Brené Quote 1: “We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous.”
Shame is effective for behavior modification because it stuns someone and forces to them reflect inward. People avoid feeling shame. Thus, if someone shames you for your behavior, there is a good chance that you may not repeat that behavior. The problem with using shame in this way is that it has catastrophic side effects, such as damaging one’s self-worth. Shame and guilt are different. Guilt is “I did something bad.” Shame is “I am bad.” People who experience high levels of shame are less likely to feel like they belong in society and more likely to socially isolate and experience depression. A better way to keep people “in line” is to help them understand the consequences of their behaviors and how that impacts themselves and others. Inspire them to be better rather than stunning them with a shame grenade.
Brené Quote 2: “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable… Shame unravels connection. Shame is the fear of disconnection… The less you talk about it, the more you have it”
We live in a society where people project the best version of themselves. We hide our faults out of fear of embarrassment. Unfortunately, the more we hide the parts of ourselves we don’t like or the parts we are ashamed of, the bigger our shame gets. You can bury it and pretend its not there, but it won’t go away. You cannot selectively numb parts of yourself. If you numb your shame, you will also numb part of your joy. The only way to reduce shame is through talking about it. You will feel more like your authentic self and have an easier time connecting with others.
Brené Quote 3: “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”
Finding the right person to talk to about your shame is difficult. It is an act of vulnerability and courage. If you talk about your shame and you receive more shame as a response, it wont help. However, if you are received with empathy and understanding, then it will alleviate part of your suffering. A good place to get empathy and understanding is from a professional counselor who can help you work through it. In addition, remember that everyone has shame, so if you someone talks to you about their shame, meet them with empathy and understanding.
Brené Quote 4: “You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”
This quote speaks to the most important part of self-acceptance. We all have faults and that does NOT mean that there is something wrong with us or that we are unworthy of love and acceptance. Life is a struggle and we are equipped to handle the struggle. Sometimes we fail at things, but that does not mean we are a failure. Sometimes we hurt our loved ones, but that does not mean we are bad people. We all belong in this society. None of us are perfect. The sooner your realize that, the sooner you can start being the person you were meant to be: your authentic self.
If you have not seen Brené Brown’s talk on “Listening to Shame,” I highly encourage you do so. Here is the link: https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame
If you need some additional coaching on empathy, here is a cute cartoon that Brené Brown did on empathy: https://youtu.be/1Evwgu369Jw