If you put shame in a petri dish……

This extract is taken from audio version of The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown.

Shame is the gremlin who says “never good enough” and if you can talk it out of that one “who do you think you are?”.

The thing to understand about shame is its not guilt.

Shame is a focus on self.

Guilt is a focus on behaviour.

Shame is “I am bad”

Guilt is “I did something bad”

Shame is highly correlated with addiction, depression, violence, aggression, bullying, suicide, eating disorders.

And here’s what you need to know even more, Guilt is inversely correlated with those things.

Shame for women is this web of unobtainable, conflicting, competing expectations about who we are supposed to be.

For men, shame is not a bunch of competing conflicting expectations. Shame is one “Don’t be perceived as what?” “Weak”.

But the truth is vulnerability is not weakness.

I define vulnerability as emotional risk, exposure, certainty, it fuels our daily lives and I’ve come to the belief this is my 12th year doing this research that vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.

If we are going to find our way back to each other we have to understand and know empathy because empathy is the antidote to shame.

If you put shame in a petri dish it nerds 3 things to grow exponentially, secrecy, silence and judgement.

If you put the same amount of shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy it can’t survive.

The 2 most powerful words when we’re in struggle are “me too”.

If we are going to find our way back to each other vulnerability is going to be that path.

If you haven’t discovered Brene Brown and her work yet, go Google her. Her work should be on every Government agenda and every school curriculum and every company policy.

Empathy by Brene Brown


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