What’s the difference between a strong advocate against abortion and another against Judge Brett Kavanaugh? We’ll find out today on this episode of LET’S BE CIVIL.

Hey, everyone…welcome to show. I’m your host Steve Ambrose – and you can reach out to me by emailing [email protected].

A big thanks for many of you, who have subscribed to LETS BE CIVIL on iTunes and most podcast apps.

We try to keep the episodes short and meaningful for YOU and YOUR day.

I want to start off by talking about our values and beliefs.

Our values are important because they help us to grow and develop. They help us to create the future we want to experience.

And in this day and age, where people want to be recognized and appreciated for who they are, and the value they bring…it is lessened when engagement doesn’t include an emphasis on inclusion and civility.

Just to add…I do want to address diversity.

Yes, there have been terrific and much-needed efforts in this country toward improving diversity. Efforts that on so many levels should be recognized and appreciated.

However, and this is a very important point…diversity IS NOT inclusion. You can have diversity and not inclusion, and vice versa.   

Diversity is just, it’s logical, and its proven to bring out the best in people and organizations. But there is something that goes beyond race, color, religion, sex, and other legally protected classes…and that’s the quality of our engagement and communication.

And That…brings us to today’s topic….SHAMING.

Just last night, Congressman Ted Cruz was out to dinner with his wife in Washington D.C., and a cabal of determined protestors came into the restaurant Fiola – near the Capitol. They surrounded his table and began screaming at and heckling him.

It seems that Cruz and his wife Heidi have been friends with Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his wife for more than 20 years.

Listen………….this behavior. This shaming is just wrong. It’s just wrong.

It’s the same thing as anti-abortion activists trespassing into clinics with picket signs. It’s the same as restaurants that choose to put up signs saying they will not serve police officers as customers.

Shaming is an awful tactic when engaging people. Normally it comes from those who cannot control their emotions and communicate with more respect. And using respect, especially with those you disagree with, paints you in a much, much better light.

Dr. Brenee Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”

The reason that shame works so well is that we’re wired to connect to and to seek acceptance from others…and shame effectively withdraws that acceptance and connection.

There are many different ways we shame others: Sarcasm, name-calling, expressing disgust, and eye-rolling are all ways we communicate that someone else is not worthy of our respect. It happens at home, work, in our community, and online.

Now everyone might slip now and then…and we shouldn’t try to expect perfection. But if we KNOW that we should and could be doing better…then we have to ask ourselves WHY.

Perhaps it’s because we don’t really know the difference we’re making. For example, when it comes to shaming…here are some ear-opening stats. Just remember these things, which are linked to someone who’s been shamed, the next time YOU shame someone…or watch someone being shamed…perhaps just from a little difference of opinion or view.

And remember..shaming can be, and is done…in-person, online, over the phone, in text messages, and indirectly through others.

  1. Shame leads to poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, PTSD, as well as suicide ideation
  2. Shame leads to physiological responses linked to hypertension and increased cortisol hormones
  3. Shame makes one feel worthless and powerless…having a sense of being small
  4. Shame increases anger and lashing out…in psychological and physical ways
  5. Shame increases engagement in drinking, drug abuse, and reckless driving

There are so many other ways to engage people and to even let them know of your difference of view or opinion…or disapproval of their actions or behavior…without shaming.

It’s always important to remember that people may forget what you say or do…but they will never forget the way you made them feel. For better or for worse.

I want to end with a story and perhaps a thought to inspire you.

Just today, I was speaking to a former CHRO for several different (and well-known) health systems. And I asked him about some of the best individual tactics that he’s used to improve the organizational culture in the workplace. And we’re not talking about a company with 12 employees – we’re talking about tens of thousands of employees…across an enterprise level.

The #1 tactic he said was to improve communication. And he supported this by a thought that I had not truly considered.

He said, “most life experiences that people have – positive or negative, involve some type of communication. And the quality of that communication has a definite impact on the quality of the experience.”

And it really got me thinking…for just how much our everyday individual engagements matter to the quality of our lives.

In just the United States, we’re talking about approximately 250 million adults. That translates into BILLIONS of engagements and conversations every single day….both face-to-face and digitally.

Just think about this.

If only 5%, or 1 out of every 20 of those engagements could be improved…even made just a bit more healthy, positive or productive…what difference could it make?

At 5%…just in the United States, we’re talking about at least 50 MILLION engagements per day…where there would be less blaming, shaming, anger, hate, name-calling, guilt, yelling and threats.  Not full elimination…but less of it.

If you let yourself, you’ll begin to see the vision where one individual…in just ONE conversation…can make a difference. That positive difference could be To them…to their families, their co-workers, their church members, their relatives, their neighbors, and perhaps to those they don’t know…but whom they engage with online.

Have YOU ever been inspired by someone’s words online? I have and though the smiles aren’t right in front of your eyes…and you may not be able to high five or hug them physicially….it still feels good to be cared about, listened to, and better understood.

Now what about THOSE PEOPLE who now feel better in so many ways…taking a better level of communication and engagement to others THEY know?

This is why we started WTR. This is the reason I and so many other are now wearing the reminder band. It reminds us, it brings accountability, it becomes a teaching moment for others…and it goes wherever we do.

The difference in the quality of just ONE daily communication or engagement. Remember it…and try to live it personally.

Now go take on YOUR day.