Brené Brown’s talk at the Houston Up Experience about shame research hit me hard: I thought I was the only one who worried about not being good enough. Turns out it’s near universal (except, believe it or not, for psychopaths). Nevertheless the last thing I would want to publicly talk about is my fear of inadequacy and shame at not being good enough (oops I just did).
Brown goes beyond that saying, the root of shame is the fear of loss of connection and belonging (this is my take of her presentation – you may want to check her work out yourself). That we seek to achieve and even overachieve to be worthy of being connected and belonging. And that any, ANY kind of result we think is failure or not absolute perfection puts us at risk. Worse, it gives us the excuse to not even try.
Ow, ow, ow, OW – nailed.
Oh… and what to do about it… well, research shows the people who are aware of the universality of shame and how it works deal with it just fine. In fact (I am NOT making this up), guilt works much better than shame because guilt is about something we did, that can be atoned for, while shame is about a conversation of being bad which can never be corrected through action.
I can’t stop thinking about this… could you look in the mirror, look at a picture or video of yourself, and appreciate rather than flinch at what you see? My mother was a cutie in her youth but in her older years hated, HATed pictures to be taken of her. I thought I inherited that of her. Brené says, not so – it’s a human thing…