• Lizzie Shutt

Embracing Vulnerability & Acknowledging Shame

I built this platform based on my belief that deep connection is all we need to heal ourselves and the world. My intention with these blog posts is to bring conscious awareness to global, local, and internal struggles. Through this awareness, I hope to inspire a reconnection with yourself, the planet, an enemy, a loved one, or all of the above, therefore helping change the world by providing you the tools you need to do the work #teamwork

Hence the name of my blog is “Consciously Connecting”.

I was thinking about the topics I write about and what to choose this week…

I am going to talk about shame. I think shame is the opposite of connection. And how can I expect myself and others to experience full true deep connection without addressing its opposite: shame.

The world is full of dualities and you can not know one side without embracing the other side.

Shame is an inward focus. When you experience shame you’re less able to offer empathy because you can’t process information about others. You only care about what someone else has to say if it directly impacts you.

Brené Brown inspired this blog post, she is an amazing storyteller and researcher on courage, vulnerability, empathy, and shame. She defines shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we've experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”

Shame is not a light conversation, but it’s necessary to have with yourself and others. Living in shame, you will not be able to open up authentic deep connections and that's where vulnerability comes in. Embrace the vulnerability that comes from talking about this topic. Why? Because as Brené states in her TED talk “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” And this world needs a lot of all three so let’s get #vulnerable !!

“I am not enough”, “I’m not pretty, smart, wealthy, powerful enough”, that’s shame talking to you.

Shame is the inner critic, created by your mind. Important to note that shame is different than guilt.

Shame: I am bad.

Guilt: I did something bad.

Guilt is recognizing that you are not attached to your actions, but that you can take personal accountability for them. You can humbly apologize you made a mistake when feeling guilty.

In shame, you see it as “you are the mistake”.

This is dangerous and detrimental to interpret experiences as shameful. Research correlates shame to addiction, depression, violence, suicide, eating disorders, yet guilt is inversely correlated. Because when you own up to your actions and challenge yourself to be intentional with your actions/words, to admit you were wrong, to be vulnerable, this will elicit change. This is true leadership.

For the woman reading: shame for us revolves around conflicting unobtainable expectations about who we’re supposed to be and how we’re supposed “to do it all”. Recognize as a woman you are enough in this moment and every. You are worthy of love and connection. You are beautiful and are allowed to give yourself a break!

For the man reading: Male’s shame is centered around being perceived as “weak”. I want you to know you are enough in this moment and every. You are worthy of love and connection. You are perfect just as you are and don’t need to have big biceps or hide your tears to show it!

These norms are not normal, I challenge you to challenge yourself #getvulnerable !

First, you can start this process by taking personal accountability. Realizing you are responsible for regulating your emotions is empowering. You have the ability to make yourself happy or angry. Mindfulness is your friend for bringing your awareness to your emotions, reactions, and thought patterns. Practicing daily mindfulness (yoga, meditation, breathwork, truly tasting food, active listening, etc) is a step down the peaceful, present, proactive path.

Mindfulness is a tool to bring awareness to your emotions in moments when your thoughts are formed (from a place of shame or guilt?). Stay present in your daily life, plant new seeds, and understand that everyone experiences this too. So don't be so hard on yourself or and on others, cultivate compassion. You are not alone and the more you start talking and normalizing topics as these the more healing you will experience in your heart and physical body, as will the rest of the world.

Watch Brené Brown's TED talk about vulnerability here.

Watch her one on shame after!!

Listen to her podcast here (it's on Spotify too).

"Live Dirty, Eat Clean & Green",

Lizzie Shutt


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