The Shame Game

The battle between guilt and shame is nothing new to any of us. Especially if you have traveled any road with any amount of uncertainty, these two beasts can play a UFC Cage Fight in your mind and body. Brenè Brown, wrote about it in a blog titled Shame v. Guilt. In it, she said that she can find a helpful place for guilt stating it “holds something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and psychological discomfort.” Shame, on the other hand, “is believing that WE are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging”.

These two emotions are completely different. Guilt, we can learn from. We can process it and come out the other side, wiser. Shame, however, is just the messy house guest that never leaves. It eats all your food, wrecks your house and doesn’t even turn on the Roomba. Y’all. Shame is a Jerk.

In the world we live in, both of the elements will always co-exist. So now what? Especially in the adoption world, how do you and I move through them, especially shame?

One thing to avoid is perfectionism. In his book You Rise Glorious, Mike Foster says “At its core, perfectionism is about avoiding shame. Rather than numb your inadequacy with drugs or escapism, you patch it with performance.” I know Y'all. I KNOW.

Personally, I see perfectionism highly ingrained in the adoption community. My profile book must be perfect, my letter must be perfect, my social media must be perfect because if it is not then I won’t get picked and if I don’t get picked….then… I am not worthy to be a parent.


That. Is. Shame.

If you take nothing away from this blog today, take this, you are worthy of parenthood. No matter what your profile book looks like,  no matter if you have been chosen or you are waiting. You. Are. Worthy.

So if you want out from underneath the shame game do one thing. One main thing. Don’t seek perfection. Embrace the messy that is your life. Post a picture with no make-up or GASP NO FILTER (I know I have straight up taken crazy pills)  Have your goal set to be good, not perfect. Admit that your bed may be unmade, that your pile of laundry is to the ceiling or if you are like me, in a chair for a week waiting to be put away.

Y’all that is real life. Shame can’t live there. Wanna know why? Because there is tremendous JOY is admitting that life is not perfect and when you do… Shame can pack his bags and GO HOME. Just ask him to turn on the Roomba before he leaves.



macie perreault