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How to Shift the Downward Spiral of Shame, Perfectionism, and "Fitting In" So You Can Truly Belong

I’ve been reflecting on Dr. Brene Brown’s work from her latest book Atlas of the Heart, particularly around the interplay of perfectionism and shame, and how that negatively impacts belonging.

Reflecting back, I think I was pretty authentically myself until high school.  Having come from a very small parochial school with only 15 kids in my class, it felt safe to be me.  I specifically recall when that stopped, which was almost immediately after entering high school.  In order to “fit in” within the new culture with which I was faced, I worked hard at being who I thought I was supposed to be and being less of who I really was/am.

It’s heartbreaking to look back and see how my younger self got lost.  Especially because no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t fit in.  The less she fit in, the harder she tried to be perfectly what she thought she was supposed to be and in turn, the less she fit in.  To say this cycle...

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