Read ‘I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) – Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy and Power’ by Brene Brown and recognise an uncomfortable home truth!
She describes how the search for the unattainable goal of perfectionism exhausts and weighs us down. We buy into the message that to be ‘imperfect’ is synonymous with being ‘inadequate’. The implication that we are not good enough, unlovable even, encourages a shame reaction. We become defensive, wary, and fearful of being found out. Unfavourable comparisons with others who seem to get it ‘right’ leave us insecure and vulnerable. We hide the shame – unable to face an imagined blame and critical judgement.
The shame sets us apart and alone. It denies us opportunities for receiving the empathy, connection and affirmation for which we long. So shame then limits, constrains and restricts our relationships. Guilt can drive an alteration in behaviour. Shame, however, becomes the secret that corrodes any sense of well-being. It attacks the confidence required for psychological growth and development.
Brene Brown writes with warmth and compassion and offers strategies for liberating the stranglehold of shame. The hope is that we can then begin to deal with the concomitant feelings of distress, anxiety and depression and embrace self-acceptance.
Follow the link to Brene Brown’s great talk on the power of vulnerability.