Brene’ Brown made me do it. She made me think. And that simply will not do.
Ms. Brown told me that interpersonal connection is the reason we are all on the planet. The idea made my insides explode. She told me that I can make my connections more intimate by allowing myself to be vulnerable. That’s a very scary concept, al least for me, to let someone else really, truly see me. And Brene’ Brown knows why. She told me that the reason vulnerability is scary for me is that I feel shame.
That was the other shoe.
Shame, according to Ms. Brown, is the feeling, deep down inside, that I am wrong — not that I did wrong, that’s guilt. Yes, yes, yes my insides screamed. That’s exactly how I feel. In certain ways, as I look in the mirror, I know that I. Am. Wrong. And if you knew that I was wrong, you wouldn’t like me, let alone love me. So, I don’t allow you to really, truly see me.
But I want intimate connections with other human beings. I want to be revealed. I want you to see me, in the hopes that you will love me, all of me, every bit of me. The me that nobody sees.
So, to sum up, I want intimate interpersonal connections, and in order to deepen intimacy I must allow myself to be vulnerable, but my shame keeps me from sharing the real, true me in fear of your reaction. (In truth, my shame tells me that the bit I am shameful of inside of me makes me unloveable. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with some imagined reaction by you.) What a conundrum.
This cycle of shame causes me to suffer.
I. Am. Done. Suffering.
Thankfully, Brene’ Brown has a solution. When we share empathy with someone who feels shame, when we show them they are not alone, when we let them know that we see them and that they are ok, then shame is released. All I have to do to help someone suffering from shame is to say, “Me too.” Or, “I see you.”
Sometimes I feel shame.
I see you.
And you are loved.