Ep 82 | Sharing Our Shame Stories and Getting What We Need

Shame is a powerful emotion and happens to all of us. It involves looking inwardly in a harsh way with a critical eye while we beat ourselves up even for the smallest mistakes.

We are so overly critical of ourselves, and then we hide or bury our feelings of shame when we need to learn to release them with people who have earned the right to hear our stories.

Through sharing our stories, we free ourselves from some of the pain we are carrying and holding inside of ourselves. 

What’s in the episode: 

  • Why shame needs words and a voice to be free
  • Hustling for worthiness to account for our believed inadequacies
  • Six types of people not to share your shame story with
  • How to exercise compassion towards ourselves and others

“You have to love yourself enough to reach out for help and support when going through hard things. ” 

- Kim Strobel

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About Kim

Kim Strobel is Chief Happiness Officer at Kim Strobel Live Events and Retreats. She is a teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, happiness coach, and mission-minded person whose passion is helping others overcome their fears and discover their joy!

You can follow Kim’s journey on Instagram at @KimStrobelJoy and in the free private She Finds Joy Facebook community.


Kim Strobel 00:05 

Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's episode, I want to take a moment just to thank you for giving me your time, I know that we all live these really harried lives. But if you're taking time out to listen to my podcast, then I just want to give you a little pat on the back, because you are someone who is taking action and learning and absorbing and reflecting. And I think that's one of the most powerful strategies that I've used for the last 20 years is that I'm always a learner. I'm always reading some type of self help book, some type of professional development book, some type of spirituality book, or I'm always enrolled in taking a course I don't think I'm ever not in a course anymore, because I know that each time I get that information, and I adopt those practices in my life, I'm able to create a better version of myself, so And sometimes it's from podcast or audiobooks. And so give yourself a moment just to say, Hey, good job, I am seeking out some additional help, or support or coaching, or inspiration. Today's episode is going to be about having the courage to go after what we want and to do hard things, which we talked a little bit about that in actually a lot about that in the last episode. But we're also going to talk a little bit about imperfection. When I did an email to my email list, asking people what topics they wanted. This was one that kept coming up over and over again, is how do I quit feeling? Like I have to prove myself all of the time? Or how do I quit feeling like I'm falling underneath the bar every time or I'm screwing up. And I know that for whatever reason, this is just what we do as humans, it's like if I draw a circle, and there's, you know, 99 things that you did right today and five things that you did wrong, or even one thing that you did wrong, you will literally just focus on that one wrong dot, you know, we don't pay attention to the 99 great dots, we zero in and berate ourselves and criticize ourselves for that one black dot. And I always think about because I think I'm really bad about this too. I know, when I first started giving professional development trainings, I, I always gave an evaluation. And I do that a lot now too. But I would get like I wanted the feedback because I knew the feedback was critical to me being better. But I would get so nervous to go through the feedback forms. Because I was literally pilfering through to see what someone had to say that wasn't good about me. And it didn't matter if I had read piles and piles of Kim as a great presenter, I love her contagious enthusiasm. This was the best set of resources I've ever had. It didn't matter how positive those were. I mean, I appreciated them. But if I would get to one bad one, but I considered a bad one. I mean, it would crush me and I would just feel like this deep shame in my body, my whole face would just heat up and I would feel shame and humiliation. And I

