Who do I think I am?

I have been listening to a workshop by Brene Brown recently. And it has gotten me thinking about why I do things. She is a researcher who has done a lot of work around shame and vulnerability. And one of the things that she talks about is the things that we tell ourselves that keep us from doing what we are trying or need to do. One of the things that we tell ourselves is “Who do you think you are?”

That question is one I ask myself. When I sit down to write a paper or talk to someone about something I experience a feeling of inadequacy. One that stems from that very question. Who do I think I am? This happens to me quite often. I don’t speak up or offer my opinion for things because I wonder what I could add. 

That I am glad to say has been changing lately. I am starting to take chances with people. I am trying to be brave and say things in conversations. And surprisingly enough I have not been laughed out of the room. The first time this happened I was shocked. Someone heard what I had to say and thought it was worth exploring. Pretty much all my life I have frozen up when I am asked a question in front of other people. I may know the answer. I may have a strong opinion on the topic but I keep quite. totally terrified to answer the question. Because…what if I am wrong?

I am finally reaching a point where I am not so afraid to be wrong.  I am learning to take chances. Like doing this, writing a blog about what I have experienced in life and in healing. I do worry that I might get something wrong. Or someone will take it the wrong way. But I am moving out into the scary world and learning my way.

I have by the way, in my journey to speak up, been slammed by people. Those are very hard moments for me. I felt embarrassed and wanted to crawl into my hole and not come back out. But I didn’t crawl into my hole. Or at least not for very long. And so I am slowly coming to a point where I can answer that question “Who do you think you are?” I am a woman of intelligence and with a desire to learn. And though it is difficult I am learning to be someone who takes chances and speaks up.









13 thoughts on “Who do I think I am?

  1. Shame locks all the other feelings and thoughts in, so they can’t move. Once you get rid of shame (easier said than done, half the time one doesn’t even know one has it) then it’s possible to change something, lighten up. Sometimes this means telling someone the shameful thing (which often turns out to be not so shameful after all). AA meetings, for example, give people relief from shame (the feeling of universality) every day, for one hour. Wow! I’m saying this, Leslie, both from professional and personal, and personal ongoing experience.

    • I have been seeing so much of the connections that shame has on everything. It has been very eye opening in my life. The reading and discussions with my husband have really created openings to see the effects in my own life and how, like you said, the talking about them lessens the perceived feelings of shame.

      • Next time I see you remind me (if you feel like, it’s not important) to tell you about the Boston overpass and shame. A somewhat humorous example.

  2. Shame is a powerful thing. It is binding. It keeps us from embracing ourselves with self compassion. The question “Who do I think I am?” is followed by “I don’t deserve ___”
    Thank you Leslie, for shedding more light.

  3. Who do I think you are? One of the most courageous, smart, loving, and beautiful women in the world. I say this totally without bias. You are, in a word, fabulous. I am so glad you are finally finding your voice. I am so proud of you, little sister!

  4. She spoke and the the Earth shook, silence fell in the forest for now their attention turned to the source of the sound. For the force of her words held truth that has been bottled for centuries. And yet she rises to claim her place amongst the inhabitants and life flourished.
    Learning requires humility, speaking takes courage.

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