on shame…

Shame is, "I am bad." Guilt is, "I did something bad."

Brené Brown

I am ashamed of myself. Near as I can tell, I have always been ashamed of myself. I also feel guilt. But, mostly, I feel shame.

I'm not a good enough. I'm too fat. I'm too lazy. I'm too dumb. I'm too mentally ill. That's the Cliff Notes version of my internal monologue.

Brené Brown gave me a mirror when she compared shame and guilt. In her second TED Talk, Listening to Shame, she said:

Guilt: "I'm sorry. I made a mistake."

Shame: "I'm sorry. I am a mistake."

I am a mistake. That's exactly how I feel, even when my medication is working. And, what's worse, is that shame has some pretty negative correlations:

Shame is highly, highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders.

I'm guilty of all of those except, thankfully, suicide. But, what do I do about it? How can I feel differently? How can I remove shame from my life?

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