4 min read ⌚
Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough”
It is not just you!
Everybody feels shame.
In the following summary, you will become more aware of it. So stay with us as we discuss this complicated feeling, its roots, and try to search for ways in which you can heal.
Who Should Read “I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t)”? and Why?
Making “reaching perfection” our life’s purpose is wrong and exhausting.
And yet, we are always reminded by society whom we need to be and what we need to do to become “adequate.” In this struggle, we learn to hide our imperfections, and hence, our true selves.
We recommend this book to people who look for the roots of their shame, for those who get angry for no reason, and those who want to work on their empathy skills.
About Brené Brown
Brené Brown is a bestselling author and a research professor at the University of Houston. Her TEDXHouston Talk is one of the videos with the highest number of views on TED.com.
“I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) Summary”
Can you think back to a past situation when you did something embarrassing?
You surely can.
Now, if you found a moment like that, then you are probably already wishing for the earth to swallow you as you cannot stop yourself from replaying the situation over and over again in your mind.
Do not worry; we have all been there.
What you are feeling now – it is a shame.
There is a wide array of topics of conversation that we feel uncomfortable with, and as a result, most of us try to avoid.
But nothing beats discussing shame.
However, avoiding talking about shame means that not everyone understands what it is. That is what we are here to explain.
Indeed, the exact characteristics of shame are hard to describe, so it is no wonder most people do not recognize its roots. However, what we can say for sure is that at its core, shame is connected with the feeling or thought of not being good enough.
But when and how do we experience shame?
In most cases, shame happens when people search for compassion but experience the exact opposite: rejection.
As you can see, we did not pose the question “who experiences shame?” since all of us do.
Knowing that none of us is immune to shame brings us to the conclusion that the important thing is not stopping shame from occurring (since it cannot be done), but learning how to manage it.
As far as we know, there is one antidote to shame: empathy. But, receiving compassion is not everything – in fact, it is just as vital for you to empathize with others as well.
Most of us feel empathy when we share some sort of painful experience with another person, and see that they get what we are talking about.
Merely knowing that there is someone who understands what you are experiencing and the emotions you are feeling, makes you see that your situation is not unusual, and as a result, you feel less isolated.
In fact, you even feel accepted.
However, achieving this kind of comprehension is not easy. To do that, you need to possess the ability to put yourself in the shoes of the other person and see things from their perspective.
You have to forget about judgment and be fully present in the moment, and aware of the other person’s words and emotions.
Key Lessons from “I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t)”
1. Becoming Aware of Shame
2. Reacting to Shame
3. The Role of Anger
Become Aware of Shame
You cannot deal with anything if you do not recognize its existence first.
Shame manifests through various symptoms: red face and shaking, difficulty swallowing, and even more extreme ones like the inability to even get out of bed.
However, regardless of its forms of manifestation, to be able to overcome shame, you need first to comprehend what triggers it.
Now, we need to underline that there are no universal causes of shame. Everyone connects the feeling with his or her own negative experiences from the past.
Reacting to Shame
Whenever we feel ashamed or hurt, we usually close up to the outer world.
However, that is wrong, since bonding with others is essential to healing shame.
The opposite feeling of shame is self-esteem. Most people think that a successful career or a great body is crucial to have high self-esteem, but the reality is entirely different.
The only way to beat shame is having friends and support networks with whom we can share our experiences without being judged.
The Role of Anger
Many times, when we feel hurt, we get angry at the people who hurt us.
There is an explanation for this common reaction. Anger and shame are connected since people tend to point fingers whenever they want to avoid confronting their feelings.
At its core, this is a way for people to regain control over their “weak” emotions by showing power.
However, if we allow ourselves to get trapped into a constant avoidance of our true feelings, we are bound to become more alienated.
So, instead of becoming a victim of these unhealthy patterns, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and seek for the empathy you need in order to heal.
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“I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t)” QuotesShame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change. Click To Tweet If you want to make a difference, the next time you see someone being cruel to another human being, take it personally. Take it personally because it is personal! Click To Tweet Compassion is not a virtue -- it is a commitment. It's not something we have or don't have -- it's something we choose to practice. Click To Tweet We cannot grow when we are in shame, and we can't use shame to change ourselves or others. Click To Tweet Nothing silences us more effectively than shame. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
“I Though It Was Just Me (but it isn’t)” is a book that speaks right to your heart. It is relatable and comprehensive, and will help you understand why you are feeling like you are, and how to change it.