The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene’ Brown Ph.D.

“In Jungian circles, shame is often referred to as the swampland of the soul. I’m not suggesting that we wade out into the swamp and set up camp. I’ve done that and I can tell you that the swampland of the soul is an important place to visit, but you would not want to live there. What I’m proposing is that we learn how to wade through it. We need to see that standing on the shore and catastrophisizing about what could happen if we talked honestly about our fears is actually more painful than grabbing the hand of a trusted companion and crossing the swamp. And, most important, we need to learn why constantly trying to maintain our footing on the shifting shore as we gaze across to the other side of the swamp—where our worthiness waits for us—is much harder work than trudging across. “How-to” is a seductive shortcut, and I understand that. Why cross the swamp if you can just bypass it?”

I will be honest, I do not like to talk about past trauma in my life. It is over. I can’t change it so why dig it up? I have chosen to forgive and move on. Do I really need to go back into the swamp? Hmmmm? Let’s keep reading. 

“But here’s the dilemma: Why is “how-to” so alluring when, truthfully, we already know “how to” yet we’re still standing in the same place longing for more joy, connection, and meaning? Most everyone reading this book knows how to eat healthy. I can tell you the Weight Watchers points for every food in the grocery store. I can recite the South Beach Phase I grocery shopping list and the glycemic index like they’re the Pledge of Allegiance. We know how to eat healthy. We also know how to make good choices with our money. We know how to take care of our emotional needs. We know all of this, yet… We are the most obese, medicated, addicted, and in-debt Americans EVER.”

I must admit every line above is true! I know all about “how-to” yet, I struggle. I have tried going to a counselor, both times I was afraid to tell them the truth. I guess you could say, I was afraid of “drowning in a swamp” I felt I had already escaped from.

What has your experience been talking about your past?

“We don’t talk about what keeps us eating until we’re sick, busy beyond human scale, desperate to numb and take the edge off, and full of so much anxiety and self-doubt that we can’t act on what we know is best for us. We don’t talk about the hustle for worthiness that’s become such a part of our lives that we don’t even realize that we’re dancing.”

Can you relate to dancing the “hustle for worthiness?”

I definitely can! My whole life had been one great hustle dance! Always trying to do everything right! Please everybody. Trying harder and doing more……always struggling to believe I was good enough.

“Shame is that warm feeling that washes over us, making us feel small, flawed, and never good enough. If we want to develop shame resilience—the ability to recognize shame and move through it while our worthiness and authenticity—then we have to talk about why shame happens. Honest conversations about shame can change the way we live, love, parent, work, and build relationships. I have more than one thousand letters and emails from readers of I Thought It Was Just Me, my book on shame resilience, that all say the same thing: “I can’t believe how much talking about shame changed my life!” (And I promise, even if you’re eating while you’re talking about shame, you’ll be okay.)”

As we go further into this study I hope you will find a new clarity of how amazing you are. I pray great healing and comfort will be found within our reading and discussions.

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