A Candid Conversation About Shame and Vulnerability
Thursday, January 03, 2019
After a YouTube bender of Brené Brown videos, I realized that I, like most of us, really struggle with holding in shame. I think it's one thing to feel embarrassed or to feel guilty, but shame is not the acknowledgment that you made a mistake, but it is a declaration that you are a mistake.
Brown talks about shame prospering in the dark. We keep a lot of it to ourselves. It's hard to talk about the shame I felt at being overweight growing up, how I felt and still often feel unworthy of love because of how much I weigh. I know deep down I'm a good person, but the shame of appearance made me wonder if perhaps, something deep down was innately wrong with me.
Which, when I write it, it sounds ridiculous. However, I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about!
I feel ashamed of having feelings, so I cover up that shame with food. If people first judge me by my appearance, perhaps they'll never be able to deconstruct who I am inside.
Brené Brown said that the only way to deal with shame is to share it, so here I am.
I have so many times when I don't fit into clothes, and I just feel so ashamed, like by me just not being in a good place to take care of my body, that makes me disgusting or something. And, you know, it doesn't. Being ashamed is ridiculous. I want to feel healthy and well, but shame is never going to mobilize me to action. Because I deal with shame by covering it up- with secret self-doubt, with extra weight and food.
I'm not going to let shame weigh me down anymore, though. I think what really helps shame is being vulnerable enough to open yourself up and talk about what makes you ashamed. Often, when we talk about it with the right kind of person, we realize it was only so bad in our heads.