At least every day or so I have some incredibly painful or embarrassing memory come to mind that causes me to actually wince in pain. Just now, for example, I remembered the stand-up I did for a bridal shower in 2002. [ow ow ow ow ow]
It went so poorly that — okay, I can’t. Let’s just say I wasn’t funny and move on.
But as I was wincing at its memory just now, I thought I’d try an experiment. What if it had been worse? Could I imagine something WORSE happening, and maybe that would help diminish my feelings of regret and guilt and shame?
So I imagined grabbing somebody’s baby and biting its neck and drinking its blood.
…..nope. The shame remained the same.
From this we can either conclude that a) not being funny is equivalent to eating a live baby, or b) my feeling of shame is a binary quantity, either on or off, rather than tiered through many levels of increasing or decreasing amounts.
But at least I feel shame. Not like this guy.