Shame Resilience/What Does Shame Look Like?

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

 The four elements of shame resilience: 

  • Name it. 
  • Talk about it. 
  • Own your story. 
  • Tell the story.

Story is about worthiness and embracing the imperfections that bring us courage, compassion, and connection. If we want to live fully, without the constant fear of not being enough, we have to own our story. We also have to respond to shame in a way that doesn’t exacerbate our shame. One way to do that is to recognize when we’re in shame so we can react with intention.

 GUILT definition from the Cambridge English Dictionary, a feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong, such as causing harm to another person.

SHAME definition from the Cambridge English Dictionary, a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. If something is described as a shame, it is disappointing or not satisfactory.

Cruelty is never brave—it’s mostly cheap and easy, especially in today’s culture.

Difference Between Shame and Guilt

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

“What’s the difference between shame and guilt? The majority of shame researchers and clinicians agree that the difference between shame and guilt is best understood as the differences between “I am bad” and “I did something bad.” 

Guilt = I did something bad.

 Shame = I am bad.

In the book “Changes That Heal,” Dr. Henry Cloud describes how Adam and Eve first felt shame:

“Without grace, Adam and Eve felt shame: when they heard God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, they hid from him. When God called out, “Where are you?” Adam explained that he was hiding because he was afraid (Gen. 3:8–10). Shame and guilt had entered the world; human beings were no longer safe. After Adam and Eve cut themselves off from a relationship with God, they also severed their connection to grace and truth, for those come through relationship with God. 

“Shame is about who we are, and guilt is about our behaviors. We feel guilty when we hold up something we’ve done or failed to do against the kind of person we want to be. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, but one that’s helpful. When we apologize for something we’ve done, make amends to others, or change a behavior that we don’t feel good about, guilt is most often the motivator. Guilt is just as powerful as shame, but its effect is often positive while shame often is destructive. When we see people apologize, make amends, or replace negative behaviors with more positive ones, guilt is often the motivator, not shame. In fact, in my research, I found that shame corrodes the part of us that believes we can change and do better.”