Not my closet, not my skeleton!

 

It wasn’t that long ago that a whole lot of digging around was needed to find out if someone important had any ‘skeletons in the closet’. Turn on the news today, and you are guaranteed to read a story about someone getting caught making a mistake. Not only that, it is likely the proof will be uploaded, the story will have gone viral, and a stream of comments, judgments, and defamation of character will quickly flood the internet. And if the incident really picks up speed, memes and mashups may follow as people join into the fame-feeding frenzy. Sometimes our self-importance seems to be attached to making a witty, engaging comment on the shame of others. But who are any of us to throw stones, especially when they are now able to skip across states and provinces, building ripples nation-wide and beyond our borders. One little fish can be thrown into the spotlight and swallowed up very quickly in our now-global pond.

This week, I watched “The Price of Shame“, a TedTalk by Monica Lewinsky. I remember watching the case in 1998 – which involved an incredibly public shaming of her character, including an inquiry which forced her to relive her dialog and actions during an unfortunate, but not unheard of, lapse in judgement – falling in love with her boss. It wasn’t the affair, but rather the public shaming afterwards that almost killed her. As she herself says, how many of us haven’t made a bad decision when we were 22?

These days, the problem is that any of our mistakes MAY be caught on “tape”, recorded and distributed in a heartbeat. Monica’s mistake happened long before social media exploded. Now there are many examples of people whose ill-timed errors got them humiliated, bullied, ostracized or fired. And without the support systems which Monica credits her life with, many people do not make it through the dark times of these ordeals alive.

{Insert scandal of the day here}

I was going to cite a recent scandal as evidence of this, and not surprisingly, there were many to choose from this week in Canada alone.  But the fact is, I don’t need or want to air anyone’s dirty laundry. I, for one, am going to leave some of those skeletons in the closet.

So the next time we see someone struggling or even making errors in judgement let’s ask; Have I walked in their shoes? What might that person be going through? What can I do to help?

I think it’s time to rephrase the old polish adage, “Not my circus, not my monkey”, which means “not my problem.” The current culture of shaming isn’t my problem, it belongs to ALL OF US. Let’s start spreading a culture of support by

  1. saying, “Not my closet, not my skeleton“, and
  2. reaching out to lift people up, rather than take a snapshot to publicize their lows

Photo Credit: Mr_Camera71 via Compfight cc

So, tell my what you think! Do you agree with the need to fight public shaming? Do you feel a sense of responsibility? How can we help change our culture of shaming?

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2 thoughts on “Not my closet, not my skeleton!

  1. I like the approach that you took while writing this blog. With the internet people love to remind/bring up issues of the past. Even in a way the facebook memories bring back our skeletons everyday. People who aren’t your friends anymore you are remind about the relationship that you once had. I made a lot of mistakes when I was young and those experiences have made me into the lady I am today. If those experiences were put on the internet and people were able to search them up I would be mortified!

    I think we need to teach children to focus on the good things on the intenet. To talk about that, and to share that with our friends. And when someone makes a mistake, or says something silly to let it be. Because people will forever talk about that one post, or tweet, or video, and not about all of the other things that person has done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do agree that we all need to take responsibility. Instead of going after the person who has been chosen to pick on, we have to write common sense comments. As educators, we need to prepare our children for responsible technology use.

    Like

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