many of them resort to heaping shame on other people.
Monica Lewinsky shares in a wonderful TED Talk how she has worked through the massive amount of shame that has been dumped on her. The talk is eloquent and profound.
She uses the expression taking back our narrative. I need to do that myself. I lost faith in my own narrative, and I began to look to my circumstances to define me.
My circumstances appear to me to be defined by other people. To some extent that is true. We are social creatures. We all contribute to, or deprive others, and their experiences. These days we mostly deprive others. That is the mood of the times. Still, I hold the primary responsibility for telling, and demonstrating, my own experience.
I have often said in this blog that children are born happy, and over time we deprive them of that. We go to work in offices having lost all sight of our own happiness. We even lose our trust of happiness. At work it is usually considered a distraction.
Monica’s message is about reclaiming our identity. She speaks in detail about the forces arrayed to prevent that.
She speaks of shaming having become an industry. Google the word “celebrities” and it returns links to sites designed to heap shame on people, perhaps for marrying an “ugly” person, or aging “badly.”
What we have not taken into account is the effects of this material on young people and their sense of responsibility to others. One of the messages I see in this is that being well known equates with surrendering all forms of dignity and respect. Celebrities are simply targets for mean behavior. As the shamers spiral down into the worst possible versions of themselves our society becomes even more fractured.
As society becomes more fractured our personal narrative grows fainter and more convoluted. Let’s end this post with a bit of encouragement from Rumi. I like passages that puzzle me because it shows me there is more to learn. I cannot absorb the passage by relying on only those things I already know.
You spirit needs to follow the changes happening in the spacious places it knows about.