It’s an awful word, and one that conjures up some really unpleasant feelings. Undoubtedly as soon as you hear the word you instantly get transported to a moment, or possibly moments, in time when you felt shame.
…and it’s simple to get rid of.
Shame is a disease
Shame is a horrible disease that has reached epidemic proportions across the world. It is something that everyone experiences at some point in their life (according to my friend Brene Brown, unless they are a sociopath!), and like some silent virus it’s hard to tell the people who are suffering with it.
One of the things that shame needs to survive is judgment…and judgment has become such a part of every day life that we don’t even notice it anymore. How often do you hear, think or say “I don’t think she should wear that”, “I don’t like this it makes my (Bum / Thighs / Tummy / Arms – Delete as appropriate) look big”, “Why did they do that?”, “Who do they think they are?”
We hear them all the time.
More importantly, we tend to judge ourselves more harshly than anyone.
So what does Shame have to do with Femininity?
Well, in addition to judgment, the other key things that shame need to survive are silence and secrecy. By keeping our shame to ourselves and not sharing it with others by staying quiet, we feed it and allow it to grow.
But the good news is that there is an antidote to shame.
The most powerful words to combat shame are quite simply “me too”.
Whenever we have a moment of intense shame, hearing from someone else that they know how we feel, they understand and that they’ve been there at some point too has the ability to instantly relieve the feelings that are consuming us.
…and what is the route to empathy?
There is only one way that we can show empathy…and that is to allow ourselves to share our vulnerability…to be raw, honest and truthful about our own experiences.
I can hear you now: “But Claire, you said it would be easy!! That’s not easy to do!”
I said it was simple…not easy…but when you have the courage to do something that seems hard at first you quickly realise; It’s actually far harder holding onto your shame in those silent, secret corners of your mind than sharing it with someone else and realising that they feel exactly the same way.
As we know from the definition of femininity, one of the key aspects is to be connected both to our own emotions and to the emotions of others. By having the courage to be vulnerable and to share our own shame-inducing experiences, we actually get to simultaneously destroy the shame in ourselves and others too.
As women we have expectations of ourselves that are so much higher than those we put on other people (if you’ve not yet seen last week’s video blog then I highly recommend checking it out now)…and when we fail to meet those expectations we experience shame.
By allowing ourselves to embrace our feminine in connecting into those feelings, sharing them with others, and connecting to their experience we have the ability to release this shame.
I spent this afternoon watching the fabulous’s Brene Brown latest talk “Listening to shame” and I encourage you to check it out here:
Overcoming shame can be scary…but you don’t have to do it alone
When I come to write a newsletter or blog post I often feel compelled to share on a particular topic because it keeps popping up in my world. This week is no different. I want to introduce you to my friend, Johanna Lyman because Johanna is finally coming out of the shame closet. 😉
She’s taken her own experiences around shame and the power of identifying being able to shift out of her own “Shame story” and is now helping other women to do the same. I thought the message that she is sharing is incredibly important so I felt compelled to share it with you here today. Here’s what she has to say:
I’ve recently made a powerful discovery. I figured out what is at the root of every single story I’ve ever told myself that has kept me from having a better relationship with my husband and growing my business the way I said I’ve always wanted to.
I’ve uncovered the powerful dynamic that kept me stuck in every area of my life, and have figured out how to finally break free of the emotional chains.
I feel completely different now that I’ve been able to shift out of my Shame Story. I feel different in my body, I relate to the people I love differently, and I even saw my business grow within hours of first making this powerful shift.
I know: it sounds too good to be true. But I promise you, it is true. And the trick is, that it’s about facing what you think is really, deeply wrong with you. This is no woo-woo, feel good, New Age mystical BS. This is about going eyeball to eyeball with your biggest fears. It’s about facing your “I’m not good enough” story and finally telling the truth. And I can promise you, it won’t feel good. It will feel GREAT to finally get out from under those awful stories!
The truth is that you ARE good enough. You are enough.
Right here, right now. You are perfect in your imperfections.
In fact, your imperfections are the cracks that let your unique light shine through. And the world needs your light.
If you would like to join Johanna for her free Decoding Shame call on Wednesday December 12th at noon PST then you can find out all the details here: http://tiny.cc/johannashame
Even better, the call will be recorded, so if you can’t make it live, you can catch up on it in when it’s convenient for you.
I know from seeing Johanna in action that she is what I call a “gardener of transformation”. She plants the seeds, provides the nourishment and nurturing that is required and then holds space for the transformation to burst through and blossom.
Her insight and wisdom are second to none and she has the most beautiful way of helping you to discover and honour your vulnerability in a way that is truly empowering.
She has such compassion and love for the people she works with that allows you to own and recognise elements of yourself that you previously wanted to deny or hide away from… and to turn them into your greatest strengths.
Whether you decide to sign up for the call or not, I highly encourage you to share your shame. Have the courage to step into the feminine power of emotionally connecting through vulnerability to release that shame for yourself and others.