In creative writing we watched two TED Talks by Brené Brown, a vulnerability researcher, who was digging into the depths of shame and vulnerability. I really enjoyed her TED Talks because she picked apart the messiest parts of life and evaluated them despite the uncertainty of life research. A lot of people in my class didn’t really enjoy her lessons, so I guess I’m just weird (haha, already knew that one), but her talks had a lot of life values and lessons in them that I think society could benefit from.
Firstly, everyone experiences shame; it’s a universal feeling. If you don’t feel it then you might want to see a mental health doctor because this is the universal feeling and you can’t run away from it or smother it out of existence.
Secondly, shame is the birthplace of negativity. Brown mentioned in her second TED Talk that shame is “highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, [and] eating disorders” (Brown).
And thirdly, according to Brown, shame is not guilt, it is overcome by guilt;
Shame drives two big tapes — “never good enough” — and, if you can talk it out of that one, “who do you think you are?” The thing to understand about shame is, it’s not guilt. Shame is a focus on self, guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame is “I am bad.” Guilt is “I did something bad.” […] Guilt: I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Shame: I’m sorry. I am a mistake.
There’s a huge difference between shame and guilt. And here’s what you need to know. […] Guilt, [is] inversely correlated with [shame]. The ability to hold something we’ve done or failed to do up against who we want to be is incredibly adaptive. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s adaptive. (Brown)
I don’t like to feel shame, no one does. I don’t like feeling guilty or owning up to my guilt, and I especially don’t like to be vulnerable and open up to what I’m feeling. Opening up and owning up means dealing with my feelings and that’s not something I consider a joyride. Feelings are messy and nonsensical and irrational at best. I admit, however, that bottling up my feelings tends to make everything else in my life a mess too. It’s not healthy, it’s not productive, and it certainly doesn’t make me feel any better. So the way I try to cope with my feelings is by ranting: to my friends, to my mom, to my teachers. Granted, it’s probably not the best method of coping, nor does it actually show my true feelings, but it spends enough of my emotional energy so that it doesn’t spill into the other aspects of my life.
I think my biggest problem with vulnerability is that I don’t want to push my problems onto other people and burden them anymore then they already are. Most of my friends are teenage girls and, if you’re completely unawares of what that statement means, drama normally ensues when you have 5-10 girls all in the same friend group. That plus low self-esteem issues, stress, and insecurities makes me just kind of lock all my problems in a little box and then throw them in the attic of my mind. I can’t confide in my parents either; my mom works two jobs (she’s actually think of getting another one 😡) and has to constantly help us through our days while also taking care of her own, and my dad isn’t exactly a good communicator. So I just let the little box grow while it continues to collect dust, until it finally explodes and I’ve locked myself in my room where I can breakdown completely.
I’ve actually had a really hard time writing this post because it’s centered around vulnerability and shame. It’s an extremely heavy topic, and I’d rather be posting cute pictures of my cats or writing about really nice things in the world because there’s too much negativity in it already. Basically, avoiding my vulnerability and shame.
The next post will definitely be lighter and I might (finally) upload some pictures to my gallery so go check that out