My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was recommended on a blog that I follow by a person whose thinking somewhat mirrors mine. She recommended it in a big way, so I was anxious to read it. And I’m feeling odd about not giving it a higher rating, because I think it probably deserves one. I’m giving it three stars not because I have issues with the content (exactly) or with the writing, but because the subject matter is old hat to me.
Ms. Brown is fairly well known as a speaker and writer on the subject of ‘shame’ and how it debilitates us and keeps us from being the persons we want to be. She is right, of course. The weight that we give to shame is disproportionate to the weight it should have in keeping us to our personal code of ethics and values. She also addresses shame in this book as a chapter explaining why not being good at vulnerability often means that we are good at shame and how learning to be shame resilient is necessary to being able to achieve comfort with being vulnerable.
In particular, she focuses on how being willing to be vulnerable and to acknowledge that vulnerability – embrace it – creates opportunities for growth and increased closeness to those we love. Without being willing to expose our feelings, we cannot be that social networking Holy Grail, authentic.
In my youth I was very vulnerable (ha!) to shame. Terrified of being judged not good enough, I spent a lot of time trying to make myself invisible. The summer after 10th grade, I spent some time thinking about the enjoyment of life I was not having. It was at that point that I decided that I would work to be me, whoever that was, and if that wasn’t okay with the rest of the world, then they could kiss my skinny brown butt. I have spent the majority of my life since then trying to be only who I am in all social situations – ‘what you see is what you get’, ‘keeping it real’ and so on.
So I found nothing really new or life-changing in Ms Brown’s book. But that doesn’t mean you won’t.
It’s a good book. And if shame and lack of vulnerability are keeping you from being who you would like to be to your family, your friends, and your Self, then you should read this book. You should definitely read this book.