Archive for the ‘shame’ Tag


In general, I suggest to people that they never use the word “you” except to say something positive like “I love you,” or “You did such a great job on that project.” But there is another way that “you” becomes a positive word, as in “I’m so interested to hear your opinion about that,” or “Please tell me what interesting experiences you’ve had around that issue.”

But I still advise caution with that word “you.” Too often it’s a shaming word, as in “Why did you fall for that scam,” or “You should have known better.”

Worse yet, it’s a blaming word, as in “I lost because you gave me bad advice,” “Everything would have worked out OK if you hadn’t interfered.”

Sometimes it’s a blaming word even when it’s meant to be inspirational. I heard recently of a lecture session in which the speaker recounted the historically bad ways in which an ethnic group had been treated. At the end he suggested to the audience something like “You have a chance now to go out and rectify this situation.”  Many were heard as they left saying something like, “Why should I be blamed for something I didn’t do?” It’s that word “you.” All by itself it’s heard as an accusation.

Maybe the most annoying use of the word “you” is when it’s intrusive. I’d be willing to bet each of us has experienced the negative effects of this, and done our share of “you” intrusiveness in speaking to others. It happens most often, I think, when people are trying to be helpful. The person in financial, emotional, or other difficulty is bombarded by friends and other helpers attacking with, “Have you tried … ?” Why don’t you …” “You should …” “If you’d only … “Had you thought of … ?” Put them all together they amount to shame and blame. The victim of the unsolicited help is usually too polite to say, “Come off it. Do you think I’m stupid? Of course I’ve tried everything I could think of. Get off my back.”

The promise of “you” is a matter of respect. When I ask to learn more about you and what you did or do, it may come through as intrusive. Or, well presented with genuine interest, it may be experienced as a neat opportunity to share oneself with someone who cares.

Now I’ve told you what you ought to know about the word “you.” Are you sufficiently annoyed yet?



Posted April 1, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?   7 comments

I Chose to change to this blogging service because I found it easier to comment on other people’s blogs who were using WordPress, but I’m not hearing from anyone, so I think I’m just blowing into the wind. Am I right? Is there something I can do to rectify it?

What I’m being is vulnerable, I guess. Which brings me to a great presentation of authenticity, shame, and vulnerability. Well, really about lots more. It’s thanks to Pastor Beth Warpmaeker who posted it on Facebook. I know I’m “not normal” as one complimentary friend said, so maybe I’m just weird to think it’s great. To me, though, it taps into so much about forgiveness. When I tried to explain to myself why it seems that folks can forgive terrible crimes, but the little things cause long term resentment, I arrived eventually at shame. That one is called stupid, or has one’s boyfriend stolen, or finds one’s children ignored, for example, suggests a deficit in oneself. Murder, on the other hand, is clearly the fault of the perpetrator. Shame doesn’t get in the way of deciding whether to forgive.

So now, I’ll be vulnerable and try to attach the link here. If you do choose to watch it, be prepared to spend some time. It’s not a quickie.

Posted April 16, 2012 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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