Once again, greeting to all the readers. This monthly article will give us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in a key issue of psychology and humanity: emotions.
We will try to lay the foundations of how they become fundamental in the interaction with the other and what specific role they play. Nowadays, we know their importance abundantly, but what I want to do with you in these monthly articles, is to build a specific analysis of them by incorporating them, for all intents and purposes, as those who feed and support our ability to be in relationship. We will also touch on the specific emotion of shame, and analyze its dynamics.
We start by representing our emotions as a fuel within us, that keeps us alive and reactive all the time, guiding us in a direction. They are present since birth, they evolve and take different forms based on how the context will interact with them. We realize how important “a healthy interaction between the individual and the environment” becomes, not suffocating, as mentioned in previous articles, but respectful of both sides. I emphasize this point because what we become in the future is generated by a multitude of past and present experiences. They will be fundamental in creating our emotional world/language.
Emotions exist as an evolutionary baggage, and for this reason we have to consider them continuously present and at work within us. In addition, this emotional baggage is shaped in the encounter with the outside world. They are a thermometer, and as such, they give us an indication of how we are functioning in relation to the environment. Over the years, we develop a specific emotional language, as you will often read in books. But consider this emotional language as a real language, with which we communicate and relate, using that specific mode that will make us unique.
We go deeper into emotions and have a look on a specific emotion, shame.
We have already had the opportunity to analyze the importance of the “border” in the relationship, and how within it, the “contact” with the other takes place. We take up this point again because it is precisely here that we can see and experience shame.
The message, that this emotion conveys, can be described as: I don’t want you to see something of me. Let’s try to translate any “shame-related” behaviour as not wanting to let the other inside us or not wanting to bring out something particularly delicate for us. In a funny way we could also imagine ourselves as that sweet emotion (shame) that conveys so much need for protection, is actually inside the person an army lined up ready to leave if someone dares to get too close or cross borders.
The reason for the need, not to let someone in, can be found again, is
in an insufficient awareness and handling of what’s in our emotional world.
in not wanting to make the other person part of something so important to us.
All this, in a path of personal growth (i.e. what life requires on a daily basis), puts us more in comparison with those parts that are more unknown to us that, suddenly within a relationship, can emerge and make us find ourselves slightly disoriented not understanding what is happening to us. We could say, that a greater degree of familiarity with them becomes necessary.
In short, we can focus the shame, when something intimate emerges too much for our taste and becomes accessible to the other.
Why is shame generated? Let’s focus on two simple answers:
In the first, we see shame being created as a result of learning, that certain ways of thinking and acting are not allowed. Putting them into action corresponds to being seen by others with different eyes. Let’s think about this aspect and apply it to how the context “made us feel” when we realized something a little different from what our living environment wanted. At that moment, our experiences began to make us feel partially inadequate, when taken outside.
In the second answer, we simply focus on its generation because something emotionally ours is emerging, generating a sense of danger and too much exposure to the context.
Emotions create a unique fluidity in a person’s functioning, and lead him/her to a healthy contact with the environment.
Shame is one of the emotions we can live in that border of contact with each other. It tells us, that there is something more delicate inside us and as such in need of protection.
The greater our degree of confidence in emotions, the more comfortable will be our relationship with them, if brought to the boundary of contact with the environment.