In one of the programs that I have taken since my incarceration at 14 years old there was an experience shared that I would like to now share with you. It was a group discussion about why we did what we did to bring us to that room at that time. The age old question that so often is on the tips of tongues and yet less often actually gets asked with even more rarely an honest answer given. Why are you here? A surface answer is usually given when given at all. I killed someone. I robbed someone. I stole something from someone. However, the deeper truth, or question rather, is why did you do what you did to get where you are? So in this group, we were discussing feelings, (I know, men discussing feelings, right!) we were putting names to the feelings that typically get covered up with a curse word or gritted teeth. Among those words was “Shame” and a giant fellow prisoner stopped cold in his tracks and really started to grind his gears on this word and this feeling. He shared with me that in thinking about it, how many crimes get committed because of this feeling, because of trying to mask this feeling, because here it is, we feel shame for whatever reason, and then we react! We feel as if we should have this or that, we feel shame, and we deal drugs. We feel shame for being treated this way or that, maybe the clothes we have to wear or the car we drive, and when we’re approached about it we lash out. We lack confidence, is that because of shame? Consider for a moment if you have shame in your life. What can you do about it if so? Sometimes simple acceptance is all that’s required. Sometimes you need to take some action, positive self talks, learning patience, focusing on what you can improve about yourself. Many of us in that group decided that shame had played a rather large role in our circumstances. Don’t allow shame to push you towards making some of the same poor choices that we did.


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