I love the writings of Brene Brown. She's a brilliant, vulnerable leader whose research has taken the world by storm, specifically in the area of shame research.
Shame is almost a dirty word in the minds of most of us. Not acknowledging it or dealing with it is like ingesting a toxic cancerous substance and expecting to feel healthy. Or; it's like eating a thick layer of Nutella on warm, crusty bread and expecting to be thin. - Kind of ridiculous when you consider it from this perspective isn't it?
Shame destroys us from within. It weighs us down and limits our growth.
In the book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene reminds us that we need to "claim shame". If we don't.. it claims us! One of the way that shame lives, is through perfectionism. In her book, Brene reminds us that perfectionism is NOT the same as striving to be your best or self-improvement. These are healthy goals.
Brene Brown says:
“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”
Trying to be perfect causes us to pick up huge weights of shame, judgement and blame, whether directed towards others or worse yet, our own selves. This is like gaining an extra 20 lbs and trying to feel comfortable. It just doesn't work. It's time to let go of the weight ot shame. It makes us feel horrible and if left unattended, multiplies itself into more weight and this nasty downward spiral that takes us further away from being who we are meant to be!
Each January, it seems like all of North America puts a focus on healthy living and weight loss. What if we could learn to face shame head on, just like we face poor eating and exercise habits?
Are you up for the challenge?
Let's get rigourous about becoming resilient to the affects of shame. Let's lose the weight that it creates, find new healthy ways to resist it's impact and truly start to walk in freedom.
Here's some tips to get you started:
Get real and claim your shame. Find a trusted friend and acknowledge where you are facing shame. Get out of the dark and into the light. Just telling someone is a catalyst to moving forward.
Find Support. There's a reason that organizations like Weight Watchers are so successful. We can't overcome shame in isolation. Find support through trusted friends, a coach, a counsellor. Read Brene's books - better yet with a friend that you can process the learning with.
Set realistic goals. Weight loss is one day, one week at a time, with periods of no movement. Keep the end goal in mind of who you are becoming. Start with small, measurable goals like: When I feel perfectionism creep in, I'm going to tell myself this truth. "I'm perfectly imperfect and perfectly loved as I am. I am enough."
Find New Food for your Soul. Start ingesting goodness. Remind yourself of who you really are and what makes you tick. Get tapped into who God has made you to be and celebrate it! Access a great coach or take some online tests like this. Knowing who you are gives you courage to let go of your own expectations to be perfect or to be like someone else.
Challenge and Exercise Your Mind. Build your mental muscles by rehearsing the truth. Practice what you are learning. Decide to renew your mind daily through prayer, meditation and speaking truth to yourself. Learn ways to become resilient to the voice of shame through reading, courses etc. To read more from Brene Brown on perfectionism, check out her article called: Perfectionism and Claiming Shame.
Be Kind to You. When a friends or co-workers mess up, most of us give them the gift of grace and understanding. Each time shame tells you that "you" are a failure... be kind to you and tell yourself what you would tell your best friend.
Let's start losing weight in some new areas this year that will bring lasting joy and peace!