Acceptance · Awareness · Fear

Shame has a Secret..

It grows in the dark. We all have moments of shame in our lives. Whether it is the shame of not being good, beautiful or strong enough. We all have fears that push us towards shame and so capture our mind with the darkness of nothing but pain, dislike, negativity and even more fear. I experienced shame as well. Like most of you may know, my culture embraces the word “ Shame” as the guideline towards life. Your life and every step of it has to be measured by this word. This word colors your vision on life and your experience on self worth. Shame is the biggest fear for every parent in my community. Shame is equal to social death.


Shame is the word of our community. They decide what the requirements are for this label. Their requirements stand against several rights given to you by birth. Still as a component of this community you fear shame like the scary ghost underneath your bed when you were five. The sad observation is the fact that as an adult you still believe in that ghost. You will feel relieved if I tell you that your not the only one who is stuck at that age, your parents and grandparents are as well. Stating this I ask myself the question: “ Did we grow up? Or are we still that five year old boy or girl who is afraid of the dark and the ghost hidden in it?

As I questioned the meaning of Shame and where it comes from I read a book written by a researcher called Brene Brown. She is specialized on the matter of shame. She does research in search of an answer on how to break the chain of shame. Her results are a cure for the darkness hidden within every shameful experience. Her cure states: “ talking about it”. Her research showed her that shame hates to be put in to words and that if once one talks about it, it will die a quick death. According to Brene Brown are shame and secrets connected like we are with oxygen. So whenever you feel shame you need to cut its oxygen by talking about it. After having read her book and research, suddenly everything made sense why shame killed more souls then the cold war. It all fell at its place. We have used shame as a restriction in the upbringing of our children and we made sure that they understood that whenever experiencing this hells feeling they did not talk about it. So shame grew bigger than personalities, relations, feelings and self-respect. Because of that we got lost in the web of lies, darkness, self-pity, punishment, hatred, decreasing self-worth, guilt and failure. We nurtured the root of negativity by telling our children to hide their face so that the ghost would not see them. We forgot that the fear would not die by doing so. What we had to teach our children was the courage to accept the fear and face this ghost by putting on the lights and having a look under the bed. Once we would have done that we would understand that the ghost only existed in our head.

So like Brene Brown advocates, have the courage to face imperfections and to accept shame and fear as if it is a part of you and suddenly the dark night will shine in the light of the moon.

Inspired by the book of Brene Brown: “ The Courage of Imperfection”
By Sodaba Abibzay

3 thoughts on “Shame has a Secret..

  1. Beautiful post Sodaba. Even though I’m not from the same culture as you are, I have also undergone the same. In Indian culture, shame is also an integral part of our upbringing. We are brought up with the “great responsibility of saving our parents from shame” just as you are. Have you, just like me, also realized that half the things that are thought to bring shame to us, are just based on perspective? Not to mention the guilt trips and emotional blackmail that comes with it? When you evaluate the cause of the so-called shame, it is sometimes only applicable to those who abide by its ghostly rules. I agree that addressing it and talking about it will help, but I also would like to see our culture evolve to more acceptance and freedom. We must not bring up our children in fear of shame in the first place, I feel. Furthermore, I admire you and your posts. My grandparents were also refugees, having to flee from SIndh, Pakistan, to India during the partition, only because they were Hindus. I don’t even know what Sindh looks like and I don’t know if I ever will, considering the unfavourable circumstances over there. Being brought up all the way in South-America, I’ve had my share of culture shock, difference in perspectives and shame issues. I hope I can blog like you someday, as id really like to create awareness about my roots, culture and community too. Regards, Raksha


    1. Dear Raksha,

      I know exactly how the indian culture works. I have lived in India and I have a lots of friends from the indian community. I speak hindi as well and i get really inspired by several Indian movies. Some of them also bring up lots of shame aspects. A few movies I really loved are Baabul, Taare Zameen phar, 3 Idiots, Laage chunariya me daag and many more. But in all these movies the Shame aspects comes along. Its good that the indian community has bollywood to refresh the view of the viewers. I would love to read your blogs. So if you are planning to write i will suggest you just start writing. There is no right time, right topic or right place to begin. You just need to have a certain message and the writing will come with your own believe. Hope to hear more from you and you’re journey towards change.
      Regards, Sodaba


      1. Dear Sodaba,

        Lovely to hear that you speak Hindi and watch Hindi movies as well. I haven’t lived in India after I left at the age of 2. I do visit off n on. I’m curious to know how you felt about living there. As for Hindi movies, have you watched Daawat-e-ishq yet? It’s relatively new, but I found it quite empowering to women and funny at the same time, with a very good moral. I on the other hand, love reading about Afghanistan and the Middle East, esp. Khaled Hosseini’s books. While reading these books, I discovered that my language, Sindhi, has quite a few words in common with Dari and Farsi. My grandfather always told my father about the many Afghan and Persian traders who came to Sindh in the olden days. I guess I got intrigued about them by hearing these stories from my father. You write very well and I hope you achieve all that you desire by writing. Thank you so much for inspiring me to write as well. I’ll make it happen soon and will send you the link for sure 🙂




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