Oof, shame. The feeling that comes out of the deep-seated belief that at our core we are unworthy of love or respect.
I have always struggled with shame. It seems bound up with so much of how I think about myself, and I’m sure has contributed to the intense anxiety and depressive episodes that have defined some of my adult life. I really have found insight, comfort, and meaning in Brené Brown’s words, and every so often I remind myself to embrace vulnerability in all my relationships — relationship to self included.
If you are not one of the over 10 million people who have seen this video, then I highly recommend watching this now.
Part of ridding ourselves of shame is learning to identify the reasons or roots for our beliefs that have lead to us embracing shame, even to identifying the events or people that instilled these beliefs in us. Only by looking at the roots can we find the rightly-targeted, compassionate truths to speak to ourselves in order to look at the wider picture that shows us how we came to be the way we are today, who this person really is, and thus to come to accept the reality that what we do doesn’t define the entirety of our value and worth.
This is not easy. This website helpfully lays out a set of steps for overcoming shame: https://liveboldandbloom.com/06/self-confidence/8-strategies-for-overcoming-shame
Of course, overcoming shame is, in some ways, just step one. We don't want our lives to be simply a shucking of our destructive mental habits. We want to put on a better way to live, to replace our destructive mental habits with healthy ones. Lest we leave off without some guidance from the “Diane still has olfactory questions for” Dr. Brené Brown, here are her “10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living”: https://www.habitsforwellbeing.com/10-guideposts-for-wholehearted-living-by-dr-brene-brown/
Hopefully, in putting on a more gracious perspective about ourselves and in embracing Brown’s suggestions for wholehearted living, we will be able to live happier, more realistic lives and be able to extend grace and wholeheartedness to all those we encounter.
How beautiful would it be, as we reject shame, to become safe places for all those who are vulnerable and suffering under the weight of shame? That motivates me to continue on my wholeheartedness journey. It also makes me deeply grateful for those wholehearted people in my life who give me space to be imperfect, sometimes hurtful, and always a work-in-progress. (Diane, I’m looking at you!)
Much love to all of you struggling with shame. May you find those who remind you often that you are worthy of love and connection.