Welcome back to Transformational Tuesdays! I’m so happy to be here.
As always, the topics I choose for my weekly videos and blogs come from things that I’m thinking about in my everyday life. And recently, my puppy, Ms. Piper, had to have a little bit of surgery. It wasn’t too serious, but she had stitches on her belly, so of course they made her wear the cone.
Every time I look at her, she’s got this look on her face — completely pitiful — in that cone. I call it the “cone of shame.”
So that got me thinking about shame a lot, and how it impacts ourselves and how we show up in the world as leaders.
What is shame, really?
As some of you may know, Brené Brown does a lot of work around shame. She says that shame and vulnerability (particularly shame) is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging. It’s the most primitive human emotion we all feel, and the one no one wants to talk about. This is absolutely true!
So what happens when we don’t want to talk about the things that cause us to feel shame?
Those things stay in our being. They show up in the way that we’re showing up in the world. They show up in our leadership and in our lives.
Consequences of shame
It’s interesting that when we peel back those layers of shame, they’re usually embedded in something that happened to us a long, long time ago and we’re still dragging them along. Carrying them with us.
We can certainly have a loving compassion and understanding, and work through those things.
But what if instead of a cone of shame, we directed that into a cone of acceptance and self-love? All the parts of us?
Because we have the light parts of ourselves, and we also have the dark parts of ourselves. When we learn to connect with them and understand that both are a part of us, then we can love all of those pieces, regardless.
That’s when we can start to shed some of the same.
If we don’t, the consequence is that we continue to hide those parts from others. There’s no room for us to have an exchange about it. The shame solidifies and becomes more concrete.
Not to mention, we’re using all this energy to protect or hide that part of ourselves that we don’t want to show the world.
What if we loved that part of ourselves, and gave permission to others to love those “shameful” parts of themselves, too?
Are those stories even true?
Shame is usually just the story that we tell about something that happened.
Most likely, there’s not even a truth of that in the actual events!
But our story of shame is what keeps us stuck feeling like we’re unworthy of love and belonging.
Sometimes, the experiences that caused us to have shame happened in our childhood, and we originally processed them with a child’s perspective. Now, we have the ability to choose as an adult how we want to look at ourselves.
Evaluate for yourself — are the stories you tell yourself around your shame even true? How can you reframe those experiences?
Start dispelling your stories around shame
Think about your own life, and where you’re hiding from parts of yourself that you think are undesirable.
How could you wrap that in love and acceptance instead?
What new things could be brought forth in your life by just allowing?
See the pieces that are still festering, or those that you’re still holding onto. And if you could take away any criticism or shame around them, and instead embrace them with love and acceptance and a hug, how could that change your perspective?
Have you ever considered your vulnerability an advantage?
10 SURPRISING BENEFITS OF CONNECTING TO YOUR VULNERABILITY