I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame by Brené Brown


I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame - Brené BrownI’m sure that I’ve mentioned that I’ve been a fan of Brene Brown for YEARS now. Yeah, it was in the Femme Friday that I dedicate to her here. I’d been on hold and looking forward to this for a while. If you’re unfamiliar with her work, here’s an excerpt from the back cover to explain this book:

The quest for perfection is exhausting and unrelenting. There is a constant barrage of social expectations that teach us that being imperfect is synonymous with being inadequate. Everywhere we turn, there are messages that tell us who, what and how we’re supposed to be. So, we learn to hide our struggles and protect ourselves from shame, judgment, criticism and blame by seeking safety in pretending and perfection.

Though the content of this book speaks directly to and about women, shame is universal and that point is made repeatedly. There is even a section at the end that describes where she was at with shame research on men at the time of the writing for this and what prompted her to begin it. That’s one of my favorite stories because it prompted me to take a look at what behaviors and actions I may be doing that reinforces shame for my husband and could potentially grow it in our son.

Nevertheless, this book is about women and the specific shame triggers that we have. I love the way motherhood and parenting are separated because our expectations to be or want to be a mother and how many kids we should or should want to have are completely separate from how good we are at parenting them. Those are just two of the twelve shame categories that are explained in this book.

I LOVE the section on critical awareness and how our personal problems contribute to societal problems and so personal changes aren’t always enough. We must also not be a part of the problem of perpetuating shame or allowing it to perpetuate. Then there’s a great section on stereotyping, how harmful it is, and exercises she does to make it obvious that we need to stop putting people into categories like that.

This is the fourth book of hers that I’ve read, the others are Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and LeadThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are; and Rising Strong. I’ve also watched both of her TED talks, which are also amazing.

I got my copy of I Though It Was Just Me from the library, but it’s also available for purchase on Amazon and the Book Depository.

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