Moving Out of Shame & Using Your Story

So you have a history of depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, an addiction, unhealthy relationships, or trauma. How do you move past the shame, and into authentic relationship? How do you own your story? How do you use it for GOOD?

This is a pretty frequent conversation that I have with my clients. They WANT to move beyond the struggle that has defined them, but they don’t quite know HOW. First of all, Brene Brown is incredible in her work on shame. If you have 3 minutes, watch her TED talk, “How to Overcome Shame and Find Happiness.” One of my biggest takeaways from her books and talks is that shame grows in secrecy. She says that “Empathy is the antidote to shame. The 2 most powerful words when we’re in struggle: “Me too.” I have found this to be SO true, both in my personal life, as well as in my professional work with clients.

I experienced this in the first couple months with my son. He literally did not sleep, unless someone was walking around bouncing him. If I sat down, or dared to lay him in his crib, his little eyes would pop open and he would scream. So, up I went, walking and bouncing, walking and bouncing. I called my mom one morning, after having been up allllll night. I was exhausted, depleted, and completely overwhelmed by the level of dependence of my son. Hearing her validate that yes, it was hard was SO reassuring. I didn’t feel alone in it. My husband was amazing, but he was in it too. I needed someone outside of the struggle to hear me and normalize it.

If we can speak our struggles and tell our stories, we can connect with others. By being vulnerable, we can let others know that they aren’t alone. By being honest, we allow others to give us support and speak truth into our lives. So, how can you use your past experiences for good? Is there someone who could be helped by your story? Spend some time thinking, journaling, praying, or talking to a friend about action steps, and what this looks like for you!

Kristen CairnsComment