As many of you know, I am huge fan of Brene Brown’s research into shame and vulnerability. One of things she talks about frequently is identifying “shame triggers.”
For those of you not familiar with her work, a “shame trigger” is any verbal, or non-verbal, event that may lead to feelings of shame. For example: telling a pregnant mom that she is going to be a horrible parent based on her choice of day-care vs. staying at home would be a shame trigger for the pregnant mom.
One of the first steps in learning how to manage shame in your life, is to begin to identify areas in your life that may lead to shame. IE: what are my shame triggers?
This is a pretty broad, difficult, and overwhelming question for most people. But yet when it can be answered promotes extraordinary growth.
I can almost imagine you all screaming at me, HOW DO I KNOW WHAT THOSE TRIGGERS ARE?
Here is how I have gone about identifying some of those areas in my life: I ask myself, when I first meet someone, I want them to walk away thinking XYZ about me. So for instance I want someone to think that I am funny, kind, intelligent, grounded, secure, helpful, wise, smart, stable, independent, reliable.. this list could go on and on. Lets just pick one and run with it.
I want people to instantly think that I am intelligent. Yet after my first coffee date with my new co-worker I over hear him saying that I mispronounced that name of the drink I wanted to order (completely overlooking the fact that I was tired and stumbled over my words all day, not just at that moment). I then instantly turn that into shame telling myself I am so stupid, I know how to say X, I am just not good enough for this person… and what you have is an area of SHAME TRIGGER in your life.
Feel free to comment with shame triggers that you or someone you know has dealt with. We all have them and there are pretty common themes among most people.
Recently I heard a girl in recovery say to another girl that
“If you are telling yourself you have do something, you shouldn’t be doing it”
These are hard words to swallow. Be it in recovery or in day to day living: you shouldn’t do something if you think that you have too.
IE: you shouldn’t exercise because you think you have too, you should exercise because it promotes the healthy lifestyle you want to live.
What areas are you pushing yourself to do things you “have” to do? and how can you modify them to make them more healthy?