Buzz Off, Shame
Let’s talk shame. Shame is often the last thing you want to think about. Let alone read about. But here is the deal, we all avoid it. That is normal. Most of the time, I approve of this avoidance strategy. Why not all the time? Because this strategy does not help when it rushes over us like a truck in the face and a spider in your throat when we are about to do something that requires courage.
Shame has two voices, or gremlins as Brené Brown so graciously puts it:
Gremlin 1. “Who do you think you are?”
Gremlin 2. “You are not [insert attribute] enough.”
Now, just because I am a therapist does not make me immune. I will give you an example from my own personal journey. Recently, I was interviewed on the podcast by @seventreemedia about my entrepreneurship journey. Before sitting for the interview, these gremlins crept up:
Gremlin 1: Who do you think you are? … You are no entrepreneurial star.
Gremlin 2: You are not successful enough. Your business is not exciting enough to fit with the others.
You can probably relate. None of us are immune. It breeds from the messages, the people, the social culture, the haters, the naysayers, and your upbringing etc. They will never choose you because you are not enough. The shame kick to the gut.
I want you to know that you are not alone. (ironically – that last words of my podcast). We all feel shame. It is what makes us human. Those who pretend they don’t, spend their lives running from it. And I guarantee that it will catch up.
Let’s not run.
Let’s be brave.
Let’s learn a formula.
1. Expect them (i.e. the gremlins) – ah, there you are, I knew you would show up (like clockwork)
2. Talk it – reach out to someone you trust in your corner or a professional and talk about it. Shame shrinks with empathy. I know I mentioned this in most of my blogs, but it can be incredibly tough and necessary.
3. Permission Slips – Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Write it on a sticky note.
4. Own it – we all have it.
5. As used by Kevin Hart, American stand-up comedian, actor, and producer (happens to be a favorite comedian of mine), listen to your Fuck ‘Em Dress song. This is your march song, the one that is a reminder that YOU ARE THE SHIT.
6. Write, draw, sing about it. Then talk about it more.
There is no perfect way of doing any of these and it does not have to be in that order. You get it right if you try. Unfortunately, it will not make shame go away, but it can make it smaller. More importantly, it is a way for you to own your story and build shame resilience. I know you will rock it.