From Heartbreak to Redemption

On the occasion of my new book’s launch, I’d like to tell you a story about something that happened to me nearly 13 years ago; it will help to explain why today means so much to me and why I’m experiencing the publication of this book as a kind of “corrective emotional experience” for an old trauma.

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Brené Brown’s “Daring Greatly” and the Anti-Shame Zeitgeist

Because I write so much about the topic of shame on my website, I’m often asked if I’m familiar with the work of Brené Brown, the noted shame researcher from the University of Houston. I’ve known about Dr. Brown for quite some time now and have watched both of her TED Talk videos several times, but until recently, I hadn’t read any of her books. With the release of Daring Greatly and its climb up the bestseller lists, I decided it was time I acquainted myself more deeply with her work, especially as I’ve begun the background research for my book on shame in earnest.

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Feeding the Therapist

Following my vacation last week, I’ve returned with a renewed respect for the importance of time off from work. Since I first launched this site, and even moreso since undertaking my book on psychological defense mechanisms, I’ve been working very hard to develop good content and enlarge my audience. I’m passionate about this project; ensuring that my posts are of high quality demands a lot of energy. I’ve also taken on a number of new clients this past year; I can’t do my best work without a significant emotional investment, so these additional relationships have also called upon my internal stores. By the time I delivered a draft of my book to members of my writer’s group, just before vacation, I realized I was very tired.

This is not to say that I don’t get “fed” in important ways by my practice and my writing. I do. But when you’re in the business of caring for others, with underage children still at home, it’s easy to get depleted. When you have important goals you want to meet, it’s easy to ignore your own limitations in the drive to achieve them. At the same time, because I absolutely refuse to give up my time at the piano when life’s other demands suggest it would be wise to do so, sacrificing sleep instead, I can easily exhaust myself. So by the end of July, a combination of professional and family demands, ambition and brattiness had worn me out. I needed a vacation.

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