This blog post is Part 2 in a two-part blog series on Donald Trump and shame. If you missed the first post, you can find it here.)
This is a blog post for those of us who struggle with problematic guilt and shame. If you trend toward the narcissistic end of the spectrum, this blog post isn’t for you. It could be dangerous 🙂
I’ve been following the presidential campaign races more than usual this year. I think part of the reason for my interest is that the cast of characters is so entertaining. It might not be so great when someone actually becomes president, but for now, I’m enjoying the ride.
One of the things I have noticed about Donald Trump that makes him so compelling is he doesn’t seem to feel much shame. He has strong opinions, and he isn’t afraid to share them with whoever is willing to listen. He says things that most of us wouldn’t dare to say, because of the social consequences. But he doesn’t care. He is going to be himself no matter what, and if people don’t like him, he doesn’t bat an eyelash. It’s full steam ahead.
I think a certain amount of guilt and shame is probably necessary for us to function in our culture and society. But for some of us, our guilt and shame radar is overactive. Maybe we had parents who were very strict, or we had an intense experience with a rigid form of religion growing up. Whatever the reason, maybe we feel a great deal of guilt and shame about the normal mess-ups and mistakes that happen because we are imperfect people living in an imperfect world.
If this describes you, I have a quick and easy intervention for you to try. When you notice yourself starting to feel a high level of guilt and shame, stop and think ‘WWDD?’ What would Donald Do? (If this catches on, I’m going public with a line of bracelets.) Whatever you think Donald Trump would do, think, or feel about your situation, try to copy that reaction and move on with your day. Think about it: What’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like you are the president of the United States. If you have an overactive guilt or shame radar, it’s probably in your best interests to let go of the thing that’s troubling you and move on.
Discussion: Do you experience a high level of guilt and shame in your life? What do you think of the WWDD intervention?