Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Shame Game: 3 Temptations to Play

I am coming off my promise to only look at FB when I have a notification. I put a "no scroll" rule on myself for my own sanity...and discernment.

I'll be the first to admit, I have A LOT of opinions. I make snap judgements, I raise an eyebrow at THAT, I roll my eyes at THAT, I shake my head at THAT. And if you don't, I truly want to affirm you for being a free-er, more stable person than me. But according to my thousand plus friends out there, I'd say there are a number of people who are just as opinionated as me. I think it's called being human?

As I've been on a scrolling frenzy over the past couple of weeks, and I've seen a pretty significant decline in my attitude and self-talk, I realized that I've bought into The Shame Game of Twenty-First-Century Culture. I'm munching on the Lotus and unable to get myself out of the pool of self-doubt and self-criticism. Ever been there?

Three things are threatened when I am playing in the shame game, and I need to self-protect and change my approach when I get on social media...

1. Motherhood. I am going to start off by giving all of us mamas a pat on the back for caring enough for our kids. When it comes to our kids, most of us are just trying to do the best we can.

That goes for:

sleep schedules
care providers

You name it, I've found myself questioning my sense as a mother in all aspects due to the strongly weighted posts out there. The temptation to feel judged or scrutinized or lesser of a mom is one of the BIGGEST threats to me on social media.

 I know I've posted things that are probably stumbling blocks for other moms. Who hasn't? If we think our way is best for our family, and someone else is doing it differently, then of course we are going to question ourselves. If we think a certain way is WRONG, then we have this strange urge to announce it and feed shame to our people. Meh.

God put each of us in charge of these little people we raise, and I have to remember that the criticism, pride, and my-way-is-better attitude is just not worth playing with. We're doing the best we can. Whether it be different thoughts on schooling, eating, wellness, or what technology we buy, MY HEART IS FOR MY CHILDREN over the latest method or school of thought. And I know, YOUR HEART IS FOR YOUR CHILDREN, and we cannot play the shame game when we are all on equal ground.

2. Successes. If you follow me on social media, you'll know that I am an author. And I often post stuff about my writing journey and my highs, lows, and in-betweens. I have other friends who are:

health specialists
exercise professionals
business owners
And a whole bunch of crazy talented you-name-its.

I often find myself editing and rewriting a post--or deleting one--because:
A. I am not as good as that next person in my shamed mind's eye,  OR
B. I know what it feels like to journey three steps behind someone else on my "dream" walk and I don't want to appear like a braggart or insensitive.

Often, I wonder if I should just get off of social media altogether because it's so easy to retaliate to the inferiority brought on by scrolling with my own puffed-up post. ACK. Yeah, I just admitted that. Be tempted to judge me? Hmmm, please say I'm not the only one.

What I have to remind myself is, first, just because I sense a certain tone in a post as something unnerving, doesn't mean that was the intent of the poster. Let's think about that for a moment.

A post's tone can be read differently than it was meant to be received. 
Maybe I shouldn't take things so seriously? Hmmm...

I've begun to look at how beautiful humanity is in our different passions and talents and journeys regardless of a silly social media post. I've found so much joy on my path to publication, and I KNOW I am not the only one who has found it, or been inspired to use a talent.

I must look through the lens of understanding, finding excitement at the unique ways God directs the talents of others. When I stop striving to show off my own successes and cheer on those who are also using their gifts and interests and talents in this life, then my temptation dies and the game is over.

3. My Relationships. There are opinions on just about everything. And even more. Yeah,
it's gotten ridiculous, hasn't it? EVERY.SINGLE.ISSUE has a pro or con post by someone. And I've written plenty of my own, believe me... (didn't we just have a virtual civil war last November? Just sayin').

The risk I run during a scroll session, is falling for the bait and forming an opinion on the spot--without research or reason, (or prayer...hmm), and then shaming others in my comment...bleh!

My favorite way to have a friendly exchange of opinions, besides face to face, has been in Messenger. That way, it's one-on-one, with respect and knowledge of previous and present relationship with that person. The shame game is over when you are two individuals sharing (usually...depending on the relationship, I guess).

HOWEVER, some things just need to be said on our walls, in our circles, whenever we can have a voice--especially when injustice is gaining momentum and the general opinion is in an uproar. We need to speak up for TRUTH when the world is clambering around in LIES and darkness. It's our job as the Salt and Light of the world...if that's our intention. A lot of times, I just want to get my opinion heard in the masses...and that's when I get wet with shame and regret, and most of all, broken relationship.

So now, I need to ask myself this...

What's my motive? 

And I MUST NOT assume the motives of others as they post.

The criticism is destructive, the temptation is thick, and if there is one thing in Twenty-First Century Culture that I could do away with, it's the Shame Game

How about you?

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