RELATIONSHIP & SEX THERAPY
Affirmative Psychotherapy for Individuals, Couples, Groups, and Families
Grant Gordin, LMFT, MA, M.Ed
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.