“The over use of the term “shaming” has stretched a once-useful word into near meaninglessness.” –  Mark Peters, Slate

Shaming will NEVER work as a long term solution to ANY problem.

What seems to be disappearing rapidly in our society, is an ability to hear legitimate constructive criticism, and the unwillingness to accept that we might be incorrect in our perception or thinking of an issue.

In my arena, this typically comes up, when trying to navigate this particularly thorny topic of “fat-shaming” and it’s cousin the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement.

These movements have noble aims, and are having a largely positive impact on the overall discussion about how to tackle the obesity crisis that is driving our medical system to overwhelm.  But, unfortunately, as with many movements these days, there are some who feel that these movements are immune to criticism, or discussion of possible shortcomings of the movement, that weren’t anticipated when they started out.

“I have zero tolerance for _____” (what finishes the sentence is largely irrelevant, “zero tolerance” is typically accompanied by a sense of moral superiority and self-righteousness driving “outrage”).

If there’s one thing that seems to turn people off even more than holding a repugnant opinion …

It’s Hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy often rears its head in the form of Projection. What is projection? It’s when someone accuses another of a crime in an attempt to assuage their own guilt of a particular behavior.

Some of the most intolerant people I’ve ever met are those who scream “tolerance” while wielding a sledgehammer against those who dare disagree with their particular worldview, completely void of compassion.

If we’re going to talk about compassion, let’s clear something up. Compassion is NOT saying a certain behavior is acceptable. Compassion is saying a certain behavior is understandable.

Understandable and acceptable are NOT the same thing.

Compassion views the behaviour as the SYMPTOM, not the root cause. When we apply critical thinking to an issue with a desire to understand, we actually open the door to uncovering potential solutions.

Shame culture is destructive, because it sorely lacks compassion. It does not involve any desire to understand, nor bring about dialogue.