Home Finding Your Life PartnerThe Power of Giving & Receiving The Art of Receiving: When Shame Interferes

The Art of Receiving: When Shame Interferes

How far can you let in good feelings?

written by John Amodeo, PhD, MFT July 24, 2020
The Art of Receiving: When Shame Interferes

Have you ever considered how skilled you are in the art of receiving? As I explored in my previous article, it’s difficult for most of us to receive in a deep and gracious way. I’ve observed that one reason this is so difficult is the pervasive sense of shame we carry, which is instilled by our social environment.

A powerful incubator of shame is based on social norms that we’ve internalized, which happens without our full awareness and which keeps us disconnected from each other. Western society has been governed by the principle that if we’re not independent — that if we need anyone for anything — it’s a shameful sign of weakness.

Men have been especially trained to be the “rugged individual” who can go it alone — believing that there’s something shameful or pathetic about needing anyone or having human vulnerability. This belief becomes especially damaging when it infects our political beliefs — reinforcing the view that everyone’s on their own and should lift themselves up by their own bootstraps. Yet, the science of attachment theory — and common sense — tells us that we need each other to flourish.

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