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This post is going to be rife with profanity. Probably not the kind you’re thinking–okay maybe some of that too–but also the kind we need to actually address.

I read a post last week by Sophieologie and in it the author offered solid information while using “curse” words for emphasis. As I went through the comments, it quickly derailed to discussing how the author used profanity instead of the concise information she provided.

How people can be offended by the words shit and fuck but have no problem spewing other detractive language is beyond me.

If people really want to take a stand against foul language, let’s mount a crusade against words that really harm our collective. Words that dig deep and leave major scars.

Remember the children’s song, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?” This is utter crap, an out and out lie. Whether we know someone well or not, we seem to have an instinctual knowing of exactly which word or words to speak to cause the most pain.

And we seem to fling them with abandon.

In talking with close friends and clients for the last several years there are a few visceral emotions that spring up in every conversation. Emotions that have lingered due to the damage inflicted by the overuse of certain words. Words designed to create those said reactions.

The most common is public enemy #1 on my list.

Shame. As in “shame on you.”

I hate that word.


It offends me more than any curse word, probably even more than the four-letter C word (and I really dislike that one).

Dictionary.com defines shame as “a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of having done something dishonorable, unworthy, degrading, etc.”

I’m bothered by this word for two reasons. One, it’s usually delivered from someone who is judging behavior and/or actions based on their definition of right/wrong. Or two, it’s used as a means of exerting control over someone.

For example, in the movie The Notebook, the two main characters were kept apart because the rich girl’s family didn’t like the young man’s lower status. They judged Noah to be less than desirable based on their definition, and consequently used shame to exert control over who Allie dated.

Then the Universe Chimes In

I love synchronicity.

As I was pulling this together I read another post on MindBodyGreen by Brynn Andre. She writes, “Before and after photos are kind of bullshit. Before and after photos are used as a tool to shame people.”

She not only brings attention to another way in which shame is used, but she also threw in curse word for emphasis.

{Thank you Universe for another example for me to include.}

I challenge you the next time you hear the word to really listen how it’s being used.

Its negative effects far outweigh any real need for using the word. Shame prevents people from moving forward and healing from past mistakes. It’s a deep hook that keeps people down. There are far better ways (and words) in which to teach our children the definition of our morality.

Who are we to determine someone’s worth and honor? Everyone is worthy to rise above their mistakes, to live fully and joyfully.

But oh….throw an f-bomb or two and people fill up the comments with phrases like, “Shame on you for using so much foul language.”

“I liked your post but you didn’t have to use so many curse words.”

If we’re going to burn books and rile against authors who use curse words (why do you read them anyway if the language offends you?) then let’s also grab the black marker and cross-out all the other words that defile our modern language.

I’m okay starting with SHAME.

Here’s to your potty mouth!

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P.S. What words would you add to the public enemy list?