After an embarrassing resignation of Anthony Weiner from his congressional seat in 2011, Weiner became on ongoing punchline to many late-night jokes. When announcing that he would be running for mayor of New York, he had to know that his journey would be a difficult one. There is no reason to feel sorry for Weiner, or the decisions that he has made, yet if you look at this from a different perspective, the running joke is not that funny.
It is impossible to know the true intentions and level of credibility of any politician. However, to only pay attention to Weiner’s credibility would be losing track of an important lesson. The important lesson in this campaign is how do you move past shame? We all make mistakes. Some of these mistakes we feel ashamed of. But shame is not something that you can hide from. Anthony Weiner wants to be a politician. This is a clear goal of his. Whether or not you would vote for Anthony Weiner in his campaign to become mayor, looking at this campaign trail as an interesting lesson on overcoming shame, rather than a bad joke that just won’t go away, can help you learn about yourself.
Look at situations in your life where you felt ashamed of your actions. It is easy to hide from the public, and those who will ask you about the mistakes that you have made. Therefore, even if you do not like Anthony Weiner for his politics, and even though we do not know whether or not his campaign-style video featuring Huma Abedin is genuine, it is undeniable that this is a gutsy move. Weiner is not new to politics, so he had to have known that his campaign trail would be a challenging one.
Not everyone gets a second chance. I work with many people who have dealt with problems with addiction. Shame and addiction often go hand-in-hand. I am not saying that Anthony Weiner is an addict, nor do I have any proof that he is, but I do know that he put himself in a shameful situation. Imagine if I told clients who were doctors, nurses, and even political figures to give up on their dreams because they had made a mistake. The truth is that part of their recovery is taking full responsibility for their actions, and redefining their lives. Growing and moving forward is admirable, not funny. Therefore, when I hear the next punchline about Weiner’s campaign, I won’t be laughing. Instead, I’ll be giving him the opportunity to earn back trust from others, and reach his goals, whether it be in a political office or not.