I’m a big fan of Brené Brown because she’s willing to research topics that no one wants to talk about, like shame. One of my favorite books of hers is Daring Greatly.
In it, Brown says that shame needs three things to grow: silence, secrecy and judgment.
We all have shame, those places inside where we feel bad about ourselves, unworthy, embarrassed, ashamed.
I used to have a lot of shame around my body. I learned from reading Daring Greatly that this – our bodies – is the #1 shame trigger for ALL women!
When I was a binge eater, I was embarrassed both by my body but also by my behavior.
There were many lonely evenings when I’d buy a pound of peanut M&Ms or a packet of Oreo cookies and inhale the entire bag in an hour. I was ashamed that I had no control, that I'd consumed so much food like a vacuum.
Years after I overcame my eating disorder, I met my spiritual teacher, Ma Jaya. She was a wonderful storyteller and I especially enjoyed the stories about her early life, living in Brooklyn, married to a tough Italian man.
Back then, Ma was also overweight and (like many women) was perpetually on a diet. One night, she was enjoying her dinner when her husband made a wise crack, “eat a little more.”
After that, she stopped eating in front of him.
Instead, she’d hide a loaf of Italian bread in the bathroom. When dinner was over, she’d bring the salad bowl with all the leftover oil and vinegar with her into the bathroom and soak the bread in it, scarfing down the entire loaf.
Listening to her, I could relate. She was me. I never wanted anyone to see me binge eat. I always did that alone.
But she was also NOT me.
Even though she wanted to be thinner, she always raved about how gorgeous she was back then – voluptuous, sexy. She had no shame. She simply loved herself skinny and fat.
What about you?
Is there a part of you that you disown? An aspect of who you are that makes you feel ashamed?
I know people who are embarrassed because of their sexual orientation, because they don’t feel smart or intelligent, because they can’t stay sober, because they have dyslexia, OCD or ADHD.
Instead of ignoring that part of you, or pushing it away, can you pour love and light into it?
We do this by accepting it, by loving it, embracing it and opening up about it. When we share how we feel flawed, broken, or imperfect with someone we really trust, it helps heal us.
Empathy destroys shame.
How would that feel?
When I read Brené Brown’s book, it set me free. Why? Because I realized that the places where I judge myself or feel shame are so often the same ones that we all do.
Once I saw that these “flaws” weren’t really specific to me, it seemed silly to hold on to them anymore.
After all, we are spirit beings having a human experience. And I’m resolved to make this the best one ever – and that means loving ALL of me!