Let’s talk about shame for a minute… does anyone else want to close this webpage and shut down your computer? Shame is intimidating and it can be a hard emotion to face. Shame for me is that awful, burning pain in the pit of my stomach; pure embarrassment, believing that I messed up worse than anyone ever has and because of it I’m not worthy of empathy or love, especially not from myself. Do you know what I mean? I know you do because everyone battles it, some people are just better at managing it.
My life coach suggested I read Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. It is the PERFECT book for where I’m at in my life right now; so good in fact that I cried when I read the preface. Seriously. I so completely related to where Brene was at when she wrote her preface that it overwhelmed me and I couldn’t hold back the joy and comfort of knowing that I am not alone.
Brene Brown defines shame as “the intense, painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” One step in Brene’s process of Shame Resilience is sharing your shame story. She wisely states that “hearing your shame story is a privilege and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?” If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strength and struggles, we are incredibly lucky.”
I used to share my shame stories with my best friend Kelly (Yes, we we’re so close we even shared the same name…) When she passed away in 2011 I was shattered. What I couldn’t understand for a long time was why I kept feeling worse, beyond the grief my confidence was completely shot. I knew I had lost my confidant but I didn’t understand that I had also lost the one person that I felt I could share my shame stories with, and as as a result of keeping everything in, shame ate away at my self-assurance until I was completely broken. Part of my journey has been rebuilding this, finding my own identity, and being vulnerable enough to start sharing my shame with new people.
So, I ask you to be vulnerable and to open up and share your shame stories with someone who is worthy of hearing them. I promise you that after you share, suddenly the shame monster doesn’t seem so scary.
Daily Affirmation: “I am always worthy of love.”