Tiny Wisdom: On Showing Your True Feelings

“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.

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha's Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • This is so true. I often feel guilty for showing negative emotions in front of others, because it feels like I’m burdening them with my problems, and that I owe it to those around me to be happy all the time. But I guess I do them a disservice by hiding valid parts of myself. 

  • Thanks for the this post. It’s VERY relevant to me today.

  • Emily

    the video tied with this post was really what I needed. thank you so much : )

  • Ginny

    All I can say is WOW! Your article and Dr. Brown’s video were dynamic.
    It says it all – we are all struggling whether we want to admit it or not. We all have self-doubt, and the more we try to show others how great we are – the more doubts we have.

    She was great. Lori, I must say, for a young girl you have an inner spirit that most people do not have. You must have had many past lives, and were learning and searching about the real meaning of life in them, to be so right on about it all now.

    I thank God and my friend who led me to your posts. You are the best!  Blessings to you.

  • Angelalharlan

    The Gifts of Imperfection is a must read!

  • Joanne

    I am blown away by this presentation. Am a social worker myself and will share w my friends who are in the field as well. I have never (until now) started taking NOTES on something from the internet I happened upon, and am so impressed with Brene Brown. I have been following Tiny Buddha and am so pleased with this offering. Namaste.

  • Anonymous

    I try to remember a saying I read years ago… If you don’t cry with your whole heart you can’t laugh with your whole heart.

    I rarely cry and sometimes wish I could do it more easily.  It’s that vulnerability issue. 

    Thank you so much for sharing this Lori!  I’m going to share it, too.

  • Nitebug

    My problem is showing the emotions of fear or nervousness and being mocked for it. Especially in my youth. Now I have become more calm since a I started deep breathing years ago and listening to meditative music.Getting older a wiser helped too.

  • Nitebug

    My problem is showing the emotions of fear or nervousness and being mocked for it. Especially in my youth. Now I have become more calm since a I started deep breathing years ago and listening to meditative music.Getting older a wiser helped too.

  • I’m really glad I found this post today…:)

  • Tom

    Great post…and it summed up a lot of what I’ve felt over the last 18 months or so,after adversity stopped by to pay me a visit. 

    Thank you.

  • Liz

    Wow!  Brene Brown was awesome…..and shared so many fundamental truths.  Thank you for sharing.

  • Liz

    Wow!  Brene Brown was awesome…..and shared so many fundamental truths.  Thank you for sharing.

  • Great article, Lori, and RIGHT ON!!!  Feelings are an important part of a human being’s reality at ANY MOMENT in time.  They are NEVER “right” or “wrong.”  Your feelings, from the most basic body sensations at any moment, to extreme emotions, are INFORMATION about the REALITY OF WHO YOU ARE at that moment in time.  To deny, suppress, reject, judge, criticize, (etc.) YOUR feelings is to deny, suppress, reject, judge, criticize (etc.) YOUR SELF.

    Thanks, Lori.

    Cheering you on for your talk! and for your Authenticity!


  • Anonymous

    Another great read, I thoroughly enjoyed this. : )

  • Dhyden000

    Love her. Her books are must reads

  • Amazing post.  I resist vulnerability so much because I don’t let people see me.  It’s true what Brene points out, it’s because I think I’m unworthy.  It’s so interesting and wonderful that there are people out there researching/noticing this and spreading their knowledge to the world like yourself and Dr. Brown.  Thanks for introducing me to Dr. Brene Brown.  I want to know know more of her research.  

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  • Jlpagel

    Beautiful. Truly beautiful.

  • I like how positive psychologist Tal Ben-Sahar puts it “We must give ourselves permission to experience the full-range of human emotion.” That also goes for sadness, grief, regret, frustration, confusion and otherwise “negative emotions” They are a part of the Yin-Yang of life. 

  • You’re most welcome! I love that saying, and it’s so true. I am a cryer, and I have often apologized for it. My boyfriend tells me to never apologize for feeling deeply because it’s one of the things he loves about me. It’s like Brene’s idea that “what makes us vulnerable makes us beautiful.”

  • Yes I know what you mean. Younger people aren’t as accepting when it comes to the peers’ feelings. I had some pretty traumatic experiences as a kid because of this. It certainly does get better with age!

  •  You are most welcome. I totally agree! Brene Brown has really inspired me.

  • I’m glad! Thanks for being part of the Tiny Buddha community. =)

  • I can’t wait to read her books! Thus far, I have only been watching her speeches, but I’m looking forward to learning more about her research.

  • You’re most welcome. I’ve spent many years reprogramming myself to believe I am worthy, and it’s something I still work on. Research like this is very helpful in reminding me that I am not alone–none of us are!

  • I know what you mean Sylvia. Sometimes, when I start communicating something that’s bothering me, I feel like I am bringing people down. But then I remember how much it hurts me to pretend that I’m happy all the time. I start feeling like a fraud for not being honest about what’s going on inside me. My feelings get messy sometimes. I’ve learned to embrace it!

  • You are most welcome. =)

  • You’re welcome. I’m glad it came at the right time for you!

  • That’s great, Joanne! I took notes, as well. Namaste. =)

  • You’re welcome, Tom. Happy Saturday. =)

  • Debbie Joy

    This speaks to me in a huge way. It
    Moved me to tears for how closely it exposes my essence . Thank you.

  • Debbie Joy

    This speaks to me in a huge way. It
    Moved me to tears for how closely it exposes my essence . Thank you.

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  • Hey Lori,

               For me, this is one of the most important topics in TINY BUDDHA that you have wrote about.  In my life, I have always struggled to find a balance in showing my true feelings to ppl.  For me, its either I show my feelings too much or too little with people & usually feel like kicking myself in the head afterwards or even worse…sometimes even for the littlest things & worry about those things for even Yrs. on end. 

      I also enjoyed the video; even though I was a little skeptical about it at first.  The woman’s appearance & demeanor at first made me think as though she is just another “Oprah Winfrey,” sort of B.S. supposedly  designed mainly to empowering women & stuff.  But she made some great points in it & was also pretty funny at times…& any of us of different ages & sex can relate to atleast some topics she mentioned IMO…Idk how much this article & video will help me; but it has def. given me a new perspective to think about…Thank You Lori..!!!! 

  • You’re most welcome. This has been an important topic in my life, as well. It can feel scary to be vulnerable, but I know I don’t want the alternative, which is disconnection and stress how I should act. I’m glad the post and video were helpful to you. =)

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