‘Olodo rabata. Oju eja lo mo je’
‘Ooni lo paper, sileti lo maa la’
‘Ore mi ki lo gba: odo oloju ela’
‘Sikin, sikin, sikin sikin, SHAME!!!’
Disclaimer alert, we never sang this in my primary school. Lol. I’m not sure if anyone in my generation actually seriously sang this song: because I dont think schools were still using the slate to teach children to write by the time I was growing up.
(These are children with slates for those who do not know)
For those of us that either dont understand Yoruba (which is the language of the song) or have never heard the song before and are wondering what I am going on and on about, let me give you a little context.
When a small child (usually early primary school, I imagine: from the context of the song) got nothing correct in a test (or at least a very low score), the other classmates were indicted to sing this mocking song (which they usually did with relish). The song is basically berating the child for getting zero.
The purpose of the song: to induce shame in the person that got the low score. It wasnt supposed to be spiteful, the way I remember it. It was just what you got for getting nothing.
Innocent? Or not.
What is shame?
It’s hard to define, especially as shame is not exactly the same thing as guilt. But we all know what it feels like: that degrading feeling that you are more reprehensible than others. Either because of what you have done or who you are (your parents, race, preferences, intellect, sex, habits…)
I found a very useful difference between shame and guilt:
Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is, “I am bad.” Guilt is, “I did something bad”.
All of us have things about ourselves we feel guilty about. And if we are christians, we ask God for forgiveness and the Bible says He does.
But sometimes, to some more than others, that sinking feeling that you are less for what you’ve done, regardless of how sorry you are, doesn’t go away.
Guilt first produces shame. And then shame perpetually produces guilt.
Shame never lets us forget. Because though we may run from what we’ve done, we cant move away from who we perceive ourselves to be.
It is a painful way to live- I can tell you that from first hand experience. No one that lives in shame can feel truly forgiven by God (even if (s)he knows it in his/her head).
Brene Brown, renowned shame researcher and author of the New York Times best-selling Daring Greatly, cited research in her TED Talk that found shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, and eating disorders… Shame inspires people to escape and hide. People withdraw out of fear of being judged because what’s at stake isn’t their behavior. It’s their basic selves. “The self becomes impaired…”
Shame traps you into continually seeking from others what you cannot give yourself: acceptance.
The wages of sin is death. And whoever has lived in shame has known what it is to die while walking, breathing and even smiling.
Shame IS A LIE.
Did I mention that it is also a costly waste of a life?
The good news?
God has something to exchange for all the life you wasted, living under the oppression of shame
What you must do?
Fight it; your life, your peace, your possibilities are at stake.
A simple way to start? Accept that Jesus’ blood took away the sin and guilt AND THE SHAME.
Then mentally ( and verbally) reaffirm yourself. When those terrible thoughts come, tell yourself that you are loved. That you are forgiven. That you are accepted. That you are worthy. That you are good. That you are here because you have a right to be here. That there is nothing the matter with you…
Dont stop talking to yourself… ever!
Whatever you do, don’t spread the shame. And be very wary of those that induce shame in you. You might have to run from some levels of relationship…
Whew- this became way deeper than I expected it to be. But I hope this helps someone find freedom.
Have a great week ahead and stay Connected!