The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene’ Brown Ph.D.

“‘Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.’”

Shame causes us to feel unworthy and unlovable. Even when my Yorkie (Lilly) does something she knows is wrong – like chewing up my favorite pair of reading glasses; poor Lilly will hang her head in shame. Shame limits her usually happy and friendly personality.

“Here are the first three things that you need to know about shame: 

  • We all have it. Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions that we experience. The only people who don’t experience shame lack the capacity for empathy and human connection. 
  • We’re all afraid to talk about shame. 
  • The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives.”


“In addition to the fear of disappointing people or pushing them away with our stories, we’re also afraid that if we tell our stories, the weight of a single experience will collapse upon us. There is a real fear that we can be buried or defined by an experience that, in reality, is only a sliver of who we are.”

YES!! Brene’ Brown just hit the nail on the head! If I tell people–will they ever be able to look at me without blame or pity or worse—disgust in their eyes? Will they think I am foolish or weak minded? What if? What if? What if? FEAR is huge! In my eyes the swamp may be filled with a lot of hungry alligators just waiting to chew me up.

“Shame needs three things to grow out of control in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment. When something shaming happens and we keep it locked up, it festers and grows. It consumes us. We need to share our experience. Shame happens between people, and it heals between people. If we can find someone who has earned the right to hear our story, we need to tell it. Shame loses power when it is spoken. In this way, we need to cultivate our story to let go of shame, and we need to develop shame resilience in order to cultivate our story. After a decade of research, I found that men and women with high levels of shame resilience share these four elements: 

  • They understand shame and recognize what messages and expectations trigger shame for them.
  •  They practice critical awareness by reality-checking the messages and expectations that tell us that being imperfect means being inadequate. 
  • They reach out and share their stories with people they trust. 
  • They speak shame—they use the word shame, they talk about how they’re feeling, and they ask for what they need.”

Tomorrow we will discuss the difference between guilt and shame. 

Is it not natural and necessary to feel like a quilt whenever we do something wrong or immoral? Shouldn’t we be ashamed?

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