DAY 18: DISSECTING SHAME

"I’m not in the least bit ashamed," Abbott said. "I stood up and I finished that program and I’m proud of my effort and I’m proud of what I did under the circumstance."

-Jeremy Abbott

Shame! What a doozy.  This beast has crippled me more than I would like to admit.  Even saying the word gives me the heebie jeebies.  I was expressing this feeling to my Aunt Kathy over Christmas and wouldn’t you know, she had a solution.  She, like me, or rather, me like her, likes to dissect these problems and find a very workable solution.  I present you her take on shame.  But first, she cites the work of Brené Brown and her book “Daring Greatly” as the backbone of this post.  This is an incredibly powerful book and I recommend it to everyone.  Let’s dig in, thanks Aunt Kathy: 

Brené says, “If we want to live and love with our whole hearts and if we want to engage with the world from a place of worthiness, we have to talk about the things that get in the way…especially shame, fear, and vulnerability

….”Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging…  If we all have shame, the good news is that we are all capable of developing shame resilience… Shame resilience is the ability to recognize shame, to move through it constructively while maintaining worthiness and authenticity, and to ultimately develop more courage, compassion, and connection as a result of our experience. The first thing we need to understand about shame resilience is that the less we talk about shame, the more we have it.”

THE QUICK AND DIRTY TASK: Shame Resilience

"Shame needs 3 things to grow out of control in our lives: secrecy, silence and judgment. Shame happens between people…. and it heals between people. Shame loses power when it is spoken. In this way, we need to cultivate our story… to let go of shame, and we need to develop shame resilience in order to cultivate our story.”

The What, The How, The Why

Research found that people with high levels of shame resilience share these 4 elements:

1. They understand shame and recognize what messages and expectations trigger shame. They know their own personal shame triggers.

2. They practice critical awareness by reality-checking the messages and expectations that tell us that being imperfect means inadequate.

3. They reach out and share their stories with people they trust.

4. The speak shame - they use the word shame, they talk about how they are feeling and they ask for what they need.

So, the 4 elements of shame resilience are Name it, Talk about it, Own your own story, Tell your story.

Story is worthiness and embracing the imperfections that bring us courage, compassion, and connection.  SHAME IS A FULL CONTACT EMOTION.  The easiest way to know shame is to cultivate an awareness of our physical shame symptoms.  I truly believe that unless you do shame work…walk through the eye of the storm with a witness, you will never be whole.  Live life wholeheartedly or you will be forever displeased and judgmental of yourself and everyone.  

Daring to be who you are and sharing your story is the bravest act one can do.  I continue the work daily to achieve greater shame resilience and help anyone else along the way because that gives me greater personal connection.  Shame work will result in the leveling off and stabilization of your internal energy… and this is life changing.

Bryce here.  WOW!  Sounds like a lil ol’ fashion self-love to me.  Don’t you love it?!?! It’s another tool and this one zeroes in on that mother of them all, SHAME!  Ok.  Do what Aunt Kathy said!  Shame, you can no longer hide.  We are coming for you.