“Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.” -Brene Brown.
We struggle, as human beings, to define shame and more importantly to understand it. Most people believe shame is something completely different than it really is. Basically, shame keeps us stuck. Shame leaves us believing that we suck at life and that no one cares about us. I don’t know about you, but I feel this all the time.
Man, life is discouraging sometimes. Right? I know I feel like I fail constantly and just can’t seem to catch a break. And that little voice inside my head is always right there telling me I’m never going to amount to anything. That is shame.
Shame is the number one thing keeping us from believing we are capable of more. We believe that negative voice inside our head and we stay stuck. We never try new things. Then we do the same things over and over expecting a different result, wondering why life is so mundane and repetitive. All because we listen to the voice that tells us, “you can’t do it.” In other words, we all go a little more insane each day with self doubt every time we believe what shame is telling us. We are unable to break free of our own self-imposed limitations.
So how do we move through shame and into freedom? We have to be authentic. We stop pretending to be something we’re not. Belonging is at the core of shame. If I feel like I don’t belong, I won’t ever succeed. And if I believe I’m a fraud, I’ll never feel like I belong anywhere.
I meet new people constantly. And like many of us out there, I want to be liked. Each time I meet new people I really only have two options, pretend to be just like the person I meet so they will like me, be a chameleon, or I can be authentic and real. If I choose the authenticity route, they like me because they like ME, who I am, not some pretend version of myself. If I choose to fake it and try to be the chameleon, they like me because I have changed who I am. They don’t even know the real me. And, most importantly, I think they liked me because I changed to be like them.
No matter what, when you choose to be a chameleon, even if people like you, your inner monologue is always, “If they knew who I really was, they wouldn’t really like me.” That, is shame… That voice that tells you, “your not enough.” It screams, “be someone else!” It whispers, “you’ll never be liked.” When we listen to shame we become shells of our true selves and we miss out on the wonderful relationships waiting to be explored and enjoyed. We miss out on feeling joy and experiencing true success!
The challenge we all have is to be true to who we are. Authenticity, is where it’s at folks. When we are authentic and honest we find love and belonging, and shame just withers away. We can do it people. Be real! Be you! It’s great. People will flock to you when you be you. Your authentic self pulls in people close. That’s when the magic happens. That’s when you feel truly loved, for who you really are.
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