The Thing About Broken Hearts

Some stuff is going down over here; something is shifting in my heart and soul that has shaken me to my core lately. It seems like the heartbreak of the summer and the well, uncertainty of that whole thing and how it might end up has created some kind of space in my heart for other stuff to come in. Or out, as the case may be. Stuff I've been trying to outrun my whole life. Through eating too much, spending too much, obsessive to-do lists, throwing myself into my work, distracting myself in the myriad other ways I've become an expert. All to escape some hurts and truths that seemed to unbearable to process. New broken heart wounds beget old broken heart wounds. I'm not writing this to tell you I HAZ A SAD but because for me, writing is one way to shed light on dark stuff. I've been reading this book and her blog, and I'm pretty amazed at uh, how much I identify with it. It's like she's writing in my head. Here's a Ted talk she did last December to give you a snapshot of her style. She's funny and charming and I  identify with her. PS the title of that book sounds so oversimplified: PUPPIES AND RAINBOWS AND GLITTER!!! It's not really like that at all. It's more about shame and vulnerability, two things I've recently discovered are big parts of my life. 

Speaking of the word Shame? I figured it was for reserved for that Different Strokes episode with the creepy child molester. But the more I've read her work, I've realized that shame is such a part of my permanent Operating System, in a rather disturbing sense. I'll give you a lighter hearted example: this morning I woke up to achy muscles from working out yesterday. And the shame starts in: you're so squishy and will never be in shape, this is pathetic, you're never going to get to your goals, etc. etc. Then I thought for a second, hmm. Is that really true? Isn't it true that even body builders who are competing get sore and that getting sore = making muscles and therefore, the sign of an awesome workout that challenged my body? Couldn't I reframe it that way, rather than feeling ashamed all day that I'm sore, like there's something inherently wrong with me? It's probably unreasonable to expect to feel freaking fantastic and just barely sore when I just start a new fitness program (shameless other blog plug: come visit me over at HL Gets Fit).

Yeah, that's a lighter hearted example. See what I'm saying? Dark and twisty. I suppose I could look at this fertility question mark time as a gift from God to really evolve and work through some old stuff, the stuff that I know in my heart is holding me back (dammit -- see, there's shame again!). What I mean is I feel trapped on a certain level from my own self; ending negative self talk and really questioning my expectations and assumptions is key. Multiply that by most of my inner monologue (or is it dialogue, I wonder?) and you have me somewhere between hopefully exhausted and desperately wanting the Hamster Wheel Brain to please take a break. It's exhausting work but it's also been incredibly illuminating. And somehow, hearing it framed this way vs. another is so much more helpful. I read the Byron Katie book -- well, tried to read it. It was too transcendental. I felt like I was in a philosophy class. 

One of Brene Brown's basic premise is that you can't love others more than you love yourself. Gah. That's terrible to hear but I feel like it must be true on some level. I would never, ever treat Lucia the way I treat myself -- the beating up, the unreasonable expectations, etc. It's time I start treating myself with more kindness and compassion. 

I have a long train ride tomorrow to and from work, so I'm hopeful I can finish the book, then move onto her next one, which deals more in depth with Shame. Here's the description from Amazon:

Interviewing hundreds of women over six years, Brown was constantly faced with the shame just talking about shame induced. She explores how and why this universal human emotion is particularly present in women and how it affects behavior and relationships. She relates women's stories of shame about everything from obsession over appearance to sexual abuse, abuse of alcohol and drugs, and inadequacies as mothers, wives, and lovers. Brown offers insights and strategies for understanding shame and overcoming its power over women. She begins by defining shame and differentiating it from other emotions, and explores how shame is used and induced in the broader culture. She then identifies four elements of resilience: recognizing shame triggers, critical awareness, reaching out for help and connection with others, and speaking out about shame. She advises women on practicing courage, compassion, and connection to overcome cultures of fear, blame, and disconnection. An interesting look at a debilitating emotion that stunts the potential of too many women.


  1. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Hi Heather - you might like Bethenny Frankels book Naturally Thin. I also used to negative self talk and this book really helped me cut myself a break and as she puts it "treat yourself gently." The book is about eating (but it's not a diet) but has helped me with other um stuff. Just thought I would toss that at you. Hope you feel better soon. :)

  2. Thanks Noely, I've read it! I found it helpful. :)


Post a Comment