Tomaž Flajs: Shame – Between Intimacy and Society
The feeling of shame involves both our most intimate experiences and our embeddedness in society. It implies the presence of the Other who shames us in some way or another. It is thus an explicitly social emotion, an experience one has primarily in contact with other people and internalised as contemplation on our own unsuitability (“There’s something wrong with me.”). What’s more, it markedly affects our sense of belonging and connectedness with other people. The need to belong and share a connection is a basic human need. That is why deriding someone can be a very efficient mechanism of social control. If we succeed in shattering this taboo and talk about it compassionately, shame starts losing its power.