“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” -Brene Brown
What is shame?
According to Google shame is, “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. According to Brene Brown, a research professor at the University Of Houston Graduate College Of Social Work,
“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging. Women often experience shame when they are entangled in a web of layered, conflicting and competing social-community expectations.”
Brown explains that feelings of shame can quietly marinate over a lifetime. “Here’s the bottom line with shame,” she says. “The less you talk about it, the more you got it. Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment.”
By keeping quiet, Brown says your shame will grow exponentially. “It will creep into every corner and crevice of your life,” she says.
The antidote, Brown says, is empathy. She explains that by talking about your shame with a friend who expresses empathy, the painful feeling cannot survive. “Shame depends on me buying into the belief that I’m alone. Shame cannot survive being spoken. It cannot survive empathy.”
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
Brene has many books and videos one can watch to learn how to beat this pervasive monster. Brene shows us how we can stop a shame spiral with these tips:
Know your shame triggers and reality check them
Talk to yourself like you talk to someone you love
Reach out to someone you trust
Tell your story
You can find some very helpful tips on shame and how to conquer and coexist with it here:
If you’ve been following our blog posts you’ll have noticed that this month is focus on self-love. As we’ve discussed in the previous posts, self-love is quite ambiguous and there are a lot of different facets to dive into to truly master the art of it.
This week we will be focusing on how to improve your self-love through self-acceptance.
“: the act or state of accepting oneself : the act or state of understanding and recognizing one’s own abilities and limitations.
//In each moment you’re either practicing self-acceptance—or you’re judging yourself.— Linda Arnold”
Moving toward self-acceptance
The first steps towards greater self-acceptance are:
1-Recognize your faults, your strengths, your likes, your dislikes, and everything else that makes you, you.
2-Completely accept all parts of you without qualification, conditions, stipulations, or exceptions.
3-Let go of others expectations of you and take back your power by not caring what other people think.
STeps 1 & 2
The first two steps may be harder than they appear. They mean to embrace your rock star traits and qualities… but also to accept the less than stellar parts– the parts we like to keep secret, hidden away. The first two steps of recognition and acceptance must occur in order to get to the third step. You cannot let go of others’ opinions of you unless you are comfortable and accepting of yourself first.
To begin working on the first two steps you must stop downplaying your great qualities. Acknowledge them to yourself. Be confident and proud of who you are. Being confident and proud are very different from being conceited and vain. You are proud of the accomplishments, good traits, and are able to recognize the amazing qualities of others. Why wouldn’t you do the same for yourself? Own who you are. Take pride in being you!
While it is a lot easier to accept the good, you cannot be fully self-accepting unless you embrace the bad as well. Is it hard? You betcha. You may be asking yourself, “Isn’t that counterintuitive though? Shouldn’t I reject the things I don’t like about myself in order to change them?”
While it may seem counterintuitive, most people don’t realize that it is the only way to begin self-improvement and growth. You cannot heal, change, or grow unless you are in a state of love and understanding. Healing does not happen in a place of judgement or ridicule. You must move from rejection and resistance to understanding and peace. Make peace with your short temper, your ugly feet, your procrastination, or whatever your faults and shortcomings may be, and you will find the freedom and an increased ability to be at peace with them or overcome them.
Once you are accepting and understanding of all sides of yourself you will stop looking to outside sources to feel loved, worthy, or validated because you will find it all from within. You will love yourself and know you innately are worthy and deserve to be loved. It will become easy to let go of the opinions of others because their opinion will not change who you are or your worth.
This means, you do not have to do things to please other people, you can let go of others expectations of you, and you can be you to your fullest, without reservation or apology. Do you have a dream of being a rodeo star? Or to sing on broadway? Don’t be embarrassed of these dreams. Someone else is doing them, why can’t you?
Just because other people do not share the same dream or understand its importance does not mean it is silly and an unworthy goal. As long as it is important to you, it is important and you should own it no matter how odd or quirky it may seem to someone else. Do what makes you happy. Your happiness is the only one you are in control of.
Working on self-acceptance is an individual process, but sometimes we have deep-rooted beliefs or issues that oppose our commendable efforts. This ultimately can keep us back, no matter how much we try. This is typically where most of us give up because it seems impossible to move past.
It can be a little uncomfortable at first, but reaching out to a trained professional such as a therapist or counselor can help you get out of your own head and move past whatever is keeping you from fully and truly accepting yourself. You are worth the effort, time, and money and deserve to live an exuberant life.