know, in working with my own counselor that I really struggle to give compassion to myself. I can give compassion to everyone else I can give compassion to my friend who, you know, maybe went through something that was difficult or she feels like she mishandled something and she confides in me, I can give her tons of compassion, I can give lots of compassion to children or my own children. I can give compassion to other people when they're hurting. But I at times have struggled to extend that to myself. It's like I have this different expectation of myself. And so I want to talk to you about Kurt. Oh my goodness. I don't know if you guys heard that. But we're getting a little thunderstorm and it's thundering in the background. It's really a good thing because we have not had any rain here in southern Indiana for a while. And so I want to talk to you about courage and compassion and shame and hustling for our worthiness Today, a lot of what I've learned has come from Brene Brown. And she has talked a lot about these types of things in her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. And one of the stories I was reading from her was about how we can get ourselves in situations where maybe someone is shaming us or making us feel shame. And I know that we all choose that people can't make you feel shame, but they present us sometimes with something where we feel shame. And that feels really embarrassing. And I know that I have felt shame in the last week, someone, so I was I talk to our son a lot about money, because it's important to me that he understands money. And so I explained to him how my business is doing or, you know, what my current keynote prices, and I was talking about money to him out to dinner, and someone who was eating dinner with us said, Well, you're certainly not afraid to talk about money. And you know, how we're kind of trained, like, don't talk about money, don't talk about sex, don't talk about politics. And I actually think we have that all wrong. Except for the politics part, I'm not really sure. I know what needs to be talked about. But anyway. And so in that moment, someone that loves me, and that I love, this was not my husband, but somebody that was having dinner, made me feel intense shame, because she said, Oh, Kim's not afraid to talk about money. And she said it in a negative way. And I felt embarrassed and humiliated. And like something was wrong like that I shouldn't be talking to my son about money, which is against everything that I believe. But in that one moment, when that person was shaming me, I just like immediately began to doubt myself and I really had to spend the next hour, just being aware of what happened to me in that moment and questioning the shame stories. And I even found myself going like, Oh, I better stop talking about this, I shouldn't talk about money. I shouldn't you know, and I was like, Oh my gosh, no, like, This is who I am. This is a part of Kim that I really like I do courses on, you know, trying to create more in our life and how to live more abundantly. And I should not feel ashamed of that. But I was also reading with Brene Brown about how we feel shame. And she talks a lot about how we actually will begin to what she calls hustle for our worthiness when we start to feel vulnerable, or we start to feel shame. And I remember reading this chapter and thinking back to when I was working for another company, and I was going in and delivering professional development for them. And for whatever reason, I was in a room with like eight people who were getting professional development and there was one guy who was just acting so like, rude to me. And what I mean is it was all nonverbal, right? It was like, as I was teaching, he was glaring at me or giving me the stink eye or rolling his eyes or frowning or playing on his phone or not paying attention. And I read people really well and I'm somebody who's very affected by people. And I just saw myself trying even harder to get him to pay attention, like I was working harder and emphasizing my points harder and trying to make him feel better. And what I was really doing was, I was out there hustling for my worthiness. And not only that, but I was trying to I found myself trying to impress him, right trying to win him over. And what I was really doing is I was trading in my authenticity, my real self for his approval. And I was starting to feel feelings of inadequate pneus and unworthiness and I I started hustling for it. And I just remember, I felt so ashamed. Like, I just was so embarrassed. Like, as if I was completely inadequate in the PT training that day that I was, you know, not good at what I was doing that I was, I felt so small. And then I started to feel like all

