“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 go into more detail here).

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 now 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,


P.S. This piece first appeared on Patreon. If you love my writing and would like to have access to it when it debuts, consider joining my exclusive community for as little as $2/month. There you will find all of my best work. There you can ask me for advice and I will give you my very best answer…and if it’s unclear or you need additional insight, I will provide it.