Monday I posted a poem that was born from a week of doubting myself countless times. I returned from a week of rest and relaxation to a week where I questioned my abilities, sanctioned creative ideas, and quarantined my enthusiasm, shoving those ideas and that energy into a file and stamping it “Why would anyone listen to you?” or “Who do you think you are to do that?”
Yuck. Yuck. Yucky-yucksville.
And then I came across the newest Brene Brown TED talk about shame. Brene describes shame as a gremlin following you around as you try to carve your way through life, telling you ‘you are not good/smart/pretty/strong…enough to do this’. Had someone asked me about shame before hearing this I might not have answered “Yes”, but this week I shamed myself. As I got excited about possibilities and began working toward goals, I could feel myself getting tired, anxious, and distracted. I could hear all sorts of “not….enough” talk.
Brene Brown says in her talk that empathy is the antidote to shame. When I heard it the first time I heard it in relation to understanding shame and using to “finding our way back to each other” but the more I reflected on her empathy antidote statement, I thought about its importance in our relationship with ourselves. I think it is so much harder to have empathy with ourselves, especially as we are housing and feeding a gremlin like shame. We would never shame a friend right? So why do we do this to ourselves? We are our own worst critic. We keep ourselves small. A friend recently asked me “What do you do when it all begins to unravel? How do you deal with it?” After hearing Brene’s talk, I think I will try to add empathy to my cocktail of breathing and stepping away (perferrably outdoors). I will try to respond to myself as I would a friend – with love and empathy.
Here is Brene’s talk. And if you missed her talk on Vulernability (to which she refers in this talk, do check it out as well.