“Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.” -Benjamin Disraeli
As I’ve been preparing my presentation for the Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival, I’ve been watching a lot of powerful speeches related to my topics of authenticity and connection. I found my way to Dr. Brené Brown, who researches vulnerability.
In her inspiring talk, Brené explains how shame can be one of the biggest barriers to connection. If you believe there is something wrong with you—that you are somehow unworthy—you may hide who you are in fear of being judged and rejected.
This is why I spent most of my early and mid-20s completely isolated. Because I felt overwhelming shame for mistakes I’d made, and I believed that they defined me, I chose to fester in a prison of my own making to avoid people’s judgment.
Though I have now joined the land of the social, there are still times when I think my true feelings are an admission of weakness. I get a lot of emails from readers who seem to feel the same way—that they shouldn’t be feeling angry, or frustrated, or hurt, or whatever. They think they should be stronger or more evolved than that.
This only exacerbates the pain because you pile guilt on top of the initial feeling.
There is no shame in having emotions. And as Brené points out, it’s nearly impossible to numb the uncomfortable ones without also diluting the positive.
If we want to know joy, elation, excitement, and everything else that makes life worth living, we need to give ourselves permission to feel the full range of emotions. And if we want to connect with each other, we need to accept and love ourselves in every moment, even when our truth feels heavy.
Today if you start judging what you’re feeling, remind yourself: Everyone deals with difficult feelings. What separates us is what we do with them.