Bréne Brown is one of the world’s leading researchers on vulnerability and shame. Brene says “shame (the concept of I’m not good enough) needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment.”
Recently she was interviewed on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah (you can watch the full episode here.) I realized all three of the feeders of shame Brene is talking about is addressed through The Work of Byron Katie. The Work of is a process of using your judgment’s to shift thinking from stress and struggle to peace.
Silence & Secrecy
The judge your neighbour worksheets helps us to put our thinking on paper. If we can honestly put what we’re feeling into a journal or on a worksheet our thoughts are out the closet. This isn’t easy. It takes vulnerability to expose ourselves. When we do we discover a whole new freedom.
No more hiding.
Silence is broken and it creates spaces between our thinking and our choices. We no longer trying to hide from truths in our own minds. Journaling is a powerful way to be set free of our secrets and in your own time, in your own way you can see if you need or want to share with others.
We’ve been raised to believe that we must never be unkind. We want to happy as much as possible. So many of us spend much of the time we try to hide from our “negative”, destructive thoughts.
We think our thinking defines us. Thoughts are not always true and don’t have to be believed. When we write down our authentic thoughts, we discover they’re only thoughts.
This process means we can stop keeping secrets from ourselves and begin to love all of who we are. It creates so much more integrity within us when we’re not hiding from our own thinking of feelings.
Alternative Viewing Points
The second step in the process of the work is we curiously question what we’ve written. When we question our thinking kindly, it offers us alternative viewing points on any judgments. Just cause I see the mountains before me doesn’t mean that someone else is wrong who may be staring at the lake behind my back. That’s what it’s like exploring alternative viewing points, I get to turn around and look at other viewpoints.
The beauty of this is, in my experience, is it encourages acceptance of what is. It liberates us to live more authentically, with greater acceptance, love, compassion and empathy for others and ourselves.
The process of exploring our own thinking and beliefs takes courage but if you’re tired of defending, hiding or being owned by your thinking, feelings or stress this can be a powerful journey toward freedom.
To paraphrase Brene, may we all remember to draw on our courage when we feel scared or anxious and to embrace life with our whole hearts.