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Shame is a powerful force. When there are certain cultural or societal norms, we tend not to deviate from them to avoid feeling a sense of shame.

Now, shame when we say something mean or do something harmful is absolutely normal. It becomes a problem though when shame dictates our lives in a way that keeps us from living joyful and productive lives.

Things like eating or sleeping habits, how you dress, or what you enjoy doing can be scrutinized by society so much so we feel a sense of shame that holds us back from happiness or well-being.

We wanted to know what are completely normal and healthy behaviors that society tries to tell us are shameful.


Redditor dodongicepick asked:

"What is a healthy behavior that people shame others for?"

Redditors shared some very real scenarios that many of us have experienced before.

You don't have to be good at it to enjoy it.

"Doing something you enjoy but being bad at it."

- donwileydon

"I love dancing, not good at it but freaking love it."

- ominously-optimistic

"Keep at it then - and damn anyone that tries to shame you out of it."

- donwileydon

"Oooh I love this one. Capitalism has turned far too many activities and forms of self expression into competitions and products worthy of judgement by all."

"I adore hearing people sing tunelessly while they cook, or drawing a shaky sketch on a loving card, or doing silly dances to songs that make them happy. It’s joyful and human and real."

- chiro-petra

"I think it's globalism and the internet more than capitalism. It used to be that if you were pretty good at singing/playing an instrument your skills were very valuable to your community since the only way they'd be hearing music is from someone local."

"Now days, being good at something isn't worth much unless you're world-class, since you're compared to everyone else in the entire world and anyone can share their work online with the whole world. It has really upped the expectations of what is considered good."

- n64ssb

Everyone needs rest.

"Taking a healthy amount of time to take care of yourself, rest, or recoup."

- paintbrushvolcanoe

"Rest shouldn't be a reward, it should be treated as a necessary aspect of life."

- -Asher-

"Exactly! Even if the goal is to get work done, you cant be productive if you don't give yourself the proper time to rest before and after, but the society we live has subscribed to this perpetual cycle of working yourself to the bone and then not even getting eight hours of sleep until you have to do it all again."

- paintbrushvolcanoe

And go to bed when you want to.

"Going to bed early."

- Smooth_Arachnid8146

"This. Pre-COVID I had to be up at 5am for my job, yeah no I'm not staying up every night until passed midnight."

- Undarien

"I force myself to try and make it till 11:00. Although my mind and body tells a different story around 9:30."

- karmagod13000

"I’ve been called an old lady many times because I just get tired earlier and even when we used to go clubbing before C19 I’d always be either in a corner of the club or back in the car if it was safe because I just can’t sustain a high level of energy for prolonged times. I just always make sure my phone is charged and can be contacted."

- docasj

And conversely, waking up late."

"I've had people shame me for waking up at 11am or laughing at me. But I'm a night owl who sometimes works and conducts research until 5am."

- JackThreeFingered

Verbal processing.

"Talking to yourself."

"It's a good way to problem solve or even just vent about something."

- Vanilla_Neko

"Sometimes I tell myself the same joke five times and I laugh every time. It is nice to have your sense of humor appreciated."

- Koloristik

"I explain things to myself so I understand it better. It helps a lot when it comes to studying but then people look at me like I'm crazy."

- Mangobunny98

Cutting off parents.

"Estranging from toxic parents."

- doublestitch

"I think the problem is that people with good, supportive parents don't understand. They can't fathom it being that bad. At least that was the case for my husband and me."

- Quill_Strokes

"Exactly. Even within the family, some can't see the toxic/abusive individuals as they truly are. I've started explaining it to these types of people as... Imagine it being EASIER and less painful to not have them in your life at all. Imagine how awful they must be that it's easier to lose them than keep them. Most can't actually imagine it, but it helps them get the message a bit better. I hope you and your husband have reached a good understanding."

- handsinmyplants

Doing things alone.

"Doing things that are normally thought of as social activities by yourself. Like eating at a restaurant, or going to a concert, play, or movie. Stop shaming yourselves for enjoying life, friends."

- ipakookapi

"I went through a period in my 20's where I was single, for years. I had lost my father after a years-long battle with cancer and just really wasn't in the head-space to deal with a relationship. But, I still wanted to do fun stuff. I'd go out with friends when I was feeling up to it, but sometimes it was just nice to do things alone - go out for dinner, a movie, travel. I could do what I wanted, when I wanted and answer to no one. It was really nice, and exactly what I needed at that point in my life. I took solo trips to California, France and Spain during that time and enjoyed every single minute of it."

"To this day (and I'm pushing 50 now and have been married for 16 years), my mother and sister still talk about my 'weird phase where I did everything alone.' SMH. Not everything has to be a group effort and solitude is very underrated."

- SuchLovelyLilacs

You can still party without drinking.

"Not drinking every time you go out with friends."

- SoNotJohnny

"I came here to say this. I work in the bar industry so everyone drinks a lot. I used to drink a lot, too but now I just have a beer here and there because I actually hate being drunk and I really hate hangovers. My friends and coworkers just stopped inviting me out. People treat you so different, I don't even not drink, I just drink responsibly and my coworkers think that I don't like going out no matter how much I tell them that I do."

- SailorSpoon11

It's okay to be wrong.

"Being wrong. It's healthy to express opinions and ideas. When we shame people for being wrong, we tend to stop new conversations from happening. In this way, we lose opportunities to understand where others are coming from and squander opportunities to change minds. Further, we push all the wrong-headed people into groups where they can go nuts following their wrongness to its logical conclusion. Just stop humiliating people for holding opinions and having bad ideas. And remember everybody does."

- addisonaddisonii

"I’d add 'admitting you’re wrong (or that you f*cked up)' to this. Too often accepting blame is seen as either a weakness or a reason to lay into someone, when it’s actually a sign of integrity."

- EndApostrophe4Plural

If you relate to the things on this list, it's safe to say you're not alone.

Thousands of people have liked and commented similar stories and experiences of shame.

You do you.

Your happiness is worth more than someone else's judgement.

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