Shame & Disappointment

Friday June 29, 2018

One of the blue Distress cards is titled "Ashamed". I've had my moments but I generally don't score too badly with this emotion on the Moodscope test. Why is that? Because I suspect I'm just as fallible as you. My past may have been easier than yours or it may have been worse, either way, I don't "do" shame.

Or rather, I'm not prone to it. There are a couple of points:

Shame is different from Guilt. Shame is about hiding. It's a bit like Guilt in that respect. You want to get out of the spotlight, or any light, and get away from anyone looking at you. At this point shame shares something called "experiential avoidance" with so many of our negative emotions and drivers of pain. Experiential avoidance is truly a Big Subject but the basic point is simple: if it hurts then it's "natural" to try to avoid it. #LotsOfWaysToAvoidIt #DrinkTooMuch

Back to Shame. Given that I don't do Shame, and given that I'm human... what do I "do"?

Disappointment is arguably the healthier side of Shame. When I've acted in a way which falls way short of my ideal I don't feel shame I feel disappointed in myself. Funnily enough one of the advantages of my type of social anxiety is that you don't have a group of others who might shun you. (Or at least you're spared the thought that they might.) #BillyNoMates

Shame, no; Disappointment, yes.

I offer this alternative way of thinking for those who do the Moodscope test on a regular basis and who may notice that you're not prone to some of the emotions. If you were taking it as one-off, or as part of research, then absolutely one should follow the instructions precisely. But if you do the test daily you get very familiar with it. Any outcome measure, including the PANAS on which the Moodscope test is based, is not perfect. (It has no card for "Jealousy" for instance and personally I'm massively prone to this emotion so must work hard to handle it — but the PANAS omitted it.) However, I think an argument can be made that if you are very familiar with the test, and regularly translate, for example Ashamed -> Disappointment, then you'll have useful *personal* data.

Does anyone else make these personal interpretations of the Moodscope cards?

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