Carousel of Shame

The 20s are all about growing up. Maturing is one of the hardest things that is asked of you in college. You're supposed to be off on your own, taking care of yourself and making moves but we live in a microcosm of young people with (relatively) minimal consequences and repercussions for our actions. In short, for four years we revert back to a childlike state, carefree and without responsibilities (to a certain extent). What is maturity? It's accepting responsibility for ourselves at all times. Let's take a ride on the carousel of shame. 

Responsibility the key to maturity. Nothing else, in my opinion, signifies maturation more than being able to check yourself first and foremost, but also those around you (when necessary). We as people but especially young people have a tendency to distance ourselves from any situation turned sour. We place the blame on others, objects, or circumstances rather than own up to the part we played. It's hard. It's difficult. It's embarrassing. It's annoying. It's awkward.  Just like when we were kids and we broke a window or a vase or drew on the wall and hid from our parents, lied about it, or said it was someone else. We couldn't even look them in the eyes because we were so disgraced. It's absolutely important though to take responsibility. Every instance we come across we bring something to the table, whether positive or negative and we have to take that into consideration. The lengths we will go to avoid a situation or deflect acceptance by questioning those who have been impacted, and even to deny that anything has happened is unreal. We almost always know when we've transgressed against someone but nobody wants to own up and ride the carousel of shame. The shame piece is so crucial. Your head goes down and to the left like every politician caught in a sex sandal and an internal anger boils within you. No need to lash out, lash inward or go numb - feel and deal. Let it all wash over you and then move on from it. Feel bad for a while, but that's not the place where you need to end up. At some point you have to get off the carousel of shame.

Steps to Forgiveness:
1) Accept what you did - a difficult task, but that comes with acknowledge that you've done something wrong, and understanding it and the magnitude/significance of your actions. Everything we do has consequences, sometimes good and sometimes bad. We don't get to pick and choose, we must deal with all of it.
2) Apologize for what you did - The hardest one of them all. Instead of saying insincerely, "I'm sorry you were offended," take ownership of the part you played and try, "I'm sorry I offended you." That puts the focus on you and forces you to realize the impact you've had. It's done and over with, questioning someone's feelings is patronizing and never helps a situation. Swallow your pride and do the right thing. Feel the shame and go from there.
3) Learn from what you did - When you've done all you need to do, look back and reflect on what went on. What could you do differently next time or what is the takeaway life lesson for the future? Get off the carousel of shame and get back to real life. Forgiveness not only brings you back into the main world again, but gives closure to those most affected.
it’s a no-boehner!
The most crippling thing for me is to be told I've done something wrong. That's like my biggest fear. The thing I dread the most. It's my Achilles heel, my tragic flaw, and my key plot device. As a person who's been tasked (both outwardly but mostly internally) to be perfect at all times, that is to never do or say anything wrong, or offensive, no one can ever understand how impactful it is to be called out. To be made aware of a mistake I've made is crushing. It demolishes me, makes me feel like a failure, and I beat myself up about it relentlessly. I always tell this story but my math teacher in eighth grade told me to let other people answer the questions for once and for the next week I did not speak in that class. At the end of the week he pulled me aside to ask if I was okay and why I hadn't been talking and I told him that it because he told me not to.  It was that big of a deal. Looking back I can acknowledge the immaturity in that interaction but yet I'm still the same way and have that same initial reaction. Getting in trouble or someone wanting to "talk to me" scares me to no end. I get nervous, sweaty, anxious and go this place where I'm replaying my actions trying to figure out where I went wrong. It's a both a gift and a curse at the same time. Yes, I'm following the rules and playing fair, but when I do mess up it takes a lot to get back to a positive state. I'm getting better at owning what I've done and that even yes, me of all people, not only has the potential but can and have hurt other people. I have to claim what I've done and feel the shame, but move on and move forward. No one wants to get stuck on the carousel of shame.

The 20s are all about taking ownership of our words and actions. If we want things to happen, we have to do them ourselves and no longer can wait to be told or follow our peers. We're supposed to be able to think, navigate and provide for ourselves. What happens when we never really have to do so? We have to claim all the things that come with growing up, good and the bad. When we succeed we take the praise, but when we mess up or do something wrong (which can relative to some degree) - we also are tasked with accepting the blame and dealing with the aftermath. We're supposed to know better, think critically and be better (compared to who we were before). Ride the carousel of shame whenever you need to. 
My blog post question for the day ... when was the last time you apologized sincerely? Well since my existence is based on me avoiding doing anything wrong (if I'm aware something is wrong then why do it) and I have serious difficultly saying sorry but I always know I have to. I have to truly mean it or it serves no purpose. 


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