I am currently reading "Gifts of Imperfection" by Dr. Brene Brown in a book group on Facebook. It's actually my first book club that I am in and I really like this. I love reading and I love discussing books that I have read with others who have read them as well. I've spoken of them before, but I'll speak of them again, Good-bye My Muffin Top has started this book discussion and I am thrilled that I decided to jump in and read the book. I'm almost finished the book and I sort of wanted to share with you what I have learned from this book. My Ahha moments, things that I realize I need to continue to work on and things that I have already put in place.
So I am going to share with you some quotes/ questions the girls posted on Facebook and my comments to these questions. At least this is my idea about these posts, there will probably be five or more, they may or may not be all next week (I'll actually be camping next week so I have to get all my blogs done now, no internet!!!) But I do have some other things to talk about too, so I might intersperse these with other posts. Anyways, here's the first question we were discussing in the book group that I think everyone should consider.
M wrote: When we're looking for compassion, we need someone who is deeply rooted, able to bend, and, most of all, we need someone who embraces us for our strengths and struggles. We need to honor our struggle by sharing it with someone who has earned the right to hear it. When we're looking for compassion, it's about connecting with the right person at the right time about the right issue. (p.11) Q. Who do you reach out to for genuine compassion? Who reaches out to you for genuine compassion?
So I started thinking about this, I'm not really one who doesn't share my problems. I actually don't really like wading through my troubles alone, it's something I have come to understand, and from a young age, that it sucks to go at things alone, so I developed great friendships and relationships that I trusted and would be someone I could go to depending on the situation.
I am sure that my sister is generally who I turn to the most often, she's younger than me but we've been really close since we were young, yes there were years where we didn't necessarily share everything, but since she was 18 we've been very close, she's one of my best friends and I know I can trust her to listen without judgement to any issue I bring forward!
I also have cultivated some AMAZING friendships over the years!! Friends that I have had since grade one, middle school, high school, university and work. I sometimes think I collect friends, but I cherish them all!! So I have some great friends, I don't go to any one friend for everything, but I know which friends I can go to for different things that come up in my life.
One of the things that comes up a lot as you read this book is the idea of shame. Dr Brene Brown was a shame researcher, and how shame effects us in our lives and how we deal with shame. I've identified that many of my shame episodes come from when my children do something that makes me look like an inadequate parent. For years I have revelled in the comments and compliments I have gotten in the upbringing of my children, and I believe wholeheartedly that my children are great kids, they have great heads on their shoulders and are turning into amazing human beings that will contribute greatly to this world, but sometimes they make mistakes or bad decisions and because I take such pride in my parenting, I have great shame when it looks like I have failed my children some how. Because I don't think it's necessarily my children who are at fault for making bad decisions, ok they did make the decision, but what could I have done that would have negated this event from happening is what I think and that's where I feel shame.
Why did I go on this tangent, well because currently many of my need for compassionate friends stems from my need to discuss my parenting short falls, so I turn to my friends that have kids around the same age as mine. I don't think I'm the only one going through these things but it's hard to talk to people that aren't parenting the same age children as I am because the problems will either terrify them or they will immediately go to fix it mode, not my fault mode, and they won't just spend some time listening and validating my feelings in the moment.
I've had experiences in my life where I've had to go to others, because I found myself in difficult situations that I didn't know how to deal with. Finances, parenting, jobs, depression, all these things I have waded through but I've done it with a great support system, and I am so thankful for the wonderful friends in my life because without them to share my shame I'd be devolving into a mess.
That's the trick to shame, if you keep it to yourself, it festers, becomes a larger problem then it needs to be, a monster that can't be tamed because you feed it your shame and it explodes. But when you own your shame, when you share your shame with those around you that are honestly compassionate to you, you take away the power the shame has and it becomes something manageable and you more often then not realize that you are not alone, that you and those around you are going through similar situations and that by talking together you can work things out.
One of the things I have drawn a conclusion to that can help my kids, and I know it's helped my oldest, is that be open to discussing things with your kids. Talk about those trigger issues, bullying, drugs, alcohol etc and they won't withdraw into shame if they come across these problems. It's like that commercial where the bullied child finally talks to his parents/ an adult about the bully and the bully loses his power over the victim. It's so powerful, what sharing shame can do for a person, when you feel alone and isolated it's easy to be targeted, but when you start to share you find out that you really are not alone.
ok this is way longer than I thought it would be so I will end here because I think there are lot's of things to chew on in this blog. You can learn more about Dr. Brene Brown on her website this connects to her blog.