As a society in these present times we don’t do that on purpose. Or rather, we don’t allow our selves to do this on purpose. We’d rather put the effort into feeling pride than feeling shame. And shame really only happens as a default. It’s not planned.
And like fleeing from harm’s way, we spend our time while in shame, trying our best to push it away. We seek comfort from others or make a list in our heads of reasons why we ought not be too hard on ourselves. We don’t simply allow ourselves to feel the shame and process it.
Asking questions like:
Why do I feel so awful?
Was I the bad guy in this situation?
What can I do in the future to stop this occurence from happening to myself or anyone else?
There’s one story I don’t want to excuse away. One story I personally feel ashamed of myself concerning.
I was in my early twenties and a new mom. At this time I worked in a cafe that doubled as a playland for kids. Parents would pay an extra rate to have a section of the room for a birthday party.
For these, we would get dressed up as different characters and lead the group of kids in games. We would offer party themed foods, assist with cutting the cake and cleaning up.
One day, a mom came in with her kids, along with a group of other parents and their kids. This mom looked like a single parent. She even looked tired.
The group filled up an entire back table. One of the staff came to me, (I was the manager at this time), and said that they came to celebrate a birthday and were wanting all of our party services.
The mom even looked a bit offended that we hadn’t exactly pulled out the welcome wagon for her party group. I told the staff to do nothing to serve them as a party. (I likely didn’t even say this quietly). The mom should have known to check the website before bringing a party into the cafe. They brought their own food too- so I felt we had every right to respond cold and mean.
The staff member seemed awkward about having to tell them this. And soon one of the male guests came to me demanding I cut the cake for them and the staff come sing happy birthday.
I handed him the cake knife and explained, they did not book a party, therefore we would not assist them as though they did. The most I would do is offer them our cake knife.
My response was cold. I believe I may have even glared at the mom like she was an idiot.
Moments later she came to me and apologized. She explained she didn’t understand what our services were clearly. She then bought a few food items off the menu, which I’m pretty sure I didn’t make very well. I watched her scarf it all down anyway as though she deserved to finish a plate of horrible food.
This happened five years ago now. The memory comes to me from time to time and it brakes my heart. I have no excuse for being so horrible to another mom. A mom that was just trying to give her kid a great birthday.
If I could go back, I would be so kind. I would show so much patience. I was terribly wrong. In fact, I was a monster.
I’ve prayed so many times for that mom. I’ve prayed she knows she is a good mom. I’ve prayed healing and protection over her heart. I’ve prayed for forgiveness.
That moment that I was a horrible person, reminds me to be patient in waiting for those that have treated me horribly to come to their own senses.
This was my moment of shame and I believe shame can build character and make the world a better place if we let it do its work in us.
Are you brave enough to highlight your own moment of shame?