Claire Fountain | #WomenWhoKnow
Name: Claire Fountain
Company/Brand: CB Quality & TrillYoga
IG Handle/Website: @cbquality/iamtrillyoga.com
I hear all the time women dealing with self-worth and shame issues, how would you differentiate the two?
Well, I think a lot of people, humans in general, regardless of gender deal with self worth issues and many also deal with shame. Self worth often gets mixed up with self-esteem; however - self esteem is the things you do, self worth is the inherent worthiness of a person just for existing. It is the value we have just as we are, no matter what we do or accomplish. Self worth is not determined by a job, or education, or body, or relationship status.
Now, shame, is a heavier topic. Shame arises when we believe that we are not good enough at our core. (ex, guilt is “I did a bad thing,” shame is “I am bad.”) Guilt makes you want to apologize.
Shame is deeper and it hurts more. Shame is harder to shake, it erodes self esteem and can open the door to anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
I wouldn’t compare the two as they are different subjects to me, yet both have to do with core beliefs we have about ourselves that are often ingrained from childhood and environments we were in. Often they have to do with how our emotional needs were or were not met and how those meant to care for us showed love and spoke to us. As children, we often internal our value from how our caretakers interacted with us, yet as adults we can re-parent ourselves and work on overcoming shame and developing a more stable self-worth.
Would you say “acceptance” is the opposite of shame?
I’ve always been a believer in radical acceptance. It’s at the core of having more peace in your life and becoming a more honest version of you.
Shame is an area I’ve touched on often throughout therapy, but it’s not my main area of focus. I was put onto Darlene Lancer’s work as a teen and her book, Conquering Shame and Codependency. I would suggest anyone interested in figuring out the role shame plays in your life and how to work through it to check out her work.
How have you handled your personal struggles of self-worth and shame?
It is really easy to think you have it all figured out until your own actions or behaviors are not lining up with the person you believe you are. From that place, you start to really see how much of what you do is a subconscious replaying of familiar events or childhood patterns. It wasn’t until I was acting in a way that felt authentic to me, did I know I’d made some real progress in these two areas.
I dealt with shame from sexual trauma as a young adult, which I followed by pushing those thoughts and feelings so far down, believing I could will them away. It wasn’t until I worked with a few different therapists and started to unpack what happened to me, beliefs I held about it and other life events, coupled with messages from my childhood, was I really able to step into my whole self...without shame and truly be seen by those I wanted (and needed) to be close to.
So, the short answer? Time, support and the real work that isn’t always fun and often gets heavier before it gets lighter. It also took a willing to try and a conviction that I did not want to carry what wasn’t mine to carry any more.
As someone in the public eye, how do you stay authentic about shame and self-worth conversations without oversharing?
I don’t quantify my worth with social validation nor does any part of my story make me any more valuable. I don’t need to share my story for clout. I’m honest and have a heavy dose of discretion.Though having a public life means there is an entitlement to my personal life, I have never had a problem creating boundaries that worked for me. I also have never created an identity around my pain or trauma or struggles. They are parts of my story, but not my work, even if they (at times) inform my work’s direction.
And let’s be clear. More open does not mean more authentic. If anything, too much pouring out of one’s life details can signal a lack of healthy boundaries and in the social media influencer game, fosters a false sense of closeness and intimacy.
I rarely worry about telling too much as I only share what I’m comfortable with, and in a way that feels honest for me. There have been trying personal experiences while I’ve maintained a presence on social media and my decision to not share was simply because people do not need to know. My boundaries keep me the most authentic because I am firm in my decisions and I continue to protect myself and everything I love in a space where over-exposure is currency.
I’m touched by my own humanness daily
How do you practice acceptance and what tips can you share with the community?
I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I got real comfortable being me. I got real comfortable with what I felt were flaws and shortcomings, and knowing I was not my mistakes or the things that happened to me in situations where I could not show up for myself. I navigate the world from a very accepting and non-judgmental place, yet it wasn’t until I extended those qualities to myself was I able to really able to blossom into the women I’ve always felt I was at my core. To quote Aubrey here, I really like who I’m becoming.
I’m touched by my own humanness daily, and I would encourage your community to work on being honest with themselves, working through judgements and worn out beliefs that keep them feeling bad or small, and know they can re-write their story. I would encourage them to practice gratitude, keep a journal, move their bodies in ways that help them feel strong, and reach out to supportive people around them.
Also, don’t be scared to feel your feelings
And to please seek out qualified professionals, such as therapists and counselors, if they are feeling overwhelmed by their experiences and/or unsafe. Take care of yourselves.