Since I have moved backed home, I have gotten in touch with one of my deepest roots – reading. When I was a kid, I read about a book a day. I would read and read and read. As I grew up, I still read books but not as fiercely as I did when I was a kid. I am trying to change that. I have things to do, more so now than when I was younger, so reading a book a day is not an easy task but I am trying to read as much as I can.
What incited this reading journey came from using social media to my advantage. One day I decided to follow Glennon Doyle because I had read Love Warrior months before. Because I began to follow her, I wanted to know more about her. I have since watched and/or listened to every talk I could find and read both her books. And by doing so I learned about a lot of great authors who I would never found on my own. This led to me to go out and buy about 11 books.
One author’s books I bought all at the same time, Brené Brown, because I knew how much I loved her work by listening to her TED talks. I encourage everyone I know to do the same. Brené Brown is a researcher and a storyteller, she is really good at what she does. She studies shame, vulnerability, courage, belonging, etc. She studies all the things that make us human, she studies what it means to be a human being. It is awesome.
As a society, there are a lot of things we believe we know for sure. Well, Dr. Brown’s research proves us wrong about almost everything we hold to be true about our world. We were put down here for connection but most things we do drive us away from connecting with others. I am not going to spoil it all for you but there is one thing I wanted to mention that has really changed the way I see everything.
There is a difference between shame and guilt. Shame says I am bad and guilt says I did something bad. Shame is the voice that says you suck, you can never do anything right, you should quit. Shame drives us away from all the things we should be running toward; love, connection, purpose. Whereas guilt helps us get closer to the life we are trying to lead. When we feel guilty it is because we did something that is not align with our values. When we feel guilty about our actions or choices, we feel like we could have done better because we hold ourselves to a higher standard.
Understanding this difference has changed the way I see everything. Now that I can distinguish between shame and guilt, I have a better picture of what standards I hold myself to. I have learned to not shame myself and to not say I am bad when I do something I should feel guilty for. I am not a bad person when I do something that is not align with the person I want to be because what I am feeling is guilt, not shame. I did something when I know I can do better. Guilt is a good thing, it helps up be the people we want to be. Shame is destructive and the only way to kill shame is to be empathetic. Shame cannot survive empathy. But to learn more about that, I encourage you to go read and listen to Dr. Brown’s work.