“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.” ~ Brené Brown, in her book Daring Greatly

I shared this quote in this piece: On trauma, healing, and understanding narcissistic mothers.

While I initially shared it because I wanted to provide context in regards to mothers who have narcissism, I knew I’d come back to it in regards to myself.

Because when I read it, I had an ah-ha: I, too, have a shame-based fear of being ordinary (the “and” comes farther down).

This fear used to manifest itself in the form of me telling stories – sometimes based on the truth (but embellished) and other times outright lies. Some of these lies were funny and relatively benign – “I was born on an airplane” – but other times they were destructive and not at all funny – “I was raped.”

And everything in between.

I’m not sure when it started (probably when I went to college, where no one knew me) but I continued up until about 2005. I understand why, now. I thought they would make me more attractive, funny, interesting, tragic, relatable, and dramatic. Worthy. Lovable.

Here’s the “and”…

I have a shame-based fear of being ordinary…and my awareness of my fear has helped me transform it from something destructive and burdensome into something that is a source of wisdom and creativity…and I have so much compassion for others* who have the same fear.

*Several years ago, a woman I know pulled me aside and apologized for lying to me. When she told me what she had lied about – because I had no clue that she had – I gave her a hug and I told her that I had done the very same thing at one point in my life. I told her about some of the lies I had told and why. Like me, she said the reason she lied was that she felt inadequate, unimpressive, and unimportant).

I feel compassion for the part of me that – even though I knew better than to lie – felt so inadequate, unimpressive, and unimportant that I lied to try and make myself feel better.

This is how I re-mother myself. And if there’s something you feel ashamed, embarrassed, or guilty about, this is how you can re-mother yourself.

Take a deep breath.

Unlock your shoulders,

Soften your eyes,

Hands over heart.

Repeat after me: I have compassion for the part of me that feels ashamed, embarrassed, or guilty.

Also? Read this: Why You Should Stop Being So Hard On Yourself

Much, much love,


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