Unfortunately, it seems as though the season for those nasty colds, relentless shivers, and stubborn coughs is upon us. Whilst we have been busying ourselves with keeping our nasal passages clear, it appears many of us have unwittingly fallen victim to an equally harmful bug. The shaming bug. Often dormant within many of us until it unexpectedly rears its ugly head, it is rooted deep within the very fibre of British culture meaning that avoiding contamination is easier said than done.
Arguably a result of the social norm, a large proportion of the British population seem to have succumbed much more than the rest of the world, shaming our own success and slightly judging those who celebrate their own too much. Unlike our neighbours across the pond, displaying extreme levels of modesty is a pressure many Brits face. When we happen to come across some form of success, whether it be through personal strife and perseverance or even just through a little good fortune, self-rejoicing isn’t something British society encourages. If any self-proclamation does occur, we announce how lucky we are (even if luck had nothing to do with it) and turn our attention back to all that we have yet to achieve – mostly for the benefit of the egos around us.
However, in contrast to this notion, the social media frenzy that engulfs most of us, whether we are 100% invested in such platforms or not, constantly encourages us to display a contrasting demeanour. One that drives us to keep up with the Joneses, or at least appear to be keeping up. With such polar opposite expectations sitting side by side, it seems there is no right way for anyone to celebrate achievement without being categorised and judged. Thanks to this bizarre catch 22, individuals are now, more than ever, placing extreme pressure on themselves to constantly reach for more success, to tick more boxes and to discredit the accomplishments they already have in their back pockets.
It could be said that we are all guilty at some point of allowing the shaming bug to infiltrate our own sense of pride, and at times allow that twinge of judgment to seep in when we see those around us dare to publicly pat themselves on the back. With the trend of shame and judgment still weaved so heavily through the many forms of media that are habitually absorbed, it’s perhaps no wonder why many of us fall victim. Despite such obstacles, it seems that remedying the toxic habit many of us subconsciously harbour is possible. Beginning only when we make the conscious decision to disregard this odd social development and decide to be just little kinder to those around us, and more importantly, to ourselves.