As I’m making my bed on Sunday morning, waiting for my hair to dry after my shower — the tv is on and Oprah is interviewing some lady I don’t recognize. It’s Super Soul Sunday and all of a sudden i hear them talking about me.
LOL, no, not by name — but the Dr Lady is talking about the 3 things that have shaped alot of my life — the three words I hate to hear, but to which I can relate, ALOT. My 3 secret friends……. Shame, Guilt and Perfectionism. Oh My!
Yes — we’re going there!!
The Dr. Lady’s name, I learned later, is Dr, Brene Brown and she has spent a decade of her life studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame. WOW! I went to school and studied Finance, which amounts to formulas and stocks and bonds……this lady dedicated her life to……people’s lives! And how to live a more fulfilled one. No offense Business School, but I think SHE loves her day job more than i LOVE mine. Just sayin’.
You KNOW going into this that this is going to be ALL about your/my Inner Voice. And what you are saying to yourself. This is why my ears perked up on Sunday, because I’ve been working on fixing my Defective Inner Voice for over a year now. So — any new info is very appreciated!!
The first revealing moment came when she described the difference between guilt and shame. Firstly she said — we all have them, and they are very normal. I’d never really differentiated between guilt and shame, but it turns out they are V.E.R.Y. different. And one is lethal!
Yea — it’s the ShAMe! Shame is lethal, Shame is deadly.
Dr. Brown defines Shame as “the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.”
GULP — that sounds awful. And familiar. Familiarly awful.
So when she differentiated between Guilt and Shame, she described Guilt as being a feeling that often follows some behavior of which we are not proud. So guilt is about guilt is about behaviors — Guilt is about what I did.
But Shame. Ohhh. Shame is different. Shame goes deeper. Shame is about who you think are. AHHHH.
So here’s how it goes.
So, let’s say I ate too much on Saturday. Let’s say I didn’t track, I just went off plan and ate everything convenient with little thought of its health value; Awareness was , ah…LOW.
If your Inner Voice was wearing it’s GUILT hat — this is what it might say. “I made a mistake. I made bad choices. I wasn’t thinking straight. I lost control, and it was not a good idea.” Behavior focussed. It’s about what I did! Oh, it might make me feel bad. Surely. BUT! BUT! I might just deserve the guilt talk my Inner Voice is giving me. It JUST might snap me out of it and set me straight. It MIGHT help me make a better decision on Sunday. And Monday, and onward. GUILT can be productive. In the right doses.
How would that conversation in your heal be different if it were your SHAM hat you were wearing. This is what it might say — “I am a Fat Pig. I am a Loser. I Can’t do this. I’m a Failure. Everytime I try this, I fail. What is wrong with me. I’m……(you fill in the blank – you know that horrible, terrible unspeakable thing….that you would NEVER dare to say to anyone else……but you say it to yourself. You KNOW you do.“)
Shame — is about Who You Think You Are. Shame forms your identity. The one YOU see. The distorted one in the mirror, looking back at you.
So now is when we stop for a minute and evaluate. How much of what you say in your head is Guilt…….and how much is SHAME???
If you answered a significant proportion to SHAME — listen up. Your Self Talk has to change!! SHAME is lethal. It shatters your soul every day of your life. It chips away at the value of the life you are living. And it doesn’t matter what size dress you wear….if you live in SHAME…..you can be a size 2 and your life will feel E.X.A..C.T.L.Y. the same as it feels today at size 16. THIS has nothing to do with your weight. THIS is your perspective of yourself that you have allowed to form…and your weight was simply your convenient reason….to allow it to happen. For someone else….maybe it was their acne. Or their height. Or their perceived lack of smarts. Everyone can find a reason.
So now…you have to find a reason to stop. How about …… Love. Love of yourself!
Dr. Brown gave us some advice on how to stop the cycle. And it’s really easy. Gotta love that. So here’s the prescription against SHAME.
She says Shame grows exponentially with 3 things:
1) secrecy, 2) silence and 3)judgement
And the antidote to shame…..is Empathy. Empathy creates a hostile environment for shame.
You need to start talking about your shame. If you talk about it with a friend, and you get empathy from that friend — shame dies. Shame depends on YOU buying in on the belief that YOU ARE ALONE! WOW!
The last thing she said, which soothed me even more — was about Perfectionism. <Diane <—– Guilty, Party of One!>
She described perfectionism as a way of thinking — if i look perfect, act perfect, appear perfect……I can avoid shame ad blame. Because perfectionists carry the ultimate fear that the world will see them for WHO they are, and they wont measure up. Um, FEAR OF SUCCESS anyone?? Yea, perfectionists achieve less than they are able, because they are busy hiding from the fear of being SEEN! HOLY ….MOLY.
Perfectionism is a shield that prevents you from being SEEN — it’s inauthentic. Perfectionism is about trying to live beyond judgement, without judgement, rather than learning how to live without judging yourself.
I don’t know about you….but I’m exhausted! Exhausted from the truth! But it makes so much sense.
My first release of some of my Shame — was when i told my WW group that my starting weight was 277.2. Two things happened. #1 — a friends in the room said to me — Hey, That was my starting weight too. Whew — I felt 10 pounds lighter in that single moment. And #2 — it got easier and easier to say every time I said it. Now, I throw my weight around like it doesn’t matter. Well….because it DOESN’T MATTER! It’s data. It does NOT define me. My weight (while important…and I want it to go down)…..does not define Diane. Not anymore. The light of day, KILLED that shame. DOA!
My next confession to my FB WW friends was — that I snack like a beast as soon as my husband Peter leaves the house. I just go crazy. You know what happened? My friends started telling me their shame. And we all felt more normal. And now…..when Peter leaves the house and I’m home alone with the snack cabinet whispering at me…… I go to my FB friends….and they help me through it. My next shame….is on life support…..and I’m slowly pulling the plug.
Share your Shame! The empathy you will receive from those who care about you…..will KILL YOUR SHAME!
God — thank you for Super Soul Sunday —- and my accidental discovery. My Soul has been fed for the week+.
Ciao for now…..Diane