I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Breaking the cycles of shame and living in compassion

So far I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Brene Brown. Her research on and insights into shame and vulnerability are incredibly real and practical, helping readers to understand themselves and others better.

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) recounts some of Brown’s research and interviews with women about their shame stories and how to build shame resilience. Shame is a human experience, brought on by feeling like we are not enough because we aren’t what others expect or want us to be. As individuals come to understand what specific scenarios (or even people) trigger shame responses, they can begin to build networks of supporters who can speak truth and help them break out of the cycle of shame that sucks them in.

Triggers are different for everyone, and supporters for one shame trigger may actually be the cause of other shame triggers. It doesn’t mean we cut them out entirely, but it means we have to be wise in choosing who to share pieces of our hearts with.

While much of Brown’s message is stuff that we know intuitively, having it laid out and backed up with interviews from real women helps drive the point home and helps readers start to apply it to their own lives. As I read, I couldn’t not be thinking on my own shame triggers and what I do to combat the feeling.

But the book doesn’t just give me insight into my own processes, it also challenges me to think about how I respond when someone trusts me enough to share their heart. Responding with the same kind of compassion and understanding that I would long for is key to being a good support for those that I care about.

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t) is a thought-provoking and enlightening book. As with all that I’ve read and heard from Brown, it’s left me really considering things and with practical ways to move forward to a better place. It’s not easy work, but Brown shows us real-life examples, including sharing some of her own stories, to remind readers that it is possible to overcome the debilitating feelings of shame and live a life that is full.

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