Shame Gremlins

Brene Brown discusses in her book Daring Greatly the difference between shame and guilt. Guilt is about feeling bad about something done, while shame is feeling bad about the self.

Being very goal-oriented this deployment, I’ve set my sights on getting my group training certification, my spin certification, as well as running in various races and mud runs. This idea of shame keeps creeping up…enter the shame gremlins. Dr. Brown also discusses the fact that for shame to sit and fester, one has to keep quiet and keep these things secret. To dissolve shame’s power, it has to be brought out into the open.

Here are what the gremlins are saying:

“Who do you think you are? You think YOU can be a fitness instructor?!”

“You don’t follow through anything. You won’t finish it.”

“Who is going to come to you? You don’t look like an instructor!”

“What if you don’t pass the test?”

And my personal favorite:

“You aren’t good enough.”


So how do I combat these shame gremlins? Well, I’m calling them out. Here. Right now. Speaking out and answering back:

“I AM doing it.”

“I have been heavy, I know how hard it is to struggle with weight, food, and exercise. That makes a person relatable.”

“I finished a marathon. The person that started that race was not the same person who crossed that finish line. I am not a quitter.”

“I’ll take the test again.”

“I am enough. Watch me.”

We all deal with shame and insecurities. It’s part of this whole being human thing. How do you shut up the shame gremlins?


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