The Key to Getting Rid of Shame
"We cannot grow when we are in shame, and we can’t use shame
to change ourselves
- Brene Brown
We will all struggle with shame at some point in our lives. It's inevitable. As long as we are imperfect beings, we will act in ways that let ourselves and others down.
So many of us spend our days trying to avoid the shame, regret, and pain of the things we've done or wished we would've done differently. I believe that's a reason why so many of us turn to social media, television, and other forms of entertainment as an escape. It's a form of self-medication. Until we get down to the source of our issues, we'll never be able to experience true joy instead of attaching "happiness" to circumstances or people.
The first step starts with talking about shame because shame is one of the major components that keep us from expressing our true selves.
You want to know the tricky thing about shame?
Shame tells us that no one has ever gone through what we’ve gone through. No one has ever done what we've done. It also tells us that if anyone ever knew about “that thing” then we would lose love or respect. It essentially convinces us that our value is tied to an action or outcome while also telling us that we are not worthy of forgiveness or a better life.
The truth is that’s a lie. There’s freedom in speaking up no matter how difficult it is. In fact, I believe that the best way to combat shame is talking about those deep, dark secrets. There's nothing you're going through that someone else hasn't gone through already. Speaking up has given birth to the #MeToo Movement and other movements pushing for social justice! While our society has frowned upon vulnerability, empathy, and healthy emotional expression, we need to remember that those are all elements needed for healing.
So how else are we supposed to move past shame?
Find an authentic and life-giving community. And no, I don't mean "authentic" in the trendy sense where everyone dresses up, gets together for iced lattes at some local coffee spot, and takes lots of photos for social media. I'm talking about a community that's there for the nitty-gritty stuff. There's a lot more that we all need to unpack than the surface level issues. We need to be part of a community where we can talk about our insecurities, our struggles to follow our intuitions, and find our voices. Those inspiring individuals will be the very ones who teach you more about yourself and take you to the next level of growth.