I Thought it was Just Me by Brene Brown was gleaned from yet another blog reading list I found at the beginning of summer. If I were to give it a rating on a five star scale – 1 being hated it (as in this book) and 5 being loved it (as in this book), I would rate this one a 3.5.
A lot of this content is not new. Reading from a non-religious standpoint was good for me. Living in our culture makes us compare everything with everyone else, from our best friend to a random lady getting groceries. Don’t even pretend that you haven’t looked at someone in sweats at the store and not felt yourself superior, even if by being superior I mean that you happen to have had the culture to wear yoga pants.
Shame, that’s what this book is about. Not guilt over wrong actions which is good and healthy and mostly missing from society today, but shame over who God created us to be.
I never realized how much shame I carry from my past and my now; shame inflicted by others and inflicted on myself. I feel shame all over the place. We all have our “shame stories” as Ms. Brown calls them. She’s spent the better part of her career studying shame. Who even thinks about studying shame? But, as she so aptly points out, shame is at the root of most of our perception problems with ourselves. Generations of shame heaped upon shame heaped upon shame.
Can we just get over ourselves already? Can we just BE? It isn’t hard, but it’s paralyzingly frightening. There’s this person who used to be a friend. I use the term “used to be” because our relationship is complicated and I wouldn’t categorize it as a friendship at this point in our timelines. I suspect it’s because I’m too real and she’s spent too much time cultivating an aura of perfection around her that I disappoint or embarrass her (perhaps I scare her a bit). She once told me that although I understand the why of who I am, I never do anything to change who I am. What?!? This comment was meant to shame me and shame me it did! No human knows my faults more than I do. I am a work in progress. I haven’t perfected myself yet (here’s a clue: none of us ever will). Alas, I’m not a perfect enough friend for this gal and it was during the reading of this book that I came to the conclusion that this is okay.
I’d rather be my imperfect self than a fake, perfected non-self.