Welcome to episode 28. As many of you who listen to the podcast know, I just came off of a really intense, creative journey with some colleagues and friends from a number of different countries. We all met in Sweden to work on a project which is tentatively called the Boris Project or Boris’s map. We explored material that goes back to the 1940s during World War 2, letters that were written by my great-grandmother to my grandfather. Unbeknownst to my great-grandmother, these would be the last letters that she ever wrote to him.
To be honest with you, the energy required to go through this material took me to the core of my being but it also left me bereft of a lot of creative energy because I gave it everything I had. Over the last 72 hours or so I was seriously thinking about pausing the podcast just to recoup and to collect my creative energies. But, after speaking with my producer, my assistant, and some other people that collaborate with me to help support the podcast, I’m going to consider this chapter two. I’m going to change the format a little bit and focus in on areas that are very close to my heart. Today, I would like to focus on shame.
As a close friend who very lovingly listens to the podcast recently told me, for him, the way that I’ve talked about shame before on this podcast is very foreign. That makes sense to me because how we experience others and ourselves and the world is very specific to the individual. At the same time (and today in my work was a great example of this), certain feeling states can be difficult to survive.
Nothing for me is more powerful than being with people when they take the risk to articulate profoundly difficult emotions. I think that one of the most difficult things about negative feeling states such as shame and guilt and humiliation is that we want to move as far away from feeling this way as we can. The reason that this is such a focus of mine is because I believe very strongly in human relationships. I know, personally and professionally, what it means for people to be able to stay in their own bodies, to have a language for how they feel, and to be able to communicate that to somebody else, particularly if that other person is someone that they are close to.
I spent hours today in my office with many beautiful souls, brave individuals who, on multiple occasions throughout the day, dug so deep to talk about how broken they feel. I don’t mean perpetually broken. These are people that go to work, have kids, and are enjoying life. This isn’t a kind of brokenness that arrests people in their tracks. No, I’m referring to setting a very high bar when it comes to the level at which we connect with other people.
So, over the next three podcasts or so, I would like to open up and talk to you about what it means to put language to some of the hardest emotions that human beings have to face. I hope you will join me and benefit from digging deeper into your own difficult emotions.
- Why it’s so difficult for humans, in general, to talk about hard emotions.
- How understanding ourselves and our world gives us a sense of order.
- The difference between shame and guilt.
- How shame attacks our perceptions of ourselves and our relationships.
- Why it’s so difficult to rid ourselves of shame.
- Why radical authenticity just isn’t possible.
- Emotions aren’t dangerous; what we think and feel about our emotions is.
- The danger of hiding or stuffing our emotions.
- Why it’s so crucial to open up and dig deep in relationship with others.
- The difference between emotions and feelings.
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