Most of us don’t want to talk about shame. But the fact is, we live in a shame culture. And so, even if we don’t talk about shame, all of us—at least here in the West—experience and live with shame. Think about it: How often do you say “shame on you” (even if only to yourself), “that’s a shame,” and/or put blame on someone else, or yourself, or talk about whose fault it is, or say it’s my fault—even in “jest”? As I’ve become more attuned to shame language, it’s astonishing how often it pops up everywhere in people’s speech—I would argue, mostly subconsciously.
Connection is why we’re here
Brené Brown’s video, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the most powerful videos I have ever viewed in my own personal transformational journey. Brené Brown’s talk is funny, moving, clear, and tells it like it is. Her research shows that “connection is why we’re here”—and yet many of us struggle with this.
In the video, she talks about why we struggle and what we can do about it. This video has helped transform my life, and I share it with you in the hope that it can aid in your own personal and spiritual transformation.
In it, she talks about shame as one of the big barriers to experiencing intimacy, love, and abundance in our lives.
The Dalai Lama has said publicly that the US is the most shame-filled culture he knows. From my own experience as I’ve been working on clearing out my shame issues in the past few years (hard work, but gloriously freeing), I couldn’t agree more. Moreover, I’m pretty sure that those of you in Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and Germany, to name a few other places defined by Western culture, aren’t far behind in terms of how much shame permeates your environments too!
Shame is corrosive. It underlies so much of our self-judgment, victim consciousness, blame of others, self-sabotage, etc. It is that sense of unworthiness that we all feel that leads us into behaviors to try to be “OK,” to try to be liked or loved. Ironically those very behaviors often act to create more disconnection than connection because they are rooted in self-protection and fear rather than in what Brown calls “Wholeheartedness.”
I find that some of the deepest work I have done personally—and some of the deepest work I do with my clients and students, both individually and in groups —is shame work. I can attest that even though our culture is permeated with shame, it is possible to get free! It takes time, it takes courage, and it takes a willingness to dive deep into feelings that we mostly keep under wraps or pretend we don’t have. But it’s also the most freeing—and ultimately joyful—work I’ve ever done!
Not long ago, I came across another Brené Brown video called Listening to Shame, that elevates her work on shame to a new level. Many, including myself, have found it to be transformative, so I share both of these life-changing videos with you here in the spirit of encouragement. It is possible to work through and be free of shame!
If you suspect – or know – that shame is part of your challenge to be Whole, this is one of my areas of specialty. The Wounded Healer path is the most effective way I know to root out and heal shame. I love working with people to do just that, so if this calls to you, please sign up for a free consultation.