“Shame resilience is key to embracing our vulnerability. We can’t let ourselves be seen if we’re terrified by what people might think. Often ‘not being good at vulnerability’ means that we’re damn good at shame. ‘We all have shame. We all have good and bad, dark and light, inside of us. But if we don’t come to terms with our shame, our struggles, we start believing that there’s something wrong with us – that we’re bad, flawed, not good enough – and even worse, we start acting on those beliefs. If we want to be fully engaged, to be connected, we have to be vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to develop resilience to shame.”
– Brene Brown
February 11th, 2016 I drove home with good intentions and the want to get my work done. A great weekend spent with friends left me a hefty workload ahead of me. I had Mon-Thurs to complete two weeks worth of homework that I had been putting off with feelings of inadequacy flowing through my veins. This feeling of “not good enough” has had me captive for a long time it’s rooted in shame, and the belief that I am not capable. I don’t add anything onto the end of that sentence because I feel it everywhere. Most of the accomplishes in my life seem to feel like “I got lucky”, “I scraped by”, and those feelings turned into “I don’t deserve this.”. The undeserving feelings, foster shame. Margaret Paul describes that “The feeling of shame comes from the belief that, “I am basically flawed, inadequate, wrong, bad, unimportant, undeserving or not good enough.”. These terms have been flying through my mind for the last three weeks and these thoughts put me in a place of darkness. To numb the pain of shame and vulnerability I focused on other things, Pinterest, Facebook, and things that were not productive. I left that two weeks of homework till late Wednesday afternoon, to late to save myself and so far into my procrastination that I freaked out. Truth is, this is something that I do to myself OFTEN.
Why did this Happen?
I believe this journey made this break down different. I could feel the problem, the shame, guilt, inadequacies, and undeserving thoughts crack. I lost it. It took me several days of darkness for those I love to say “Stop, you are worthy, you have a great life, a great family, people that love you, people who believe you can do this, you have to believe in yourself.”. It clicked, it isn’t my professors, my loved ones, my peers, or anyone else who believed that I couldn’t do it, it was me. After a few rounds of defeat I lost hope in myself, and the quality of my work. This didn’t just pause last Wednesday. Last Thursday I handed in an assignment sure “it wouldn’t be good enough.” in fact I had anxiety within me for the last four days dreading it’s return. When my professor didn’t email me I wasn’t relieved, I panicked. I questioned if she received the assignment, or had a chance to look at it yet. Imagine my surprise when she handed it back to me saying “this is good to go, well done.”. Instead being astonished by her remarks I reflected on my anxiety, it wasn’t the quality of my work that was the problem it’s my feeling of inadequacy.
This blog isn’t designed as a place for me to air my sad thoughts but to bring light to the darkness and emerge from this rubble. This is place where I can air my thoughts, sort them out, and create an action plan for something better. The reason I have it public is because I know how bad you can feel even when everything around you looks so good to others. Some people don’t get it, I am here to tell you I get it. This is my life and here is how I chose to discover ways to free myself from the self destructing path that I came from. I want to inspire others to start their own journey, and to use my experiences, findings, and tips to help free themselves from these things that I too struggle with. Brene Brown, is a researcher on shame, recently I have discovered her work through Pinterest, and Ted Talks. After looking into her teachings and reading some of her book “The Gift of Imperfections” I was able to acknowledge and recognize that what I have been feeling is shame. Instead of sharing my feelings and being vulnerable I have numbed myself to this anxiety of vulnerability and hiding it through eating, procrastination, shopping, and social media. Yes my feelings of shame foster this vulnerability but, it’s my turn to make a change. I am at a point in my life where if I don’t make a change, I will lose almost everything I love.
Brene Brown describes what happens when people feel shame.
Most of us rely on one or more of these strategies to deal with shame:
- We move away by withdrawing, hiding, silencing ourselves and secret-keeping.
- This is huge for me. This is my main strategy….
- We move toward by appeasing and pleasing.
- We move against by using shame and aggression to fight shame and aggression.
What will I do to make a change?
Studying the work of Brene Brown I have come up with a new action plan that will serve me better than the goals I have laid out before. Being resilient and spiritual will allow me to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability allowing me to find joy, and freedom from shame.
Joyful = Practised Gratitude
Brene Brown describes that women with high levels of shame resilience share these four things.
- Recognize shame and their triggers
- Practice critical awareness
- Reach out and share their stories
- Speak shame
Three suggestions to help us follow their lead.
- Talk to yourself like you talk to someone you love.
- Reach out to someone you trust.
- Tell your story. “Shame cannot survive being spoken,” Brown says.
“The antidote? Empathy. [Shame] cannot survive being spoken and being met with empathy,” Brown says.
Gratitude Journal – Pick One Everyday
- Write about things I am grateful for.
- Write a Thank You note to somebody.
- Show appreciation for someone in my life.
Exercise – Once I am finished school I will choose one everyday.
- I will get active every chance I get by:
- Ride Horse
- Bike Ride
- Workout Video
- Weight Circuit
- Go for a walk
Talk to myself like someone I love.
- Be kind to myself everyday.
- Believe in myself and know that I can do the things I set my mind to.
- Nourish my mind and body with good thoughts and healthy food.
Share my stories, passions, and inspiration.
- Blog at least once a week.
Walking away with desire for a better tomorrow.