Understanding SHAME.

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” -Brene Brown

What is shame?

According to Google shame is, “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. According to Brene Brown, a research professor at the University Of Houston Graduate College Of Social Work,

Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.  Women often experience shame when they are entangled in a web of layered, conflicting and competing social-community expectations.”

She went on to say on Oprah Winfrey’s Supersoul Conversations, “I think shame is lethal. I think shame is deadly. And I think we are swimming in it deep.”

Brown explains that feelings of shame can quietly marinate over a lifetime. “Here’s the bottom line with shame,” she says. “The less you talk about it, the more you got it. Shame needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment.”

By keeping quiet, Brown says your shame will grow exponentially. “It will creep into every corner and crevice of your life,” she says.

The antidote, Brown says, is empathy. She explains that by talking about your shame with a friend who expresses empathy, the painful feeling cannot survive. “Shame depends on me buying into the belief that I’m alone. Shame cannot survive being spoken. It cannot survive empathy.”

“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

Brene Brown

Brene has many books and videos one can watch to learn how to beat this pervasive monster. Brene shows us how we can stop a shame spiral with these tips:

  1. Know your shame triggers and reality check them
  2. Talk to yourself like you talk to someone you love
  3. Reach out to someone you trust
  4. Tell your story

You can find some very helpful tips on shame and how to conquer and coexist with it here:


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