So I got told once in a private message. SHAME on me. Shame on me. The problem was, I didn’t feel shame. She did. She was projecting her shame or what action she felt should be shameful on me. Hmm. Let me break it down for you. Remember when I talked about vulnerability last year? If not, see this post on Daring greatly. There are people I used to know who were very very afraid of the truth. They were afraid of being vulnerable. They were afraid of letting others see who they truly were. And they have perfected the art of being “normal” so much so that I could not have a conversation with them. All but one. One of them, I thought, could be honest with herself. Because in the end, that’s what it was about. Honesty on a level so deep that the only other being who knows this is God. Because really, do you think you are fooling Him? You aren’t.
I absolutely loved it when Brené Brown said she had the worst “vulnerability hangover” ever after telling a crowd of 500 people at the TED convention that she had a breakdown. She said she didn’t come out of her house for 3 days. When she gets up and talks about Listening to shame, she says this “TED is like the failure conference. No, it is. You know why this place is amazing? Because very few people here are afraid to fail. And no one who gets on the stage, so far that I’ve seen, has not failed. I’ve failed miserably, many times. I don’t think the world understands that because of shame.” Amen sister. Amen.
“Shame is I am bad. Guilt is I did something bad. How many of you if you did something that was hurtful to me would be willing to say I’m sorry I made a mistake? Guilt. Shame. I’m sorry I AM a mistake. There’s a huge difference between shame and guilt.” She goes on to speak about how women and men feel shame differently. “If we’re going to find our way back to each other we have to understand and know empathy. Empathy’s the antidote to shame. If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.” When she says that if we are going to find our way back to each other and that vulnerability is going to be that path, then I ask you, why put down the person who opens up to you? Why judge? Why condemn them for the telling you something that might have been hard to say? Because you actually feel shame. Not them. You have more to hide than the person being vulnerable.