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Hi there! We are continuing the challenge with a book study! Feel free to participate by linking up a post today - about Daring Greatly, another book, or any content of your choice.
This week, we read chapter three of Daring Greatly by Brené Brown: Understanding and Combating Shame. (Check out my first post on this book here.) While this is a book about embracing vulnerability, in order to be courageous and dare greatly, we have to know about shame and how to be resilient from it. Brené says, "We can't let ourselves be seen if we're terrified by what people might think." (p.41)
Brown defines shame as "the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging." (p. 69)
In her research, she found 12 shame categories. They include:
- Appearance and body image (biggest category for women)
- Money and work
- Mental and physical health
- Surviving trauma
- Being stereotyped or labeled
As a woman, I can relate to that top category very much so. When those negative thoughts creep in, I have to work really hard on the self-talk: You are enough. You are thin enough. You are a good person. Brown says that this is a form of shame - that it's thinking like this that hides in all corners of our lives. People might think that you have to have some kind of traumatic experience to feel shame, but that's not the case at all. Questioning yourself or hiding yourself in any of these areas (and probably more) are what she means by shame. Bad feelings that make you think you're not worthy of love or connection - that's shame.
Here's another quote to show more about what she means about shame, and how it plays out differently for each of the genders:
Shame is universal, but the messages and expectations that drive shame are organized by gender. These feminine and masculine norms are the foundation of shame triggers, and here's why: If women want to play by the rules, they need to be sweet, thin, and pretty, stay quiet, be perfect moms and wives, and not own their power. One move outside these expectations and BAM! The shame web closes in. Men, on the other hand, need to stop feeling, start earning, put everyone in their place, and clime their way to the top or die trying. Push open the lid of your box to grab a breath of air, or slide that curtain back a bit to see what's going on, and BAM! Shame cuts you down to size. (p.107)Unfortunately there's enough shame to go around for all of us. The anecdote to all of this: not hiding from shame. We need to find a friend to talk about the shame with, and have them just give empathy so we know we are not alone. Even just adressing the shameful thoughts on your own, and not playing along with them - that's shame resilience.
How does this play out for me, personally? Instead of thinking I need to lose weight, I tell myself to go for a run so I can feel healthy. I accept myself as I am and know that I am more that my outward appearance. If I get something wrong at work, if I stick my foot in my mouth, I don't tell myself I am not a worthy person, but instead, that I made a mistake. I fix it. I understand that my actions, my work, my outward appearance, they are all just parts of me, parts that I can continue to work on and improve.
I want to leave you with one last quote from this chapter that I really love:
"If we're going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light. To set down those lists of what we're supposed to be is brave. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly." (p.110)
Next week we'll be talking about Chapter 4, hope to see you back!