Shame’s antonym

My grapefruit drawing:  gfruit

A friend forwarded a link to me, from the internet; a response to a blogger who was banned from Facebook for “fat shaming”.  I’ll put the link at the bottom of this post, in case you want to check out the original post and the responses.  I thank the sender and at the same time, I grow weary of the bashing, shaming, blaming cycle.  What struck me about the article was when author Dodai Stewart writes: “PRIDE — defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people.’ ”

Oh.  Really?  Well, knock me over with a feather.  Self respect?  Deserve respect?

Not that I didn’t believe her, but I had to do a little research on my own, because I was taught that PRIDE IS BAD, bad, bad.  As in, ‘Pride goeth before a fall’.  Pride is a shameful thing, dangerous and a terrible thing to feel or own.  Can you imagine my surprise when I saw her definition?  Are you putting this together?  I had been taught that self respect and believing that I deserved to be respected by others was wrong.  What?

One fact that surfaced in my brief exploration of the word:  “In Christianity, pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.”  Sins!  Not that my parents were religious, but a repressive, WASP-y perspective was in full control of family values.  The sins, btw, are wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.  Pride has been more accurately translated – from ancient Greek to Latin to English – as ‘hubris’, meaning arrogance.  Translation like a children’s game of ‘telephone’.  ‘Hubris’ being a less common word, ‘pride’ is put on the list…

Here are a few other definitions from the online M-W Dictionary/Thesaurus about PRIDE:  “self-esteem … honor … self-worth, self-regard … consciousness of one’s own dignity … If you take pride in yourself or your accomplishments, it means that you believe in your own worth…”

“ANTONYM: shame.”

“With a positive connotation, pride… is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, or a fulfilled feeling of belonging. Philosophers and social psychologists have noted that pride is a complex secondary emotion which requires the development of a sense of self and the mastery of relevant conceptual distinctions (e.g., that pride is distinct from happiness and joy) through language-based interaction with others.”  (Source)

A number of these concepts (self-esteem, dignity, self-respect, self-worth, feeling of belonging, sense of self) have been a regular part of this blog posting month; they are central to the work I am doing.  PRIDE can be considered not just the Antonym of shame, but the Antidote to shame.  Honestly, I think it will take a long time and a lot of practice on my part to be able to write or say that I am proud of something that I have done, without expecting the sky to fall (and crush shameful me.)  However, doing so, practicing this paradigm shift is clearly critical to my efforts to de-construct shame.

Link to article about woman banned from FB for fat shaming.

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