I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

Last night, before yet another shutdown came into effect, myself and some new friends gathered for dinner and a chill evening. Although most of these friendships are relatively new, spending time with these folks feels comfortable, it feels cozy, it feels like family, like home.

Over the years and even more so with therapy, I’ve become aware of how I perceive others and the sometimes harsh inner dialog that accompanies my observations. I’ve been hard on myself about these feelings and thoughts – shaming myself for what I thought was a need to bring others down to make myself feel better.

This is not a new theme. I spoke about these frustrations briefly in a video I posted on Instagram last year. And I actually wrote about them in this blog post too. In Confessions of a people pleaser part 1, I wrote about having been an asshole.

Although I do think I needed to soften myself and do some shadow work, I also now realize that those frustrated feelings are entirely valid, and needed. Let me elaborate.

If it isn’t clear by now, what I’m talking about is the visceral pissed off feelings I experience when I encounter people who present themselves as perfect, having their shit together, as different than the “rest of us”. The folks that always share posed and/or filtered content on Instagram and boast about their success, and maybe even sell their advice through coaching or programming. Yet what they fail to mention is that, they too, struggle like the rest of us.

Seeing this type of shit and spending time with folks who portray themselves this way is honestly quite triggering for me.

I originally thought that this just meant that I was insecure and potentially jealous. So, I did the inner work,and I’ve reflected on this a lot.

Although there are certainly some feelings of insecurity and jealousy there, mostly, what I’ve discovered is a need to feel validated, a need to release shame and a need for connection.

Brené Brown writes and talks about this a lot – how shame is what fuels disconnection. The more we feel like we are inadequate, the more we feel like “they” have their shit together and “we” are just broken, the further into disconnection we go, the deeper we descend into the pithole of shame.

Its not about the need to feel better than someone else. And I think that this narrative of “oh she’s just bringing you down to make herself feel better ” can be so damaging.

Of course bringing other people down is not healthy. But more importantly, it arises from a place of need, of genuine aloneness, of desire for validation and connection. And this should not be shamed.

Brené Brown also writes and talks about vulnerability, and how this is the birthplace of joy, love and connection. She has done extensive research into this and how to move from shame, to shame resiliency. And the key is in vulnerability and connection with others.

Spending time with these friends last night, we had amazing conversations about life, about the messiness of human existence, about love, about grief, trauma, relationships, adventures, sex. It felt so good to share openly, to talk about our feelings of inadequacy, only to realize we are SO not alone.

I feel I’ve been gaslit so much for the majority of my life – told that I was just being dramatic – that I have zero tolerance for this shit now. I no longer want to feel different and disconnected, I no longer want to feel ashamed for my messy human existence.

I want real and authentic friendships and relationships now. I want deep conversations. I want to feel life deeply, experience the highs and the lows, supported by a loving community. I want to feel connected, less alone.

So, I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.

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