from embarrassment to humility


The following is a reply that I made on someone’s private wall (about grieving in relation to some “parental breakdowns”). For me, this is a REALLY valuable lesson:

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to feel embarrassment in relation to certain details of my personal history. Humiliation nourishes humility.

In regard to mating, I have been eager and naive. As a father, I have been delighted, furious, and many other things.

Culturally, most people are programmed in certain ways and so mating and parenting become a kind of trap. We go along “just doing what we should” and then we may suddenly recognize how unprepared we are for what we have “set in motion.” So, the cultural programming sets the trap (or sets lots of different ones), and then most of us eventually get caught (a little or a lot). That can lead to radical new practices like… requesting the assistance or guidance of mentors.

[This one paragraph is not from the original post] For instance, in a national socialist system like the US, what if elderly people are dependent on the government for social security benefits and then President Castro says “you must have paperwork to show that you are current on all your mandatory vaccines or else we will cancel your benefits?” Well, then most people who are well-informed will do what they can to minimize their inflammatory responses and then do what it takes to continue their benefits. Obviously, the government is not going to publicize the traps as traps. They may not even spring the trap until years or decades after it is set…. [back to the original post…]

I am glad that my son’s mom is as effective as she is, but I have also experienced guilt about many details. She has pushed guilt toward me, but I already had the desire for my son to have a certain kind of life (which he often did not). [If any guilt that she pushed toward me “landed,” then that would be because…] The guilt is rooted in the [not yet fulfilled] motivation (plus a fear of recognizing that I might still have some things to learn about how to fulfill on the motivation).

So, the guilt can be something that points me to my motivation… or I can follow the cultural momentum to blame others for my past experiences of guilt. “This should not be this” is such a fundamental coping mechanism of denial.

Whatever motivations that I have for the welfare of my son (or his mom or anyone else), those are what they are. Cultural programs about what those motivations should be are … also just whatever they are.

Instead of the guilt narrative of “this should not be this,” I can ask “what is it that I wish to produce?” Guilt is a signal of distress. Rather than simply pretend not to be distressed, I can recognize the appeal of calm and stability and security (and perhaps seclusion / privacy), then consider which boundaries I prefer to assert and maintain.

Often, the guilt is from “letting someone cross a boundary that I pretended not to have in order to avoid complications [or actually to avoid simplifications].” So, I am grateful for the embarrassment and guilt. I have been guilty of failing to hold my boundaries. So, the importance of establishing boundaries can suddenly “come in to focus” for me.


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