of this shame that was swirling around me, you know, you're such an idiot, Kim, why did you do that? You know, you're just not good at this. And I felt sick, I felt sick. And when Brene Brown talks about this, she says, you know, there's two things to do when you're in a situation like that. One is to ignore the person or take a break. Or maybe you confront them, you know, privately if it's inappropriate behavior. But at that moment, I was, so be wilderness by how he was acting that I just went into this weird survival mechanism. And then, and what I did is I reached out to the person that I worked for, and explained what was going on. And instead of supporting me, you know, she also began to shame me. And what we have to think about and what Brene talks about, is, look, when we go through something that we feel shame, or we feel a vulnerability, we do have to own that story. Right? We can't just ignore how we felt that we felt shame because you have to share that was someone that you trust, you have a right to share it with someone who has earned the right to hear it, right, and someone who can respond with compassion, when we can't respond with compassion. And Brene says that shame hates it, when we reach out and tell our story. Because it doesn't like words, right? It, it, it loses its power, shame loses its power, when it is shared. Because shame loves secrecy. And I know a lot of women confide in me and men, about things that they've held in for a very long time. I know that many times after I've opened the door to vulnerability by sharing my own struggles, people will come up to me and say, Kim, I've never shared this before. But I went through something really hard when I was a child, and I've never talked about it, or Kim, my wife. She doesn't have panic disorder like you. But she has intrusive thoughts. And they have scared her for such a long time. And what we're understanding is it's just an anxiety disorder, that she's not crazy. She's not going to do something crazy to the kids. It's just like an OCD anxiety disorder where she has intrusive thoughts, and they scare her. And this is the first time I've ever heard somebody get up and admit that they have an anxiety problem, you know, and mine manifested as panic disorder. And so when we're thinking about shame, and we're thinking about the courage to share our stories, what Brene says that the most dangerous thing to do after having a shaming experience is to hide or bury that story. Because then it ruminates inside of us it metastasizes inside of us, and it begins to chip away at our inner worthiness. Now, I want to warn you here, you can't just go around sharing your shame stories with people who have not deserved the right to hear it. And I mean, this is probably a really small handful of people that you have, who can actually hold and hear your shame story. Because what happens is if they cannot hold it for you, and support you, in a way that is healthy for you, it can actually make it worse. And so I want to give you some tips from Brene that she says we definitely want to avoid falling into these traps. Whenever we even hear someone else's shame story when someone else says, hey, you know, I was really embarrassed because I said this thing and someone overheard me and I got caught. Or I'm really embarrassed because I responded to this email in a non professional way. Or I'm really upset because I got in an argument with someone who's close to me like whatever it is. When someone confides in us with something that has hurt them, we want to also think about how are we handling that. And so I want to explain the six things that Brene says not to do when you're hearing someone else's shame story. Number one, she says, is the friend who hears the story, and actually feels shame for you. She might gasp and confirm that she is horrified. And you should, too, right? All right, then what happens is, she's so upset, she's so worked up that you actually have to start confronting her. And you know, I have someone in my life that I love. But like, if I need to share something hard, I'm going through, she is not the person, she is not the container to hold that only because she starts to get so upset, and so stressed out about it, that then I'm over there, calming her down. Okay, so we want to think about that, when we're thinking of someone to share our hurt with, we want to make sure that it's not someone who can't handle it, right, who gets more stressed out than we do about it? Or we want to think about that for ourselves. When a friend confides in us, do we escalate the emotion with it, because they don't need us to escalate the emotion. So that's number one. Number two Brene said, is the friend who

responds with sympathy that doesn't help either write, rather than responding with empathy. So when they, when they respond with sympathy, or when you respond for sympathy, you say things like, Oh, I feel so sorry for you. Or, Oh, you poor poor thing, bless your heart. These are not what we need to hear. Because what happens is our shame, Cyclone will actually feel even worse, when someone gives us sympathy versus empathy. What we need is empathy, and we're going to talk about that not sympathy, not Oh, I'm so so sorry for you. This must be so terrible what you're going through, you poor, poor thing. That is not what we want to hear. And that is not what we want to say to someone else who's going through it. All right, are you ready? Number three, the friend who needs you to be the pillar of worthiness and authenticity. She can't help because she's too disappointed in your imperfections. You've let her down. Oh, my goodness. There is a person who I considered a friend that you heard about. I didn't name her and I wouldn't name her. But she was in my podcast episode a few episodes ago, the one that I did on dealing with hard things. And that was such a powerful episode. If you haven't, I think it's one of my very best. If you have not heard it, you need to go back and listen to it. I'm going to look it up right now. So I can tell you the number because that frickin podcast episode. I don't know. I think I was channeling something else inside of me. Because when I listened to it myself, I was like, Kimberly, that was a good episode. It was episode 78. Okay, so that's a great one to earmark if you haven't listened to it. But I went through something where I made a small mistake recently. And this particular friend did exactly what number three did. She was the pillar of worthiness. She was so self righteous, and she was so disappointed in my behavior, right? That is not a true friend. Okay? So don't be that person. And don't reach out to that person when you need to share a hard thing. Number four, the friend who is so uncomfortable with vulnerability that she scolds you, she says things like, how did you let this happen? What were you thinking? Right? Or she might look for someone else to blame, like, well, who does that guy think he is? Let's kick his ass. Oh, I love Brene. She's not afraid to cuss a little bit. So, again, we don't want to confide in someone who's so uncomfortable with vulnerability that they they either scold you or they scold someone else because that takes on a whole different energy. Number five, the friend who is all about making it better and out Have her own discomfort refuses to acknowledge that you can actually be crazy and make terrible choices. She might say things like, now you're exaggerating. It wasn't that bad. You're okay, everyone loves you, you're gonna be just fine. And that also does not help us. All right, we don't need someone to make it better. And she's just trying to make it because we don't believe any of that, right? We're like, she's just trying. She's just uncomfortable. And she's just trying to say things to make me feel better, but it's not making me feel better. That doesn't work. And number six, the last one is the friend who confuses connection with the opportunity to one up you Oh, my gosh, you guys. I remember years ago reading this, and I was like, Oh, my gosh, this happens so much. You know, when like, you tell somebody something hard. And then they have to one up you. They have to say like, oh, well, that's nothing. Listen to what happened to me one time. Like they make they turn it and make it about them, right? Like they're one upping you, you're sharing this heart thing. And they're pivoting it to how they had something even worse happened. And now the story is all about them. Now, look, I know that we're all capable of doing these six things me included. But it helps to know what they are for two reasons. One to catch ourselves when we're doing it. When someone shares a hard thing, or something they're embarrassed about, or shameful about. And to when we're thinking about who we want to share our shame stories with because we're allowed to share it, we need to give words to our shame story, we can't hold it in, we have to free it with someone we trust, we have to think about who that person really is. Because we need someone who is a safe container, who understands how to extend compassion, without making your shame story worse, or the hard thing that you're going through worse. We need someone who can embrace us for our strengths, but also help us hold our struggle struggles, right? They are someone who can have empathy, not sympathy. Sympathy is I feel so sorry for you. This is a terrible thing to

