Talking about fear and shame is HARD. I’m currently reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (why it took me until now to read it, I don’t know), and since her work is all about shame and fear, I’ve done a lot of thinking about it lately. One of the key things she stresses is talking about our shame and how it’s the only way we can properly deal with it. The only problem with that is that talking about it is probably the last thing you want to do. I also got a clearer understanding of what shame is: Brown says that shame is thinking “I am bad” and guilt is thinking “I did something bad.” I didn’t really know the difference before and this book simplified it. So as I was reading this book and thinking about this whole ‘talking about it’ thing – Brown says that opening up about shame, strips shame of its power over you – I realized that the ingredient for ‘talking about it’ is…drumroll please…. COURAGE! Duh!
This made me super happy because my life coaching process is set up to help folks change their mindsets, develop courage, and eventually open possibilities for break throughs where ‘talking about it’ and recognizing the shame they have is easier. I’ve mentioned this a bit before but for me, it’s been a lot to do with fearing to fail which stems from my shameful perception of myself as ‘not being good enough.’ Through my own process of producing courageous and loving thought patterns, I’ve been able to open up about the shame I feel and get really honest with myself and others. Like even writing this right now is SO BIG for me – I never would have dreamed about admitting to anyone how I perceived myself, let alone share it online. And I see a change in the little things too. When I look in the mirror, I no longer grimace and think unhealthy things, now I think ‘Ya my thighs touch (I don’t have one of those weirdo trending thigh gaps that girls everywhere are trying to distort their bodies into having) and I LIKE IT.’ I look at myself and think ‘Wow Britt, you look strong and healthy.’ I’m also trying this other thing where when I see someone who in the past I would have compared myself to, I think “She is beautiful! I am so happy for her and am inspired by her confidence” and then I even try to catch that person’s eye and exchange a smile. Do you know how good it feels to exchange a friendly look with another human and acknowledge each others’ beauty in the world!? Try it, you’ll love it.
If you’ve got shame coming out of your ears and holding you back from trying new things, connecting with others, and being your full, true self, TALK ABOUT IT. Tell your friend, tell your mom, tell your dog for all I care…just say it out loud and strip that shame of all it’s nasty power.
And hey if you’re feeling bold right now, share your shame with all of us in the comment section below. We all have shame! Let’s recognize the humanness in one another and lift each other up instead of competing.
Thanks for reading, for being you, and for being the worthy, beauty that you are.