Wonder if you are affected by it? Read on.
“Sex is such a big issue between me and my husband. Sometimes it’s great and other times I feel panicked about how much my body has changed in the past 10 years. I imagine him judging me. I’ll pick a fight or do anything to escape and get my clothes back on.”
“I’m 41 and just went back to school to get my degree. Half the time I don’t know what they’re talking about. I sit there feeling like a phony, like I’m not good enough to be there. I just want to grab my purse, slip away, and never go back.”
“I constantly feel judged as a mother, like nothing I do is right or good enough. The worst is when other mothers put you down. One disapproving look from another mother can cut me to the core.”
Can you relate? Have you ever felt like what any of these women have described? Then you know what it feels like to feel shame. Shame often gives us a visceral and physical response, and can be emotionally overwhelming.
We live in a society and culture that puts so much importance on being perfect and fitting in. It’s no wonder that if we don’t feel perfect or like we fit in, we feel shame.
Brene Brown, PhD, Social Worker, and shame researcher has spent more than a decade discovering what shame is, how it affects us, and how we can decrease its power.
Her definition of shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed, therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.
Shame forces us to put so much value on what other people think that we lose ourselves in the process of trying to meet everyone else’s expectations. And it’s not always someone else putting us down or judging us, the most painful experiences are often self-inflicted, that fearful voice inside our heads that asks, “who do you think you are?”
It’s the silent epidemic because no one wants to talk about it. Until now.
Dr. Brown’s book I Thought It Was Just Me (and it isn’t) Telling the Truth about Perfectionism, Inadequacy and Power focuses on shame resilience. We can’t become totally resistant to shame but we can develop resilience to recognize it, move through it, and grow from our experiences.
Her book explains shame in detail from her research with women. How it works, what feeds it, and what decreases it.
She focuses on the 4 elements shared by women who have demonstrated high levels of shame resilience. They are:
~ Recognizing shame and understanding our triggers
~ Practicing critical awareness
~ Reaching out
~ Speaking shame
She shows you specific ways to build shame resilience for yourself using the elements above.
I picked up this book because I saw the word perfectionism in the title. I myself am a recovering perfectionist. I tried for many years to be perfect. Whatever that meant! What I didn’t know was that what I was feeling was shame. I didn’t think shame applied to me. It does. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Wondering if this book might be helpful? Click here to go read an excerpt.
Many other resources can be found on Brene Brown’s website.
Just like anything, when we hide from it the problem doesn’t go away, it just festers inside of us. Bring it out into the light and healing can occur.
I’ve spent most of my life trying to feel okay about me, trying to fit in, molding myself to be and do who and what I thought others expected of me. It so did not work.
In the last several years I’ve decided to feel okay about myself for who I am, do what I want to do, AND not worry about what I think others expect.
Do I succeed all the time? No. But I’m perfect at it, because I keep trying. And that makes me totally good enough in my book. :)
Your Turn: Has shame affected you? Sharing helps us all. Leave a comment below, or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am grateful to be able to spend some time with you virtually today. Thank you.
As always, take from here what works for you, share with your friends if you think they might benefit, and the rest you can leave behind.
Seeds of Kindness Bloom and Bloom and Bloom…