I spent the morning listening to a few TED talks from one of my favorite motivational speakers, Brené Brown. Here’s the back story behind why I chose to spend my morning in this manner:
This week, I have no school, no work, and no major responsibilities to attend to. Sounds pretty sweet, huh? So far it has been! Monday was Memorial Day and Josh and I were up at his family’s cabin. Last week Josh took off work and we planned an adventure week for ourselves. It was actually an absolutely perfect.
Yesterday I was reminded of two of my many vulnerabilities. I have a deep tendency to compare myself to others an measure my worth against theirs. I also have a predisposition to over-analyze events of the past and attempt to make sense of them.
So I was passing some of my time on facebook. Somehow, I wandered onto my sister’s page. Unfortunately, my sister and I don’t have a relationship partly impart to events of the past. However, she still appears in my dreams and occupies my thoughts, especially during days that I don’t have much going on. I knew that going on her facebook page would be a mistake I’d later regret, but curiosity got the better of me. Once on her page, I got to thinking, what went wrong? She’s still a person, but more than that, she’s my sister. I still long for a relationship with her, and look forward to the day when our connection is restored. Even though I’m still at a loss as to what led to our failed relationship, I liked how Brené Brown defined guilt and shame:
I’m sorry. I made a mistake.
I’m sorry. I am a mistake. Shame is highly correlated with:
Unless a person has absolutely no capacity for connection or empathy (aka sociopathic tendencies), every person has experienced some aspect of shame. Shame is an epidemic in our culture. Empathy, the ability to relate, is the anecdote to shame. Two of the most powerful words to say to someone struggling with shame are, “me too”
Men and women process shame differently. Women feel that we must do it all, do it perfectly, never let them see us sweat. Often, we find themselves tangled within the web of unattainable expectations of who we’re supposed to be. Men, on the other hand, feel that they cannot be perceived as being weak. They feel like the world would rather see them die still riding their white horse, than fall off of it.
So here were some of my conclusions:
- either my sister has some sort of mental illness, or is dealing with such deep shame that lying is the only way to cope with it.
- I need to think about what my desired outcome is before typing her name into the search bar on facebook.
- we can only accept the love we think we deserve.
- I definitely struggle with shame to an extent, and have learned (and am still learning) that self-love is something beautiful that must be nurtured daily.
Before I begin my second realization, I want to quickly say that I usually do use facebook for good. For example, I reconnected with a very good friend from the past on Wednesday, and keep in touch with many friends via small chats here and there. However, I fell victim to the entrapment of comparison earlier this week.
I decided to look up some of Josh’s ex’s. Big mistake. Comparison is the thief of joy. Of course they were beautiful, and of course they looked happy when they were dating Josh. He’s a wonderful man, how couldn’t you be happy dating such an incredible person? However, going back to what I learned from Ms. Brown and from my therapist Jenny:
- I don’t have to be perfect
- Josh chose me! If that’s not a huge compliment, I don’t know what is.
- Better than that, the God of the universe chose me for Himself. Before I was even born. Now that’s a confidence boost.
- Just because I don’t look like some of Josh’s ex’s, doesn’t make me any less beautiful. I look at pictures of Josh and I, and can see the evident sparkle in each of our eyes. I never thought I could be so in love with a man, and somehow I fall deeper every single day.