© 2019 by Grant Gordin, LMFT, MA, M.Ed                                                                                                                             grant.gordin@gmail.com  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #100615 (California) and #203433 (Texas)

  (714) 914-9865

Shame, Body, & Worthiness

"Worthiness doesn't have prerequisites.  Worthy now, not if, not when, we're worthy of love and belonging now.  Right this minute.  As is.  Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance." - Brené Brown

 

 

What Is It?

There's no easy way to talk about shame, that primitive and painful feeling that we are unworthy of love and belonging.  Unlike guilt, which arises whenever our actions are misaligned with our values and tells us that we have done something badly, shame arises like a toxin and tells us that we simply are bad for some reason, through and through to the core; and, therefore, unworthy and not good enough for things like intimacy, love, belonging, healthy relationships, and, certainly, a fulfilling sexual life, at least until we "fix" that reason.

Many of us engage in what Brené Brown calls "the hustle for worthiness,"

constantly chasing after self-love, worthiness, and "good enough"-ness as

something we will only achieve once we accomplish some important benchmark

that will only move further down the line the more we chase it.  Difficulties

around eating and body image serve as an all-too-common example, where we

see ourselves as only good enough and ready to be seen in the world if we

become a certain weight, if we restrict a certain food, if our bodies look a certain

way.  We are too often sold this lie, both by the world and by our worst inner

critic, that we must earn love and belonging through the pursuit of unattainable

goals and the very destruction of ourselves.  This is quite literally the case when

it comes to disordered eating and our bodies, but it shows itself in a myriad of

other ways as well: through chasing perfection, through constant comparison,

through numbing vulnerability, through persistent worry.

I have training and experience working in a number of areas often ripe with

shame.  As it is impossible to form an intimate relationship without vulnerability,

and similarly difficult to have a fulfilling sexual life without allowing ourselves to

be seen for our authentic, imperfect selves, I am passionate about helping

clients name and externalize their shame stories and create wonderfully flawed

and yet empowered and worthy alternative narratives of their lives.

 

Possible Issues Addressed with Shame, Body,
& Worthiness
 
Numbing and checking out of life
Difficulties being present with another
Always needing to be distracted by something
Distress around eating and food
Deeply negative attitudes and emotions around the body
Core negative image of self
Dramatic fluctuations in weight
Unwanted and compulsive substance use 
Intense regret or self-loathing after certain behaviors
Fear of feeling too relaxed or joyful
Self-sabotage and difficulties "getting in your own way"
Struggles with hyper-achievement or perfectionism
Feeling like a workaholic
Feeling unworthy of love
Constant self-criticism and negative self-talk