In our Soul Reader book club we are exploring the wise words of Brene Brown in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection.
Over the last 3 years, we have explored many titles and this is the first one we are exploring again. If you haven’t read it, add it to the list of things you really want to experience to support a full and vibrant life.
For a long time, I have considered myself a bit of a slow learner when it comes to life lessons. Repeating the same thing over and over and not getting different results. Funny that. I reflect on my journey quite a bit. I look at the experiences, the pain, the hurt, the joy the difficulty, the frustration the confusion. Feels like there was a lot.
Many of the words in The Gifts resonated so loudly with me, so deeply I really felt like Brene had been chatting to me and had put all my stuff in to a book. How did she know?
Of the MANY moments of clarity and “Ahhh, I get it now” I experienced reading The Gifts, on this time around, here is what really kind of moved the ground from under me and landed me on my soft butt.
“If we want to live and love with our whole hearts, and if we want to engage with the world from a place of worthiness, we have to talk about the things that get in the way – especially shame, fear and vulnerability”.
Brene isn’t talking about talking about other people so much as talking about how we perceive ourselves. The inner critic talk we all speak to ourselves. Our feelings of not feeling good enough, not worthy enough, not belonging. Our big AND little fears.
Since I was young, I had this deep conflict with wanting to fit in and wanting to carve my own way.
I had A LOT of shame buried and it got in the way of connection, or being seen, of really loving and being able to receive love.
I didn’t feel like I was worthy of love given my broken-ness. My imperfection. My “yukky” stories.
So I pretended A LOT. I strived hard for perfection. If I could just control this area, get this right, get this under control, I am worthy. That little journey resulted in many, many years experiencing a significant eating disorder. Pain. Hurt. Numb. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable.
I spent a lot of time numb.
Too much pain to handle. So I shut off. The gates closed hard.
All the while, I never gave up on myself. I left a small opening to the possibility I could be ok. I could have a good life. I gotta thank Oprah for that one…but that is a whole other blog.
At some point, when the pain got too much, when the journey was too much to bare, I had to put my hand up and ask for help. It took me most of my life to admit, I couldn’t do life on my own. I couldn’t deal with my pain and self loathing, on my own.
In this book, Brene shares how Jungians see shame. They see shame as a swampland of the soul. Brene suggests that we need to wade THROUGH the swamp. That we need to see that if we stand on the shore of the swamp and catastophize and complain about what could happen if we talked about our fears is actually more painful than grabbing the hand of a trusted companion and crossing the swamp.
And so the journey to self love REALLY began when I found the courage to hold the hand of a trusted companion (which soon turned into a team of companions). I sat with my therapist and we waded out in to the swamp. I sat with my friends and we waded some more.
I didn’t set up camp there, (although I did have some considerable rest spots).
For many years I was looking for a swamp bypass. To somehow go around the pain.
Here is the thing I have found to be really true for me my friends, if you want a full, vibrant, deep, connected life….you gotta go through the shame swamp on your journey to worthiness.
It takes a RIDICULOUS amount of courage.
If you are standing on the shore looking at the swamp right now, I offer you my hand. I will walk with you.
Speak kindly to yourself.
Big, big love
PS…thank you so much to the team of swamp divers that have supported my journey and still support my journey. I love you and feel so blessed. You know who you are!