Shame Triggers and Storms
Shame is the intensely painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging. -Brené Brown
A spreading warmth on your cheeks. Tears prickling in the corner of your eyes. The crushing chest pain of feeling unlovable. That’s shame. To recognize it, to anticipate it, to speak it- this is how we build resilience.
All of us experience shame. And shame is never going away. But if we can get familiar with how shame feels in and on our bodies, and know when we’re in it, that’s a great first step.
I know how shame feels in my body. It begins with a blow to the chest, then my stomach coils up. My shoulders shrug, my face turns down. There’s a weight on my back and a knot in my throat. It’s hard to speak without choking. The tears could fill a jar.
I know the messages shame whispers in my ear. It tells me to run and hide. To be silent. To disappear. It tells me I’m too much. It tells me I’m too little. It tells me I’m innately wrong, and because of this, I’ll never belong. Shame tells me no place is home.
Wow, just reading about shame evokes difficult feelings! It’s important to know shame, even if it makes us feel sick. Ignoring it, running from it, numbing it- these things don’t work with shame. This monster must be observed, full in the face.
While my resiliency journey still has me in the mire, I’m beginning to anticipate my shame storms. I am getting familiar with my triggers. The beast can be seen on the horizon. Although it can feel overwhelming to be so aware of shame and its effect in my life, I’m glad to be able to name the pain, and work to understand it. I am healing.
You can learn about shame, and how to become resilient to it on Brené Brown’s website.