be going through. Nope, that doesn't work. Empathy is like, Hey, I get it. I get it, I feel you. That would be a really hard thing. I've been there before. That, my friends, is empathy. And that's what we want to focus on. And so we want to share our vulnerabilities and we all have vulnerabilities, we all have them. We want to make sure that we're sharing them with people who deserve to hear our stories. And Brene. Brown even says that she can write the names of all the people who fit in that category on a one by one inch piece of paper. Because we are allowed to be imperfect, we are allowed to make mistakes. Okay? That is just being a human being. But when people make us feel worse, for making the mistake when people make us feel worse, for how we're feeling about something, it doesn't help us. It doesn't serve us. But what we also have to do is we have to have the courage to ask for what we need. And I don't think we do that enough. We have to have the courage to ask for what we need. I know personally, I have a friend who's going through a really hard time she was in a terrible accident. She got very lucky but she could have lost her life. And she is in the recovery stage both physically, mentally and emotionally. And I know that she's been going downhill that this is bringing up a lot of crap that she's needed to deal with in her life for a very long time. And I keep reaching out to her because intuitively I just know this person and I can feel peace. I just know intuitively that she's struggling and on the struggle bus and I also know that she is so used to being so strong and independent in her own life because she's had to be for so long. That reaching out to others or accepting support does not come easily to her. And so I just had a conversation with her recently, where I said, You know what, you need to love yourself enough to reach out to your friend group. You need to love yourself enough to know that we want to be here for you. And we want to help you. This is who we are as your friend, being your friend doesn't just mean that we're here when all the good stuff is happening. being your friend means that we are here during the tough times, because I would want you to be here during the tough times too. So my friends, I hope this episode has been helpful, I hope that you start giving yourselves a little more grace, a little more compassion. When you screw up, or you're God forbid, imperfect, like we all are. Remember to extend some compassion to yourself to treat yourself as if you would treat a friend that you love in the same situation. I also want you to consider that when you go through hard things, not to hold that in. Because we have to free the hardness of our story, we have to let it free. And that means we share it with someone who's earned the right to hear our story, someone who can hold a safe container that actually makes us and helps us through that hard thing. We're allowed to reach out for help. And it's actually one of the best things a person can do is to learn to ask for help. Alright, folks, we are at the end of this podcast episode. And it is August 24, which means we have hundreds of people already enrolled in the happy Academy, which was released in August. And some people have already started going through module one. And they're gearing up for our first group coaching call. That being said, we have extended the happy Academy enrollment to September 15. You or your school district or your school building, or you as an individual can still enroll in the happy Academy until September 15. But you're going to want to get in there because people are already in there. They're already doing the work. They're already getting ready for their first group coaching call with me. We want to take action, we want to change our lives, we want to get out of stuckness and into movement, right, we want to actually begin to see that we have the power to step into our potential in a really big way. And so if you're still interested, reach out to me, Kay Strobel, at Strobel education.com I can send a flier for you to share with your school admin team. Or you can simply go to struggle education.com go to programs, go to the happy Academy and you're gonna see everything you get. It is, I think, one of my best programs, and I would love to coach you for the next nine months.

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